OK, so I'm thinking of upgrading from a SATA SSD to an M.2. I quickly realized that NVMe was definitely out because the DZ's firmware doesn't support it (there are BIOS hacks for such things, but not really for Intel boards).
Then I saw that there are some AHCI-based models, like the Samsung SM951 (note: they also make an NVMe version of this), that would work--with the aid of an M.2 adapter board (just to pick one out of the air), like the Lycom DT-120.
But then I realized that the DZ BIOS has to be able to boot from PCIe devices. The technical manual for the DZ was no help, because in 2012 I'm quite sure no one was booting from PCIe devices, but that doesn't mean necessarily that it wouldn't work.
Maybe it will. Or maybe the M.2 adapter usurps the system BIOS with its own (much like IDE boards back in the '90's did) and makes system BIOS support for booting from PCIe irrelevant.
Does anyone have experience with this board with M.2's, or at least the Sandy Bridge boards in general?
This board generation has no support for M.2 or NVMe drives. The built-in emulator allows for access to the drive, but this does not mean that booting from it is possible.
Since these boards are long past their EOL date, no firmware (including BIOS) updates are forthcoming.
What built-in emulator?
Yes, booting from it is key. The BIOS would need to be aware of NVMe for booting from M.2 NVMe, but in this case, since it's obvious that there will be no further BIOS updates, I just want to settle for M.2 AHCI, which needs no NVMe support.
The DZ68BC can boot an AHCI device, of course, so it really comes down to whether or not it can boot one via an interface other than SATA or USB.
Thnak you very much to N.Scott.Pearson for the information provided above, it is really helpful for all the peers viewing this thread.
I just wanted to confirm that the option to boot from an M.2 SSD or an NVMe is not available for this board, the board does not support that configuration, it can only boot from SATA or USB.
In regard to your question about the built-in emulator, the best thing to do is to wait for N.Scott.Pearson to provide those details.
Any questions, please let me know.
And floppy and network.
But I'm just wondering if anyone's ever tried an M.2 adapter on this generation of board and attempted to boot an AHCI drive that way. What happens? Does it not show up as a selectable boot device at all despite it being AHCI? Or does it show up and just not boot? It would be usable as a non-boot drive, but very few would care for that.
Ah, AHCI emulator (I never thought of that as being an emulation, so I didn't know what you were referring to).
It's surprising that even the next generation (or two) of Intel desktop boards are in the same predicament.
So I suppose short of finding a drive that's made to workaround this problem (I think a couple do exist), or finding an adapter that is more than just an adapter and provides some logic to also workaround the problem (no idea if this exists), then we're stuck with SATA.