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practical
802.11n
Posts: 360
Registered: ‎10-19-2008
Location: US
Views: 23,486
Message 1 of 37

W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Well, I guess there is no getting around the inevitable.  If I choose to stay with Lenovo to replace my beloved W700 (which thankfully still works well after 5 years of service), there seems to be no alternative to the W540, clearly inferior in many respects to earlier machines.  I echo the sentiments of all those who have decried Lenovo's apparent lack of insight into the needs of profession users who used to be the bread-and-butter customers of ThinkPads and who would gladly pay any necessary premium to obtain the best tools for their work.

 

Enough venting --  given that this new machine is of the two-spindle variety (I'm used to 3 in the W700), I could use some guidance: 

 

Would it be possible to put a large Intel 530 or better M.2 SSD in this machine (360 GB or larger) and set it up as a boot drive, with the main HDD dedicated for storage?   With a configuration like this, effectively a 3-spindle machine would be created.  How might this be accomplished, both from a physical configuration perspective as well as an OS installation, etc?

 

I viewed the online Lenovo service training videos for this machine and found nearly no information on the mSATA slot or even where it might be located & accessed on this machine.

 

Your assistance would be gratefully accepted, fellow ThinkPad users.

 

 

______________________________________________
P70, Xeon 1505 CPU, 64 GB ECC RAM, Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB + 512 GB NVMe Drives, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW, 4 K Display, NVIDIA Quadro M4000
W700 model 2757-CTO (8 GB RAM, Crucial MX-100 SSD + Hitachi TravelStar 1 TB 7200 RPM Drives, Bluray R/W, NVIDIA Quadro FX3700M, WUXGA); Windows 7 Ultimate SP-1, W700 Mini-Dock
lead_org Microsoft MVP Contributor
Microsoft MVP Contributor
Posts: 21,009
Registered: ‎12-19-2008
Location: Australia, Melbourne
Views: 23,402
Message 2 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

M2 or NGFF can be accessed as a separate storage system. So you can use it like a normal hdd. This has been available since the W520 (which had the mSATA interface).
Regards,

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
practical
802.11n
Posts: 360
Registered: ‎10-19-2008
Location: US
Views: 23,255
Message 3 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Thanks Jin. Love to hear if anyone has tried doing what I proposed. Also, can anyone speak with specificity yet about which card lengths of M.2 are supported on the W540?
______________________________________________
P70, Xeon 1505 CPU, 64 GB ECC RAM, Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB + 512 GB NVMe Drives, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW, 4 K Display, NVIDIA Quadro M4000
W700 model 2757-CTO (8 GB RAM, Crucial MX-100 SSD + Hitachi TravelStar 1 TB 7200 RPM Drives, Bluray R/W, NVIDIA Quadro FX3700M, WUXGA); Windows 7 Ultimate SP-1, W700 Mini-Dock
biznatch
802.11n
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎03-30-2011
Location: CA
Views: 23,193
Message 4 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

I'm using this setup on my W520 right now. It just works like you have 3 drives, I installed Windows to the mSATA, there wasn't any special setup required.
practical
802.11n
Posts: 360
Registered: ‎10-19-2008
Location: US
Views: 23,185
Message 5 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Thank you. I appreciate the confirmation of feasibility.

Now, If I can just get the requisite card specs (and of course, my hands on a W540), I'd be all set!
______________________________________________
P70, Xeon 1505 CPU, 64 GB ECC RAM, Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB + 512 GB NVMe Drives, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW, 4 K Display, NVIDIA Quadro M4000
W700 model 2757-CTO (8 GB RAM, Crucial MX-100 SSD + Hitachi TravelStar 1 TB 7200 RPM Drives, Bluray R/W, NVIDIA Quadro FX3700M, WUXGA); Windows 7 Ultimate SP-1, W700 Mini-Dock
SSDee
Token Ring
Posts: 283
Registered: ‎05-13-2012
Location: United States
Views: 23,118
Message 6 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Ditto what Biznatch says. I too am doing this on the W520. The mSATA slot on the W540 is supposedly SATA 3 - so much the better.

 

Crucial and Mushkin offer 480GB mSATA SSDs, Samsung has a 512GB (not over provisioned) you can get through Amazon.

 

On the other hand, Crucial has a 960GB SSD for $530 (street price). So perhaps three drives are no longer required.

practical
802.11n
Posts: 360
Registered: ‎10-19-2008
Location: US
Views: 23,109
Message 7 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Thanks folks.

According to the user guide and hardware manuals posted in the W540 Wish list thread, Lenovo "does not reccomend using M.2 drive" for anything other than cache -- I would imagine this has more to do with their desire not to support this functionality rather than any technical impediments.

Still, I would need to know the physical size contraints and any interface issues applicable to the M.2 slot. In my research, it seems that M.2 cards can come in several lenghts and thinknesses and either do or do not support PCIe standards for super high speed data transfers

http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/toshiba-hg5d-series-sata-m-2-ssd-review-512gb/

So, I still seek further enlightement on this issue. A high-speed PCIe interface and very fast M.2 card would most assuridly make the M540 a contender for fastest beast on the Planet and extend its useful life for me and other demanding users.
______________________________________________
P70, Xeon 1505 CPU, 64 GB ECC RAM, Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB + 512 GB NVMe Drives, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW, 4 K Display, NVIDIA Quadro M4000
W700 model 2757-CTO (8 GB RAM, Crucial MX-100 SSD + Hitachi TravelStar 1 TB 7200 RPM Drives, Bluray R/W, NVIDIA Quadro FX3700M, WUXGA); Windows 7 Ultimate SP-1, W700 Mini-Dock
SSDee
Token Ring
Posts: 283
Registered: ‎05-13-2012
Location: United States
Views: 23,098
Message 8 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Oh! I wasn't paying attention. I better read about m.2 before running at the mouth.

Highlighted
mrrogers
Paper Tape
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-05-2013
Location: usa
Views: 23,067
Message 9 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

There are multiple m.2 formats.  I'd like to find out whether the interface is SATA or PCIE.  The SATA interface has two notches, and the PCIE has a single notch.  The difference in performance is dramatic; so I'm hoping for the PCIE version.

practical
802.11n
Posts: 360
Registered: ‎10-19-2008
Location: US
Views: 23,007
Message 10 of 37

Re: W540 -- mSATA as boot disk?

Courtesy of another forum member, Perla:

 

 

W540 user guide: http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/t540p_w540_ug_en.pdf

W540 hardware maintenance manual: http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/t540p_w540_hmm_en_sp40a26003.pdf

 

Note: from Page137 of User's Guide:

 

General tips for preventing problems

 

• If your computer is equipped with both a hard disk drive and an M.2 solid-state drive, you are not

recommended to use the M.2 solid-state drive as a bootable device. The M.2 solid-state drive is designed

and developed for “cache” function purpose only. If you use the M.2 solid-state drive as a bootable

device, its reliability is not guaranteed.

 

No information that I could find in either of these documents which answers the question of mSATA or PCIe -- or describes card length specs.

 

....Do you ever get the feeling that Lenovo doesn't have a clue about how serious users would like to use their products?

______________________________________________
P70, Xeon 1505 CPU, 64 GB ECC RAM, Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB + 512 GB NVMe Drives, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW, 4 K Display, NVIDIA Quadro M4000
W700 model 2757-CTO (8 GB RAM, Crucial MX-100 SSD + Hitachi TravelStar 1 TB 7200 RPM Drives, Bluray R/W, NVIDIA Quadro FX3700M, WUXGA); Windows 7 Ultimate SP-1, W700 Mini-Dock

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