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11-23-2013

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Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-25, 14:01 PM

Recently I got a slightly used Lenovo ThinkPad W520 from my company. I'm planning on my very first SSD for the machine loaded with Windows 7 64bit. I've read SSD reviews but am still unable to decide among Samsung 840 Pro, 850 Pro and Sandisk Extreme Pro. The primary reasons for my debate are first how well the SSD I choose will be supported by the W520's BIOS v1.42, and second is my preferred world-wide warranty.

My research at this forum and others indicates that only Samsung up to 840 Pro/Evo and Crucial up to M500 work well on W520. How do these latest premium SSD,  such as Samsung 840 Pro, 850 Pro and Sandisk Extreme Pro, perform on ThinkPad W520? Could someone share actual experiences?

I prefer Sandisk Extreme Pro among those three brands/models because Sandisk offers hassle-free international warranty which makes my life easier while working overseas. Samsung does not offer international warranty for their SSD products.

Appreciate your kind inputs and advices. Thank you!

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W520 (4270CTO), i7-2720QM, BIOS 1.42, 1920x1080 FHD, 16 GB RAM, 2000M NVIDIA GPU, Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD (planned), Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm HDD, ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (170W) eSATA edition, & eSATA ExpressCard/34 w/ port-multiplier support
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275 Posts

10-26-2010

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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-25, 18:51 PM
Honestly you will get similar performance between all the top brands. The difference between, for example, the 840 EVO and 850 Pro is 540/500 MB/s versus 550/520 MB/s, which is hardly anything. Any top brand capable of that kind of speed should work fine.

W540: i7-4700mq, K2100m, 16 GB RAM, 500 GB Samsung 840 EVO
T510: i7-620m, NVS 3100m, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB Samsung 840 EVO
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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 2:07 AM

I have the Samsung 840 Pro and a Crucial mSata M500 in one W520 and the other has the Crucial mSata M500 and the original HDD for backup. Both systems have been working without issue for several years now. I am also using the Rapid mode on the Samsung 840 Pro to squeeze the last drop of read performance out of the system.

 

The Samsung 850 Pro represents a significant step up in reliability (10-year warranty) over the 840 Pro. BTW, the Limited warranty for Samsung seems to cover at least 33 countries.

 

840Pro_102514.JPG


P53 XEON 2276 BIOS 1.19 OLED UHD 4K Multi-touch display, 96GB RAM, RTX5000, RAID 1, 1TB x 2 Samsung PM981, 1TB PM981, WWAN
P70 XEON 1505, BIOS 2.32, 4k Display, 64GB, M3000M NVIDIA GPU, RAID1 1TB Samsung PM981 PCIe-NVMe SSD x 2, 2x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD. EM7455 WWAN
P1. BIOS 1.25,Xeon Processor, 4k UHD IPS multi-touch display, 32GB, PM981 1TB x 2, RAID1

I am not an employee nor an agent of Lenovo.
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11-23-2013

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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 11:39 AM
Thank you for the helpful inputs, harrisb.

It seems to be confirmed widely that Samsung 840 Pro works on ThinkPad W520 and is supported well by the BIOS v.1.42. This perfect compatibility seems to be a result of coincidence of time when 840 Pro was then the latest and W520's BIOS was still under development. I'm in a tricky situation where I need to find out confirmed compatibility between the latest premium SSDs and the 3-year old ThinkPad W520 whose BIOS has ceased to be developed.

I may compromise on the international warranty and go for Samsung 840 Pro due to confirmed BIOS compatibility and considerable drop in price since the release of 850 Pro.

Has anyone have actually tried the latest Samsung 850 Pro on ThinkPad W520? I'm having hard time finding out how well Sandisk Extreme Pro works on W520. It seems that no owner of W520 is using Sandisk SSDs.
___________________________________________
W520 (4270CTO), i7-2720QM, BIOS 1.42, 1920x1080 FHD, 16 GB RAM, 2000M NVIDIA GPU, Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD (planned), Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm HDD, ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (170W) eSATA edition, & eSATA ExpressCard/34 w/ port-multiplier support
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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 11:57 AM

@harrisb:
BTW how much of over-provisioning do you have for your Samsung 840 Pro? 20%? I've read that this particular SSD runs slow when it's filled up due to limitation in over-provisioning by design.

I'm debating which of the sizes I want to go for - Samsung 840 Pro 256 or 512GB. I'm not a gamer and am frugal in apps I install. The maximum size of apps and data I'll have for a WIndows 7 64bit installation should be less than 50GB. However I'm considering dual boot with Windows 7 as main OS and Windows 8.1/10 as experimental OS. Is dual-boot in case of SSD a bad idea like I've read somewhere?

