PfSense 2.3 Fresh install Samsung 950 Pro NVMe - Can't Install

  • Hi everyone,

    I can't get pfSense to install natively on my Samsung 950 Pro NVMe drive. I'm guessing it doesn't have the NVMe driver built in. I've been successful with getting ESXi 6 to install but I no longer want to run it as a VM.

    I have this motherboard:

    32Gb of Crucial ECC RAM

    Is there a way to side load a driver into the USB drive so when it goes to install, it writes correctly? The easy install doesn't work but the custom install does detect the drive. After selecting the drive and formatting it, i just get errors. I created the USB boot drive on OSX El Captain.


  • Please have a look into the board manual what the board is accepting, AHCI or NVMe M.2 drives.
    If this board is accepting then the M.2 drive (it appears then in the BIOS) you should try out to
    install at first the actual and stable FreeBSD version. And if this is running well without any failures
    and/or issues I would try out to install the latest snapshot from pfSense to be sure I get the latest
    driver support presented.

    There is also another point you should not overview, there are different versions of the M.2 NVMe
    drives, some came with a own BIOS chip and the others not! So this can also be a problem too as
    I see it right. This will be really important to know, what kind of NVMe drive is really supported and
    is giving you the ability to install pfSense on it. So your drive the Samsung950 Pro is owning a own
    BIOS chip, if you are able to get a M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 drive that is coming without such a BIOS chip you
    could try out this once more to be sure that you don´t need such a drive and not the ones with the
    own BIOS chip on it.

    Please report any success back here there are some other peoples who want to know exactly this
    too, because they are also trying it out with a Samsung950 Pro M.2 NVMe drive, likes you are doing.

    Perhaps, Iam not really sure about that, you can be reproducing that steps here in pfSense too to
    get successfully installing pfSense on that M.2 NVMe drive.
    Partition and file system creation on NVMe based SSD

  • @PF64:

    I have this motherboard:

    I´m interested in buying this card as well, together with Samsung SSD 850PRO 128GB and SC101i mini-itx chassis.

    When you have the installation problems sorted and are up and running, please give us some feedback on how the Xeon D-1528 performs with pfSense.


  • I resorted back to VMware ESXi 6.0.0 since I know it works. I see the NVMe driver get loaded as part of the install routine and all is fine from there. I think something is missing yet from the native install of pfSense 2.3 RELEASE, to fully recognize the drive. Easy install doesn't work and the custom install sees the drive but can't write to it.

    The BIOS detects the drive just fine. My setup only uses the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe as the boot drive. I doubt there would be an issue with a SATA drive instead of M.2.

    I believe this to be a case of bleeding edge disorder and it will be fixed with time.

    I wanted to go back to a native install because the 'VMware ESXi" web client interface (accessed at the ESXi IP) that can be accessed with any browser, has its bugs yet. This is not to be confused with the "vSphere Web Access" which needs a PC to utilize it, I primarily use Macs. Not many people have talked about the VMware ESXi web interface yet. It was just released as part of ESXi 6 best I understand.

    If you want an awesome resource check out tinkertry. He has the same general motherboard only 8 core instead of 6. But I'm waiting for him to talk about the new web interface as well.

  • You could try out to prepare an USB pen drive with the right image according to your board and usage case
    and then plug it into a PC or MAC and add this two line in the /boot/loader.conf and save it up.


    Plug then the USB pen drive back to your Supermicro board and boot from that USB pen drive, the accessible
    drive that must be shown up then is the  following device shown under;


    And then you could try out to run gpart against this drive to create your needed partitions and tr on top the
    install process for pfSense. Sorry that I am not able to help out more, but this is all I was found out that NVMe
    drives yet. Would be nice if someone have success or report back the issues or failure that come beside this
    process and we try out another trail.

  • Thanks, I think I get the gist of what you said.

    Speak of the devil, tinkertry did start talking about the new web interface:

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