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M920 Storage Options M.2 SATA RAID

2018-11-09, 20:23 PM

Planning on purchasing a M920t.

 

Manual and specs say it supports M.2 Storage and SATA RAID.  I know that M.2 will not work with the RAID and only the 4 SATA ports will work.  What I want to know is if the M.2 slot will cover the SATA ports next to it.  This would render the SATA ports useless if it covers them. 

 

There are no documented ACTUAL pictures of the M920t Motherboard in Lenovo's support only un-usefull cartoon diagrams.  Is there anywhere I can get a full image of the board or if someone knows if the SATA ports are un-useable when the M.2 port is in use?   I want to use the M.2 512GB my model comes with for the OS and a set of regular SATA drives for a RAID 1 Mirror.

Never understood why MFG's never release actual images of the boards and only cartoon diagrams.  

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2508 Posts

06-13-2013

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Re: M920 Storage Options M.2 SATA RAID

2018-11-09, 20:48 PM

The direction of the M.2 connector on the motherboard supports the insertion of the M.2 2280 drive card to project "down" off of the motherboard and out over the metal chassis.  It is the opposite direction from the SATA connectors which are "up" just right "above" the M.2 connector.

 

I assume that the M920t is like the M910t regarding insertion of an M.2 card, in that there is an additional plastic mounting bracket which clips onto the metal chassis right there, in order to support the outer-projected off-motherboard end of the card.  It also contains a hole with a plastic push-pin that goes through the semi-circular tightening hole at the farthest outer end of the M.2 card and into the hole on the plastic bracket, in order to fasten the card down securely at that far end.

 

Actually, the plastic bracket part is double-wide, so that it can support the projected ends of both the x4 M.2 storage card as well as its neighboring x2 M.2 WAN card, if you should happen to install both of these optional M.2 cards.

 

The SATA connectors are totally unobstructed even when one or both M.2 cards are inserted.

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Re: M920 Storage Options M.2 SATA RAID

2018-11-09, 20:58 PM

I know pretty much nothing about RAID, but I'm curious why you would say it doesn't work on the M920t with M.2 storage but only for two 2.5" HDD/SSD SATA drives?  Is it because there is only a single M.2 NVMe storage connector on the motherboard that you say that?

 

Turns out you can install a PCIe-to-M.2 daughterboard "riser" adapter card (both as a Lenovo part or a standard 3rd-party retail equivalent) that inserts into the second PCIe negotiable x16/x4/x1 slot, thus providing a second M.2 NVMe x4 storage drive capability from that PCIe expansion slot.  I would think you should now be able to enable RAID using these two M.2 storage drives.

 

I know that Lenovo P-series laptops which provide two M.2 storage bays all support RAID on those M.2 cards, as well as on two 2.5" SATA HDD/SSD drives (if you have two SATA drives installed.  So although I don't know for absolute sure I would think the M920t would also support it (if the documentation says it does), as long as you install a second M.2 storage drive in a PCIe slot via adapter card.

 

That's not something I know for sure from firsthand experience, but I have a hunch that is what was intended.  Somebody else who knows for sure can chime and and confirm or deny my hunch.

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Re: M920 Storage Options M.2 SATA RAID

2018-11-10, 2:35 AM

Thanks for the update.  You are correct I did find the instructions in the manual.   It should be mentioned in the standard parts when ordering the M.2 SSD that they require this SPECIAL part.  If you order the system without one you would have to get part ordered.

 

I have worked on a lot of systems but lenovo never stops to amaze me with the the NON standard methods of applying hardware to a system.  Pretty sure 99% of the other systems out there use the standard laydown m.2 slot.  :smileyfrustrated::smileymad:

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Re: M920 Storage Options M.2 SATA RAID

2018-11-10, 6:10 AM

Just to be clear, I am sure that if you order your machine with an M.2 SSD that the required plastic mounting adapter bracket will come pre-installed from the factory. I believe it is not charged-for separately, but simply installed at the factory so that the M.2 SSD can be installed at the factory.  If you don't order an M.2 SSD factory-installed then Lenovo doesn't simply free-of-charge provide this bracket "empty" with the machine so that you can later install your own M.2 SSD if you wanted to.

 

If you want to "do it yourself" and buy/install your own M.2 SSD after you receive the machine you actually ordered from Lenovo, then you simply need to get the additional required mounting adapter bracket (just as you bought your own M.2 SSD retail), which in the past has been called "ThinkCentre M.2 SSD Kit" (Part number: 4XF0P01011) for under $9.  That part worked to DIY an M.2 SSD in the M910t, and I assume it's the same part needed for the M920t.

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