Workshop – Fitting a PCIe SSD with your existing hardware

SATA SSDs

A round-about way to use the PCIe interface for fast mass storage is to use adapter cards for traditional SATA SSDs. These cards offer space on a PCIe board for two standard SATA SSDs. A RAID controller mounted on the board makes it possible to operate the disks in a RAID 0 network and thus achieve respectable speeds that are almost twice the speed of the SATA III standard.

When purchasing the equipment, you will want to check whether the ROM of the plugin card contains a bootloader [7] and whether the system can boot from the drives installed on the card (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The Wings X2 adapter by Austrian manufacturer Angelbird accepts two conventional SATA SSDs.

Conclusion

PCIe technology opens up entirely new options, especially in the area of high-performance components such as network adapters, graphics cards, and mass storage. The path to a fast system based on PCIe SSDs, however, is paved with stumbling blocks due to dependencies on external influences such as BIOS variants and boot options, which can lead to costly mis-investments if you make ill-considered purchases.

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