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Can I add a Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD to my P50 ThinkPad?

Think Engineering has identified an issue where Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSDs do not perform as expected in some Lenovo ThinkPads, such as not allowing HDD passwords to be set or removed.


The reason for this is ThinkPad BIOS for Intel SkyLake products are designed to support NVMe devices which conform to UEFI Spec v2.4 or later. Unfortunately, the Samsung 950 Pro is designed with UEFI Spec. v2.3.1. This conflict in design specification prevents the ThinkPad BIOS from recognizing the Samsung 950 Pro as a NVMe storage device as well as denying the BIOS control of the HDD password, encryption, and NVMe device power management.


Lenovo has also reviewed the Samsung 960 PRO 1TB. While the Samsung 960 Pro 1 TB meets UEFI v.2.4 specifications and supports HDD passwords, NVMe device power management and NVMe device thermal management are unsupported in ThinkPads. 


As result, Lenovo recommend purchasing a ThinkPad M.2 PCIe-NVMe SSD to guarantee support of HDD passwords, device power management, encryption, and device thermal management on ThinkPads.

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thinkfree On 2016-10-29, 10:37 AM

I've been using a 950 pro nvme on my P70 for several months under a Linux distribution, using the nvme kernel module on kernels from ~4.5 to 4.8. A couple of questions for you, if you please:


–Does your post truly refer to both the P70 and P50? The tag and information seem consistent with this; the title however only mentions the P50.

–Am I doing active damage to my 950 pro, and under what circumstances? My drive seems to be working well at the moment.

schuifpui On 2016-11-02, 9:56 AM

Also used two Samsung 950 Pro SSD's in my P70. They work fine. (Windows 10 x64, Samsung Magicioan 4.7.8)


Please note that Bitlocker gives a degradation in performance.TheSamsung 950 Pro does not support hardware encryption on SSD itself (FDE) but relies on the CPU instead. If you need full disk encryption woth maximum performance than I wouild recommend to wait for the 960 Pro, which will be avilable this month. You also will need to upgrade Ssamsung Magician to version 5.0. I will buy them when available and also wilkl post the RAID and JBOD performance.


For the time being, for max performance you can try out latest Samsung drivers and compare them with Microsoft drivers, that gave a small improvement for me.

x260x250 On 2016-11-22, 2:00 AM

Is this incompatibility expected to be resolved? These are probably the most popular drives available today in the performance segment.

loreamon On 2016-11-22, 16:50 PM

I use a Samsung 950 Nvme (with no passwords) under win 10 and it worked flawlessly (hope that's not the reason of my current strange fan problem, but it shouldn't be) from install of OS. Only minor issue is that name of SSD isn't displayed correctly in BIOS but shows fine under device manager. I am using latest samsung nvme controller.

schuifpui On 2016-11-24, 8:00 AM

It is very unlikely  that this has any relation with your fan problem. I would recommend to contact your local Lenovo support.

Centauri On 2016-12-09, 17:48 PM

Any updates on this issue? Specifically with regards to the Evo 960 compatibility with the P70.

Phil__C On 2016-12-16, 16:21 PM


Lenovo has also reviewed the Samsung 960 PRO 1TB. While the Samsung 960 Pro 1 TB meets UEFI v.2.4 specifications and supports HDD passwords, NVMe device power management and NVMe device thermal management are unsupported in ThinkPads. 



What about the Samsung 960 EVO?  Is that the retail equivalent of the OEM PM961 Lenovo uses in thinkPads?  Specifically, are power and thermal management supported in ThinkPads for the 960 EVO?


ralph303 On 2016-12-23, 23:07 PM

same question here. just thinking about getting 960 evo or pro. chances to have thermal management seems to be better with the evo?! anyone knows if 00up414 oem ssd is performance wise so much different to 960 evo?

Phil__C On 2016-12-28, 16:23 PM

This article describes the basic differences between Samsung SSD models:




The advertised sequential write speeds are quite a bit different between the PM961 and the 960 EVO.  However, unless you are running some really strenuous software, the real-world performance difference may be negligible.


My real concern is still regarding NVMe device power and thermal management, which will affect the overall performance and life of the SSD.  The EVO has been shown to work in the ThinkPad, but how can we tell if the power/thermal features are working?  How can we test for this?  If there is a problem, it is with the ThinkPad implementation of NVMe.


For average usage, it might be better to stick with the PM961 if you can find one at a reasonable price.  Interestingly, I don't see the 1TB model on Lenovo's site.  Amy's link above is dead.  Not that I would pay the ridiculous inflated price Lenovo was charging.


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