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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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AleqCZ On 2018-05-10, 9:53 AM

Samsung has recently released new series of their NVMe SSDs - 970 EVO and 970 PRO. Both support Opal. I wonder is Thermal management supported on these? 

conwaynyc On 2018-05-19, 21:23 PM

I would also like to know if the new Samsung NVMe SSD 970 PRO will work on my P51 - including thermal and power management support. Can Lenovo provide an opinion here?

practical On 2018-06-04, 3:20 AM

I just bought the 1 TB NVMe Samsung 970 Pro for my P70 but am a little concerned about whether to try it or just return it -- so far, there has been no authoritative response to my questions about any compatibility, heat or other issues.


Anyone have experience with the 970 series?

conwaynyc On 2018-06-04, 11:50 AM

If you end up giving the 970 Pro a try, I'd love to hear how it goes. I'd like to put one in the 2nd bay of my P51.

practical On 2018-06-14, 23:58 PM

OK, I finally installed the 1 TB 970 Pro.  


The only issues I had during installation were associated with recovering a previously-recorded disk image from a Macrium Reflect USB -- apparently, the NVME drivers are not part of the WinPE boot package. 


So, I used the Lenovo Restore USB Stick -- took forever but loaded Windows 10, original 2015 version, which I then had to update manually to the April 2018 distro as Windows update wouldn't patch it automatically.


According to Crystal DiskMark, the SSD is about twice as fast as the original 512 GB Lenovo OEM 950.  While running normal Windows apps, it seems actually slower that under Windows 7 on the original drive, especially after prolonged use.  This might be a Windows issue or might be thermal throttling, I really can't tell as apps which I imagine are CPU bound start to slow down significantly (but there is not much disk activity.)


So, the jury is still out on this one.




Aleq On 2018-06-15, 8:47 AM

Samsung 970 Evo 2TB in Thinkpad T580 here

Clean install of Windows 10 x64 1804 went through without a hitch, system feels snappier than with Intel 760p 512GB and generally haven't met any problem. 



Perhaps one strange thing - I get 100 % CPU usage during certain CrystalDiskMark tests, 4KiB Q8T8 for instance. The results are then heavily influenced what power profile is currently set.

Is it normal with fast NVMes? Or is it a driver issue? This reminds me past days of PIO vs UDMA access.




practical On 2018-07-17, 1:42 AM

I could not locate the original Crystal Diskmark for my cleanly installed Win 10 on the Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB drive.  At the time of its purchase, the 2 TB 970 EVO was not available -- I would have likely chosen that one instead for the double capacity.


For reference,  I just ran Crystal again (on a well-used drive), data below.  My machine is a P70 with Xeon 1505 and 64 GB of ECC RAM.  I hope this is interesting and useful:


Gnyff On 2019-07-11, 12:36 PM

I've bought a ADATA SSD 512GB XPG SX8200 Pro. It installs fine in our P50 (20EN) - and the BIOS test passes everytime (although it only takes ~3s)... However, Windows still refuse to install on the disk. And when/if the drive list of the installer is refreshed, the drive always disappears! :-(

I struggle to find the cause of the problem. I've tried the disk in a PCIe adapter card on a desktop - and here Windows installs without any problems. So the disk is not all bad. I've thought about trying another disk (not an official Lenovo part, though, they are not inside our budget!) - but I'm quite nervous this might actually be a general Lenovo compatibility problem (deliberate or not! ;-)...

toddtx99 On 2019-08-06, 21:32 PM

@Gnyff - Did you get your ADATA drive to work with the P50 notebook?


I am looking to add the following:


    ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB 3D NAND NVMe Gen3x4 PCIe M.2 2280 Solid State Drive R/W 3500/3000MB/s SSD (ASX8200PNP-1TT-C)



Gnyff On 2019-08-06, 22:42 PM



Nope, I ended up returning it and bought an Samsung 970 Evo Plus that worked without a hitch. (I wish I had started there - wasted A LOT of time on the Adata!)

I do suspect there's actually an incompatibility issue between Lenovo (at least the P50) and the Adata SX8200... But then again, I've only tried a single part!




PS: The original 512GB Samsung SATA type is now in the second slot. I will probably be exchanged for a larger Intel P660 if nothing better (=better longevity and similar or better price/performance) comes up before it's getting cramped... ;-)

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