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ThinkTek
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Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-30-2016
Location: CA
Views: 2,196
Message 1 of 9

Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

Hello,

 

Here are some guidlines on how to double the storage space on your T25 (or T470) using the WWAN slot.  As you know, the T25 comes with a 512GB 2280 form factor SSD.  I will describe how to add another 512GB SSD in the WWAN slot that uses a 2242 form factor.   Of course, you can also install a 2nd 2280 form factor SDD in the T25, such that the maximum number of SSDs you can install in the T25 is 3 (two 2280 form factor SSDs and one 2242 form factor SSD).  I am going to cover the "lessons learned" from installing the 2242 form factor SSD.

 

I've wanted to post this topic back in December, but, due to a global memory shortage, you couldn't acquire a 512GB SSD that fit into the T25's WWAN slot at a reasonable price anywhere.  Times have changed.  The T25 has a WWAN slot that can also be used to plug in a small 2242 form factor m.2 SATA SSD.  The SSD installed in the WWAN slot must be a SATA SSD, not a NVMe SSD.  Back in December, I ordered the largest 2242 m.2 SATA SSD I could find - a 512GB one from Transcend - part number TS512GMTS400S.  But, it was out of stock and not in production, so it was "backordered".  This past week, over 3 months later, I finally received it.  It was manufactured in Taiwan on February 15th this year.  So, it looks like the global memory shortage issue is starting to resolve itself.  Here is a summary of my "lessons learned" while installing this new SSD over the last 2 days.

 

When you follow the T25 Maintenance Manual instructions to remove the T25's back cover to get access to the T25's Wireless WAN slot, use a non-metallic spudger to help separate the back cover from the front.  Take your time doing this with the flat end of the spudger and nothing will break.  Eventually, the back cover will come off nicely.  The screws on the back cover don't actually get removed from the back cover - after you loosen the screws, they still remain "attached" to the back cover.  So, no more issues with losing or misplacing removed screws.

 

The WWAN slot is covered by some type of plastic "shield", so simply flip it over to expose the WWAN slot.  You will see that the T25 already has the required "hold down" screw installed in this slot, so you don't need to acquire one.  When you install the SSD, install it with the label side "up", since it appears that it can be installed either way.  Once the SSD is installed, hold it down with the provided screw, fold the plastic "shield" back over it and put the back cover back on.  This cover removal - insert SSD - cover reinstallation procedure took me about 30 minutes to do, taking my time.

 

OK, here's the key "lessons learned" which will save you lots of time and frustration.  For some reason, Windows Disk Management can't see unformatted 2242 SATA (Transcend) SSDs installed in the WWAN slot.  When you go into Device Manager, Windows does see that the new SSD is installed and working properly.  However, since Disk Management can't see it, there is no way to format the SSD.  I posted this issue in the T400 forum yesterday and I received a response from "otheus" that enabled me to resolve this issue.  "otheus" suggested that I try to use a "live linux" USB approach to see if linux can detect the unformatted SSD in the WWAN slot.  Well, it did and the method worked!  Kudos to "otheus"!

 

I am aware of linux, but never actually used it.  So, for the benefit of other Linux newbies like me, here are the 2 key resources I used to create a live linux USB stick and then, after booting my T25 from the USB stick into linux, using it to find & format my Transcend SSD in the WWAN slot (yes, there are many resources on this topic, but these are the ones I used):

1. Installing Live Linux on a USB Stick using Ubuntu:

https://tutorials.ubuntu.com/tutorial/tutorial-create-a-usb-stick-on-windows#0

2. Formatting a disk using Ubuntu:

https://www.wikihow.com/Format-a-Hard-Drive-Using-Ubuntu

 

I shut down my T25 (using the shift-shut down method recommended by another T400 forum participant - Zoltanthegypsy), plugged in the live linux Ubuntu USB stick, and then powered up the T25 - which bypassed the Windows startup and went directly into Linux.  I did confirm in the bios that the USB port was listed higher in the boot order than the C drive.

 

Once Linux was up, following the procedure in reference 2 above, I launched the Ubuntu Disk tool.  It discovered the new, unformatted, 2242 SSD.  For some reason, the new unformatted SSD I installed had 2 unformatted partitions on it, so before doing partition format, I used the linux Disks tool to remove the 2 existing partitions so that I just had one big partition left.  Then, I formatted the 2242 SSD (selecting the NTFS format).  Finally, I used the Ubuntu Disks tool to mount the SSD (the last step in reference 2 above) so that it can be "discovered" by the operating system.

 

After doing this, I shut down the T25, removed the live linux USB stick, and restarted the T25 with the normal Windows 10 operating system.  And voila, the new 512GB SSD appears and works great!  I just doubled my T25 storage space.  I can also always add a 3rd SSD (with a 2280 form factor) later if I want to.

 

With this 2242 SSD installation exercise now behind me, I will now probably start discovering the linux world!

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

ThinkTek
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Message 2 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

Update.  I just realized I made an error in my original post regarding the number of storage drives that can be installed in the T25.  Unfortunately, I cannot update my original post anymore.  I incorrectly stated that two 2280 form factor drives and one 2242 form factor drive can be installed in the T25.  In fact, only one m.2 2280 PCIe drive (in the regular drive enclosure) and one m.2 2242 SATA drive (in the WWAN slot) can be installed.  Apologies if I misled anyone.

ThinkpadFan82
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Message 3 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

Thank you so much for this post!

