We have been dealing with a common yet hard to repeat problem with specific computers using specific NVMe drives. Our problem occurs when we pair any Gen4 NVMe with computers with PCIe3 M.2 slots. The computer is able to take a Windows installation, and functions through our basic tests, checks, and updates. It will work for our end user, but occasionally will reboot or just shut down and revert to the "No Bootable Devices Found" screen. If you reference the BIOs after a crash or no boot scenario, it shows up as either a "Storage Device" or as a "2 GB drive" when it originally showed up as the "manufacturer" and "storage size." Doing a hard reset caused the computer to boot back up and function fine until it randomly gets into the same cycle.
In order to ensure our machines work and to prevent problems for our customers we have pulled any Gen4 NVMes from our inventory and are researching the problem. Sadly there is not much information on the compatibility of Gen3 slots with Gen4 NVMes, especially on pre-builts like Dell, Lenovo, and HP. That being said we will provide you with what we know and what we recommend to end users and fellow refurb shops.
- Always do your research. Check what slot your motherboard has on the manufacturer's website or user manual.
- Check your NVMe's box for NVMe Gen, many brands don't list it anywhere so you might have to look it up using the NVMe's model number.
- If you have a 11th gen CPU and above and from our research a Ryzen 5000 and above you should have PCIe4 support and can use NVMe Gen 4 with no problems. Just make sure to check your manufacturer for compatibility and M.2 slot generation.
- Based off our testing and research, the major business computer brands: Dell, HP, and Lenovo don't offer support for NVMe Gen4 on models with 10th Gen Intel CPUs or older. We always use Gen3 NVMes in any of these builds.
- We recommend against even attempting to use a Gen4 in anything older than Intel 11th gen. The risks of data loss or instability isn't worth it.
Our research left us scratching our heads and left us with more questions than definitive answers. So we are going to do our due diligence and keep searching and testing to ensure our products are stable and all parts are compatible. We will keep you posted!