___________________________________________
W520 (4270CTO), i7-2720QM, BIOS 1.42, 1920x1080 FHD, 16 GB RAM, 2000M NVIDIA GPU, Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD (planned), Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm HDD, ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (170W) eSATA edition, & eSATA ExpressCard/34 w/ port-multiplier support
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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 12:08 PM
I am using the default settings on the drive which is divided into three volumes. I would steer clear of Windows 8.1 and wait for Windows 10 early next year.

P53 XEON 2276 BIOS 1.19 OLED UHD 4K Multi-touch display, 96GB RAM, RTX5000, RAID 1, 1TB x 2 Samsung PM981, 1TB PM981, WWAN
P70 XEON 1505, BIOS 2.32, 4k Display, 64GB, M3000M NVIDIA GPU, RAID1 1TB Samsung PM981 PCIe-NVMe SSD x 2, 2x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD. EM7455 WWAN
P1. BIOS 1.25,Xeon Processor, 4k UHD IPS multi-touch display, 32GB, PM981 1TB x 2, RAID1

I am not an employee nor an agent of Lenovo.
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11-23-2013

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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 12:18 PM

I see. You don't leave unallocated space as over-provisioning for your 840 Pro. Default settings and three volumes? AFAIK, there should be only two volumes for a typical Windows 7 installation - System Reserved and the OS. Why three volumes? When I get my SSD I'll first format it and install Windows 7 on it to achieve only one OS volume on the SSD. I don't use BitLocker and hence don't need the System Reserved voume.

Do you plan to upgrade your 840 Pro to 850 Pro for your W520? Considering you're using 840 Pro for two years already lol

___________________________________________
W520 (4270CTO), i7-2720QM, BIOS 1.42, 1920x1080 FHD, 16 GB RAM, 2000M NVIDIA GPU, Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD (planned), Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm HDD, ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (170W) eSATA edition, & eSATA ExpressCard/34 w/ port-multiplier support
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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 12:58 PM

There are 3 volumes because I separate my programs on the C: drive from the data on the D: drive. I've been doing this for years starting with HDDs. It allows me to quickly restore the OS volume when "bad things" happen (and they do). There's plenty of free space in each volume to deal with NAND writes. The drive is rated for 78TB and todate I've written 2.61TB in two years.

 

DM_2014.JPG

 

Drives2014.JPG

 

I've had my Samsung 840 Pro SSD installed for more than two years now. The write IOPs are mainly slowed down by the use of the RAPID software. The use of this option reduces the access time for read data (and short bursts of write data) by utilizing the RAM in the laptop.

 

Here are screen shots from 9/2012 (w/o RAPID)

 

samsung-091512PNG.PNG

 

 

 and from 10/2014 (w/ RAPID)

 

SSD_10262014.JPG

 

Overprovisioning in consumer level SSDs is same as free space,  I've tested both free vs.unallocated and have yielded virtually the same performance. That's one of the reasons to buy a large capacity SSD.


P53 XEON 2276 BIOS 1.19 OLED UHD 4K Multi-touch display, 96GB RAM, RTX5000, RAID 1, 1TB x 2 Samsung PM981, 1TB PM981, WWAN
P70 XEON 1505, BIOS 2.32, 4k Display, 64GB, M3000M NVIDIA GPU, RAID1 1TB Samsung PM981 PCIe-NVMe SSD x 2, 2x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD. EM7455 WWAN
P1. BIOS 1.25,Xeon Processor, 4k UHD IPS multi-touch display, 32GB, PM981 1TB x 2, RAID1

I am not an employee nor an agent of Lenovo.

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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-26, 14:08 PM

Many thanks for sharing your experiences and tips, harrisb.

 

___________________________________________
W520 (4270CTO), i7-2720QM, BIOS 1.42, 1920x1080 FHD, 16 GB RAM, 2000M NVIDIA GPU, Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD (planned), Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm HDD, ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (170W) eSATA edition, & eSATA ExpressCard/34 w/ port-multiplier support
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Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-28, 0:51 AM
You can technically do the RAM cache on any drive using some third party software like FancyCache:

http://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/fancy-cache/

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
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  • Message 11 of 11

Re: Which latest premium SSD works best on ThinkPad W520?

2014-10-28, 4:40 AM

wrote:

Overprovisioning in consumer level SSDs is same as free space,  I've tested both free vs.unallocated and have yielded virtually the same performance. That's one of the reasons to buy a large capacity SSD.


Huh? First I've heard that free space is equivalent to unallocated space, which is what "over provisioning" from Samsung Magician requires... or so I thought.

 

I had to un-allocate just under 10% of my 512GB 840 Pro (on my W530) in order to satisfy the minimum that Samsung Magician required for "over provisioning".

 

 

I also use "rapid mode" through Samsung Magician, as I rarely use more than 1/2 of my 8GB of memory.

 

 

Performance is superb from my i7 3740QM W530.

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