 

I do have two questions! Lenovo says this laptop ships with a WWAN card. Why is the WWAN slot empty, then? 

 

Also, why does this laptop have the physical space and cage for a 2.5" laptop drive, but no actual SATA connection? 

 

 

ThinkTek
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Message 4 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

You're welcome.  I love this T25. I later learned that my issues with the WWAN drive seemed to be an outlier case - most people have reported that they can simply install the WWAN slot drive into the T25 and it works right away.  My WWAN drive was shipped directly from that factory, but clearly, something was loaded onto it before they packaged it up.  This is why I wiped the whole thing clean because there was something definitely on it when I received it.  So, best practice is to wipe all new drives clean when you receive them.

 

Also, following up on a post from another T25 user in this forum, I just acquired (yesterday) a Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock P/N G0A10170UL (has a built in NVidea GTX1050 Graphics Card - much more powerful than the one installed in the T25).  Now ordering a longer Thunderbolt 3 cable (longer than the 18" one provided) and a HDMI 2.1 cable.  Should have it all up and running in about a week.

 

Now, for your questions.

 

Yes, Lenovo did say in it's initial promotional material that this T25 ships with a WWAN card, but this is an error.  It does not.  You can order it with a WWAN card, but it will cost you extra.

 

Although the T25 has the physical space and cage for a 2.5" laptop drive, it does not support 2.5" SATA drives.  It supports 2.5" PCIe drives only.  Note that it comes with a single m.2 2280 SSD PCIe drive installed in a bigger 2.5" cage.  However, if you want to add more storage using the WWAN card slot, this WWAN slot "drive" can only be SATA, not PCIe.  So, 2.5" cage drive = PCIe;  WWAN slot drive = SATA.

 

 

ThinkpadFan82
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Message 5 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

Do you have a dock for it that goes under the T25? If so, does your T25 reboot when you place it in there? 

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Message 6 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

ThinkTek wrote:

> the T25 has the physical space and cage for a 2.5" laptop drive, it does not support 2.5" SATA drives. It supports 2.5" PCIe drives only.

Unfortunately, this isn't right. 2.5" slot should support SATA drives only but via special cable not listed in the T25' parts list (though it's in the T470 parts list).

As it is known, T25 is based on the T470, the platforms and most parts are the same. Have a look at T470 platform specification, Storage section:
http://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys/PDF/ThinkPad/ThinkPad%20T470/ThinkPad_T470_Platform_Specificatio...

Regarding the 2.5" SATA drive, either HDD or SSD, have a look at this video. For this drive use the bracket, cast away the m.2 SSD adapter:
http://download.lenovo.com/lts/RTPW1720/FOF/RTPW1720-ThinkPad-25_REM_FRU_06_PCIeSSD.mp4

For bigger storage capacity you might use 3rd party dual m.2 SSD to 2.5" SATA adapter, there are even 7 mm versions on the market.



x220 • Gobi 2000 3g | hdd, msata ssd, wwan, wifi, gps -- unique hand-made config
ThinkPad 25 Special Anniversary Edition. #retro. Signed by D.Hill
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ThinkTek
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Message 7 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

Oh, OK.  Thanks for the correction, x220forme.  I didn't know that.  This forum is great!

Sigurd4Warp
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Message 8 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned


@x220forme wrote:

ThinkTek wrote:

> the T25 has the physical space and cage for a 2.5" laptop drive, it does not support 2.5" SATA drives. It supports 2.5" PCIe drives only.

Unfortunately, this isn't right. 2.5" slot should support SATA drives only but via special cable not listed in the T25' parts list (though it's in the T470 parts list).

As it is known, T25 is based on the T470, the platforms and most parts are the same. Have a look at T470 platform specification, Storage section:
http://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys/PDF/ThinkPad/ThinkPad%20T470/ThinkPad_T470_Platform_Specificatio...

Regarding the 2.5" SATA drive, either HDD or SSD, have a look at this video. For this drive use the bracket, cast away the m.2 SSD adapter:
http://download.lenovo.com/lts/RTPW1720/FOF/RTPW1720-ThinkPad-25_REM_FRU_06_PCIeSSD.mp4

For bigger storage capacity you might use 3rd party dual m.2 SSD to 2.5" SATA adapter, there are even 7 mm versions on the market.


Unfortunately this is not true as well. The T25 is different from the T470 when it comes to the storage section. As you can read here (German, please use online translator) https://thinkpad-forum.de/threads/214300-Umbau-Thinkpad-25-Ich-mach-mir-meine-Welt-wie-sie-mir-gefäl... there are Plastic Pins that prevent from using 2.5'' Drives unless you manually cut them!! So this Adapter does not help. Finally I used an M2 2280 SATA 1TB Drive, that worked well. In addition I added the Smart Card Reader and updated the WLAN with the WiGiG enabled WLAN card. And yes, I am using the Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock with the 1050 GTX, and this is really great! All in all the best Thinkpad I ever had. Here the pictures for the M2 SATA:

6.jpg1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg5.jpg

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NikolaN
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Registered: ‎04-04-2019
Location: CA
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Message 9 of 9

Re: Doubling the T25 Storage using SSD in WWAN Slot - Lessons Learned

Great post - thx! Smiley Happy

I've bought the slightly smaller cousin (TS256GMTS400S), and cannot see it in BIOS, Ubuntu Live, or Windows10. Not sure if the unit is defective, or are there any tips I may have missed on how to install it / verify it? 🤔 

 

 

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