USB-C NVMe M.2 drive not found to be bootable

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User avatar
andymid
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:59 am

Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:03 pm

Hi Guys,

After using a NVMe M.2 dual boot win10 and macos 10.13 (worked fine), I first decided to add an eGPU via the M-slot, and moved the NVMe to the E-slot with an adapter - now I bought an USB-C NVMe M.2 drive case to put the M.2 in, to run thru USB-C and get back the speed I lost moving the drive to the E-slot, and added 12v power from the same 650w PSU I am powering the GTX 1070 (so should share a common gnd), but when trying to boot from this drive in the case, via USB-C the LattePanda Alpha just hangs and does not even respond to keyboard input (cannot even reach BIOS), and via USB3 (USB-C to USB3 cable) it only seems to be able to find the win10 recovery image - even from the BIOS boot menu, the win10 and MacOS (and EFI) partitions do not appear, it only gives the option of choosing the win10 recovery partition to boot from - however from any normal Mac they all appear as soon as I plug in the drive case, and removing the M.2 drive and putting it back in the E-slot (with the adapter) also allows me to again see all partitions and boot from which ever I choose..

Any ideas?? The drive case comes up as LIANGTENG in System Profiler on my Mac (https://www.ebay.es/itm/333326747540)

Would really like to get this working as also get occasion restarts and am not yet sure if is from the E-slot adapter, or the M-slot to 4x PCIe adapter where I have the GPU plugged in, or if is something else - before adding the eGPU and the E-slot adapter never had any problems with random restarts...🤔

Thanks!
Andy
:-)

User avatar
ccs_hello
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:16 pm

Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:53 pm

Windows OS is not bootable when the boot/system partition is on a USB drive.
Your USB3 "drive shell" most likely has an internal USB3 to PCIe converter IC making it as if it is a removable USB flash drive.

User avatar
andymid
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:59 am

Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:37 pm

Hi Ccs_hello,

Well that is a bit of a bummer for the win10 installation, but I had originally created this drive as a Clover loading MacOS hackintosh install, so I'd have thought there should not have been any problem with the startup Clover EFI loaded boot menu.. (I then added win10 later on... both work fine when in the M2 slot on board the LPA...) there MacOS is the default OS, but if I understand you correctly, at that point (in the Clover boot loader screen) if I choose win10, then it would fail startup to windows (but I can live with that!)... but at the moment I would like the MacOS at least to work, and I know MacOS can be booted from USB with no problem..

Thanks! Always appreciate your input ;-)

Andy
:-)

PD any way one can find out about whether the internal IC is doing a USB-PCI conversion as you mention before buying..? I mean, is it possible to get a USB-C M2 drive case that will let me boot up at least MacOS via USB-C?

User avatar
ccs_hello
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:16 pm

Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:36 am

Sorry, I checked it again, there is no USB 3 (xHCI) to PCIe adapter.
(There are few $$$$ Thunderbolt 3 to PCIe adapter chassis, for about $300 each.
Note that LP Alpha does not offer Thunderbolt.)

I have no idea if MacOS would support USB Storage Controller based booting to OS, just like the same Windows constraint.
(There are at least one business reason and one technical reason not allowing that....)

P.S. No, I am not talking about OS installation USB flash drive nor "LiveCD/USB" OS.

User avatar
andymid
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:59 am

Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:25 am

Hey Ccs_hello,

so in theory no way to boot MacOSX from a M2 M-key NVMe card installed in a USB-C drive case via USB-C..? That seems one of the most ideal use cases! 🤔 (IMHO!)

Mac does support full OS booting via USB (not just install media), I have been using it for years (I have a "rescueOS" on my keyfob with a metal USB3 pendrive), and works perfectly up until USB3 pendrives and USB3-SATA SSDs with Mojave installed (the latest I have tried)... unfortunately I do not have access now to a Mac with USB-C, so I cannot try out a Mac installed OS booting thru USB-C, but to be honest I would expect it to work as well... so just seems to be strange that with a Hackintosh it is not correctly recognised 🤷‍♂️..

thanks again for your in-depth knowledge and quick response ;-)

Cheers!
Andy
:-)

User avatar
andymid
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:59 am

Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:05 am

Hey!

Quick update, FYI, so the problem with reading this NVMe external case via USB-C may have been compounded by a few things:

1) I had bought 2, it seems that the USB-C to USB3 cable that came with one is giving problems, so many times was not recognized.. I have managed to get this working with one of the cable almost always.. but still get BIOS freezes sometimes

2) I bought a USC-C to USB-C cable (end goal is to use the USB-C port, not to occupy a USB3 port), that just found out is internally USB2 (480Mbs), which I didn't know even existed - I have now bought a true USB-C (10Gbs) cable of decent quality, having said that occasionally, if I remove the drive and plug in again, it does not appear, but replugging it then normally appears

3) Have also realised that Mac formated AFPS partitions are NOT recognised at all by the BIOS - when the drive did come up at all, it only showed an EFI partition, hence my confusion, as compounded with the above when nothing came up, but with windows install a windows recovery did appear...!!

So now I have a NVMe drive with only MacOS Catalina 15.4 working almost completely (video after sleep or tv power off still to be resolved, but will try “igfxonln=1” when I get the chance), that from my 2.5" HDD backup took almost 3 minutes to start up, now takes about 30 seconds! So, cool!! Seems very stable, no restarts, freezes, and a nice big RX Vega 64 (traded for a GTX1070 + an old delta printer) plugged into the M-slot via a PCI x4 adapter, LPA powered off 12v from same PSU as GPU.. I know I am not going to ever take full advantage of this GPU with this setup, but it is what happened to be on hand, and gives me a bit of future proofing for the next couple of years if/when I upgrade the LPA to something more advanced ;-)

Cheers!

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