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Colliema
1 Copper

XPS 8910 - Using a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD as a boot drive

Just received my new XPS 8910. It only had a 1TB SATA drive out of the box, so I added a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD to the M.2 SSD slot. Great performance benchmarks, working great as a second storage device.

What I would like to do is make the SSD my boot drive. I've read many older threads regarding this, but for the current version of the product, is it possible to make an SSD in the M.2 slot the boot drive. There was a BIOS workaround in a previous thread from late 2016 that indicated a fix was being worked on... is it available now?

Thanks for any assistance you can provide. 

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5 Replies
evnbehr
1 Copper

RE: XPS 8910 - Using a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD as a boot drive

Yes, I installed a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 SSD a couple months ago in my XPS 8910 and made it the boot drive.

I installed the M.2 SSD and then just disconnected the SATA cord from the 1TB HDD. I then used USB recovery media drive to install Windows 10 and programs to the SSD. After everything was loaded onto the SSD and working fine, I reconnected the 1 TB SATA HDD, formatted and deleted the original partitions and made it the 😧 drive for general file storage.

Bluesman61
1 Copper

RE: XPS 8910 - Using a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD as a boot drive

Evnbehr wrote:

(Yes, I installed a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 SSD a couple months ago in my XPS 8910 and made it the boot drive. I installed the M.2 SSD and then just disconnected the SATA cord from the 1TB HDD. I then used USB recovery media drive to install Windows 10 and programs to the SSD. After everything was loaded onto the SSD and working fine, I reconnected the 1 TB SATA HDD, formatted and deleted the original partitions and made it the 😧 drive for general file storage.)

Hey my friend maybe you can help me. I also just purchased the XPS 8910. I then installed the same exact ssd card. When I restarted the computer I ran Samsung migration to copy the data from the 1TB hard drive that came with it to the Samsung. Shut it down and disconnected the 1 TB HD.

I then restarted the computer and it did start up much quicker and booted off of the ssd. And the ssd shows up in windows. (At this point had you changed anything in the bios?) I tried to use the magician and/or load the Samsung driver but it doesn't see the ssd. I restarted it and went into bios and changed from raid to AHCI and then tried to reboot but it then just went to blue screen and said no boot drive attached. Switched it back to raid and all was well.

Now comes the issues:

If I plug the 1 TB hard drive back in, the computer boots from that no matter what Sata plug out of the 3 remaining on the motherboard I use. I tried to go into bios and switch the boot startup to Samsung but it doesn't matter.  

So if I reformat this Hd do you think it will use the Samsung again to boot? And how did you reformat it if that is the boot drive it keeps reverting to?

I never saw a bios so confusing.  Did you change any settings in bios or anything?????

Hope you can help or steer me in the right direction and I am really sorry about all the questions. I'm just really confused and thought if you have already done it maybe you can give me some idea. Both dell and Samsung sites do not really explain much.

Oh and last: How do you get the AHCI settings to work or did you not bother to change and just stick with windows driver?  

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Colliema
1 Copper

RE: XPS 8910 - Using a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD as a boot drive

Hi Bluesman61,

I went ahead and just used the recovery disk as well, then added back the 1TB SATA drive as the working disk. Before I did anything, I changed the BIOS SATA option from RAID to AHCI, then "Disabled" Secure Boot. I then unplugged the SATA drive. I rebooted from the recovery USB drive and it restored to the only available drive, the Samsung SSD. Once recovered, I added the Samsung driver and then afterward added the Samsung Magician software, which can only see the SSD if the driver has been previously installed. I then plugged in the SATA drive, and reformatted it using windows disk management.

It's been running beautifully since.

Hope this helps.

dperry112
2 Iron

RE: XPS 8910 - Using a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD as a boot drive

If your system is set up as RAID in the Bios you need to use the Intel RAID software to break the RAID. If it is already AHCI this step is not necessary. You can use the Dell Recovery media but I think it is simpler to go on the Microsoft Windows site and download the current version of Windows 10 to a USB drive. Be sure you backup whatever is on the 1 TB SATA drive and the SSD to an external drive. Shut down the system and disconnect the hard drive.  Plug in the Windows 10 USB restart the system. As soon as the Dell logo appears start  pressing the  F12 key until the boot menu comes up. Be sure to select the USB drive to boot. The process then goes automatically with a new install of Windows 10 on the SSD. Shut down the system, plug the SATA drive in, and restart. Be sure the SATA drive is recognized and you can view files in File Manager. You then need to go onto the Dell Support site and download the drivers unique to your system. I really don't think there are many for an XPS 8910. At that point you would reinstall other software and decide how you are going to use the SATA drive.

equalizer88
1 Copper

RE: XPS 8910 - Using a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD as a boot drive

Spec for the Samsung 960 EVO Series - 500GB NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V6E500BW) is Sequential Read Speeds up to 3200MB/s and Sequential Write Speeds up to 1900MB/s.  Can you check with SSD speed test to verify your speed.  On another thread (Inspiron 5675 Desktop NVME M.2 slot speed), the M.2 slot is running at only x8, not x16, so speed test is 1500MB read instead of 3000MB plus.  Motherboard PCI lane sharing issue.  Can you please verify you are getting 3000MB read from the 960 on the M.2 slot?  Thanks.

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