wolfscream
1 Copper

Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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Hello,

I tried to do some research but couldnt find a clear answer on this. Is the m.2 slots in the new Alienware 15 compatible with pcie m.2 ssds? or just sata m.2 ssds?

Example: Can i use the new Samsung XP941 m.2 ssd?

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shamale
2 Bronze

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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juda17837's answer is not quite correct.  The alienware 15 R2, as well as the alienware 17 R3 which both have the same motherboards, have two m.2 slots.  One of the two slots supports both Pcie X4 and SATA III as the m.2 interface can support either sata or Pcie.

The second m.2 slot supports ONLY sata III and/or Pcie x2.  

To repeat, one of the slots supports 4 lanes of Pcie, the other supports only 2 lanes of Pcie.  Both slots support Sata III.

This means you can use the 850 EVO sata drive in either slot, or the 950 pro in either slot, however, in one slot the 950 pro will ONLY have 2 Pcie lanes available to it so it will not work at its top speed.  In the other slot it will have 4 Pcie lanes available to it and will work at its top performance.

The above has been confirmed time and again on the Notebookreview forums under the alienware 13/15/17 threads.  You can find the details about which slot is which there.  

The m.2 slot labeled 1 is the 4 lane Pcie m.2 slot, the slot labeled 2 is the 2 lane Pcie slot.  Either slot will support SATA III.

As far as I am aware, no one on the Notebookreview forums has yet tried out the new 1 TB m.2 drives offered by Sandisk (the X400) or the one offered by Transcend, both being SATA III drives, but very likely either of those will also work in either m.2 slot.

diablucci
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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For anyon interested, on this post you can find my benchmark for an Alienware 15 R2 with Samsung SSD 950 PRO NVMe M.2 256GB

https://goo.gl/k67uZR

Hope not too late, for who, like me was interested to the argument!

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Game7a1
4 Beryllium

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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SATA.

I'm not sure if the Samsung M.2 will work.

Currently owned computers:
AW13 R2 | i7-6500U | GTX 960m 4 GB + GA (R9 285 2 GB / RX 480 8 GB) | 16 GB 1600 MHz | 1800p Touchscreen | 2 x 500 GB SATA M.2 | Graphics Amplifier Performance Analysis with 13 R1
Desktop | i7-3770 | GTX 980 4 GB | 16 GB 1600 MHz | 120 GB mSATA + 960 GB SSD + 2 TB HDD | 600w PSU
Formerly owned computers:
HP Pavilion 15-n280us (given away) | Apple Mac Mini 2012 (sold)  | m15x (damaged mobo) | 13 R1 (death by unknown) | m14xR2 (Tradied In)

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wolfscream
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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Once I get a new M.2 SSD and install it, how do I move the operating system over? Do I have to do a clean install? How would I do that without the Windows disk? I believe alienware no longer offers windows reinstallation disks.

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Game7a1
4 Beryllium

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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Alienware, in the US, offers a recovery USB for a charge of $20.

But you can make a recovery media with Alien Respawn. That's how you would do a clean install.

Currently owned computers:
AW13 R2 | i7-6500U | GTX 960m 4 GB + GA (R9 285 2 GB / RX 480 8 GB) | 16 GB 1600 MHz | 1800p Touchscreen | 2 x 500 GB SATA M.2 | Graphics Amplifier Performance Analysis with 13 R1
Desktop | i7-3770 | GTX 980 4 GB | 16 GB 1600 MHz | 120 GB mSATA + 960 GB SSD + 2 TB HDD | 600w PSU
Formerly owned computers:
HP Pavilion 15-n280us (given away) | Apple Mac Mini 2012 (sold)  | m15x (damaged mobo) | 13 R1 (death by unknown) | m14xR2 (Tradied In)

LordZog
3 Argentium

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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It should work, you just won't get the PCIe speeds, you'll get the SATA3 speeds. The M.2 specification provides four PCI Express lanes and one SATA 3.0 port, exposed through the same connector, allowing use of both PCI Express and SATA storage devices in form of M.2 cards. Essentially, the M.2 standard is a small form factor implementation of the SATA Express interface (which provides support for PCI Express 3.0 and Serial ATA 3.0, with the addition of an internal USB 3.0 interface. Only problem is that it looks like Dell used this connection but on only on the SATA 3 bus instead of the PCIe bus which breaks the standard. But long story short, it should work, just not at PCIe 3 speeds.

Also, if you don't have recovery media, make your own. AlienRespawn will allow you to make a DVD or a USB Key.

CTopher84
3 Argentium

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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HIGHLY recommend the respawn. The USB media is ONLY the OS (no drivers etc...).

wolfscream
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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I decided to just buy a Samsung 850 evo drive to replace the default mechanical drive with. I'll do what you all suggested and use the respawn software to create a recovery.

I'd still like to confirm by dell if PCIE speed is supported via the M.2 slots. What would be the best channel to ask that?

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CTopher84
3 Argentium

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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I just replaced the internal w/ a Samsung 850 EVO and there was absolutely 0 issue if you are curious. You could talk to tech support and hope you get someone that knows what's up. 

If you are truly curious here is the m2 module that shipped. Not gonna use it anyways. The 1TB 5400 drive is just a Western Digital Blue.

alienware 15 m2 drive.jpg

snoopcogg
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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I am also interested in using a standard Samsung 850 drive. The only issue that I see is that my Alienware 13 did not ship with the SATA connector/adapter. I only have the board for the m.2 drive. Did you guys have to purchase it separately?

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marinex1025
1 Copper

RE: Alienware 15 m.2 ssd : PCIE or SATA?

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Msata is only supported. I learned that the hard way.

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