jasonrdunn
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Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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When I ordered my Dell XPS 13 back in May of this year, I ordered it with a 256 GB drive knowing I'd eventually upgrade to a 512 GB drive once the new NVMe m2 drives were out. I didn't fully grasp the variations in m2 and when I pre-ordered the 512 GB Samsung 950 PRO NVMe I expected to pop it in and go. No such luck. I should have known they wouldn't make it that easy... :-(

The drive is physically compatible of course, but has the "M" key edge connector while the drive I pulled out has the "B&M" edge key connector. I'm running the A05 BIOS on the Dell, but it can't see the 950 PRO drive a the BIOS level. The on-board testing tool reports "no hard drive". So this seems like a BIOS issue.

Anyone have any ideas? Is this a matter of Dell supporting it with a new BIOS update? Or will it never work because the XPS 13 isn't compatible with this generation of M2 drivers? Looks like I need to return this either way, but if Dell eventually supports it, I may buy it again.

If it will never work, any suggestions on a 512 GB drive that will work? Would the Samsung XP941 or XP951 work? Any idea on the difference between the two (the XP951 is $50+ more).

UPDATE: This drive is not compatible with the Dell XPS 13, and likely never will be due to power consumption (5-7 watts). You simply wouldn't want a storage device that power-hungry in your laptop. The Samsung SM951 512 GB is the best drive at the moment.

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talones
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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FYI, I was able to get the 950 Pro NVMe recognized to install windows 10 on it by simply turning on Legacy boot options.  Once that was turned on my windows install USB saw it as installable media.  After installing the drive had an EFI boot sector so I was able to turn off legacy boot. 

luchenue
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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950 PRO  or M6E  can boot on BIOS 9343_BIOS_Rev_A00.exe BOTH EFI and Legacy. 

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Spacekoekje77
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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Hi,

I was planning to buy one of those cards myself, however I found the some conflicting information.

So I have been researching this for a while, although it seems the 9343 will not support the PCIe (NVMe) ssd's as it seems to be only SATA (6Gbps / AHCI) in the manual.

The 9350 has support for the PCIe (8 Gbps / NVMe and SATA/AHCI).

Now I am not sure a BIOS update would change this, the M.2 basically supports SATA and PCIe connections but could be limited to 2 lanes PCIe.

So the XP941 from what I could gather is a OEM version of a 840 evo, the SM951 could be a 850 evo but I am not 100% sure if that is a correct assesment and how accurate this is from what I have read, the SM951 is newer but the drives are fairly similar although I think the XP941 is only PCIe. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-sm951-m.2-pcie-ssd,4045.html

Although you have 2 versions of the SM951 a PCIe (NVMe) and a SATA (AHCI) drive and you can guess the latter is slower but will work in the 9343.

Hope this explains a bit, but it seems the 950 Pro will not work in the 9343 (gutted Smiley Sad )

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Spacekoekje77
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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Hi,

I was looking into buying that card for my Dell XPS 13, seeing the manual of the 9343 it says SATA nothing about the PCIe, so doesn't seem like it is going to work.

Not sure if a BIOS update would enable this as it seems to depend on the controller onboard of the motherboard, the 9350 seems to have both controllers.

M.2 is the physical form factor. SATA and PCIe refer to the storage interface, the primary difference is performance and the protocol (language) spoken by the M.2 SSD.

The M.2 spec was designed to accommodate both a SATA and PCIe interface for SSDs. M.2 SATA SSDs will use the same controller currently on typical 2.5 in SATA SSDs. M.2 PCIe SSDs will use a controller specifically designed to support the PCIe protocol.

An M.2 SSD can only support one protocol, but some systems have M.2 sockets that can support either SATA or PCIe.

Does an M.2 SSD support both SATA and PCIe?

No. An M.2 SSD will support either SATA or PCIe, but not both at the same time. In addition, system board sockets will be designated by manufacturers to support either SATA, PCIe, or in some cases, both. It is important to check your system’s manual to verify which technologies are supported; in some motherboards, there can even be sockets that support both and some limited to either SATA or PCIe only.

(taken from Kingston M.2 FAQ)

The XP941 and the SM951 are similar cards, make sure if you buy either you buy the AHCI version, seems the PCIe (NVMe) will not work, however some posts seem to have the XP941 installed which is a PCIe ssd as far as I know and some are actually saying that they only use PCIe x2 lanes instead of x4 which is strange as it shouldn't be working according the 9343 manual.

But you have to check you might actually get the 950 Pro to work if people got the PCIe version working.

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jasonrdunn
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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Thanks! The kicker is, I thought the XPS 13 *did* support PCIe...I was sure I read that months ago, but evidently it does not and perhaps that's the end of the story right there. 

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Spacekoekje77
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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Indeed, I just read it again if you google search "Booting from SM951 on Dell XPS 13 (2015)?" there is talk about the SM951 working after the A03 BIOS (on PCIe x2) but the manual says it supports SATA and no mention of the PCIe.

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jasonrdunn
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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Now that's interesting, because the 951 and the 941 are both PCIe parts according to the Amazon product pages with 4-lane connectivity. I've since done more research and it looks like PCIe parts are compatible with the XPS 13, but NVMe is not based on my first-hand experience. :-)

I just went through a painful 20 minute call with Dell's XPS support team - the one they call "premium". It was absolutely horrible. The tech knew NOTHING and I kept asking to speak to a level 2 tech or his manager, but he wouldn't transfer me.

95% of the time when I call Dell I feel disappointed. :-(

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9 Rhodium

RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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I wonder if it's the power consumption of these drives that's the issue  -- they draw somewhere between 5 and 7 W in operation,  which may make them suited to desktop (or gaming notebook) use but too power-hungry for an ultra-mobile notebook.

Even conventional 7200 rpm notebook drives generally draw 2W or less when fully operational.

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Spacekoekje77
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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Well yes, I have been reading lots of manuals and so forth, so while m.2 is PCIe (as far as i could find out) the controller port on the 9343 uses AHCI protocol (SATA port) and doesn't utilize the PCIe (NVMe protocol), again not sure if a bios update would fix this and if Dell is willing to do this.

Basically the M.2 would be PCIe but because the 9343 has only AHCI it means the cards used are AHCI cards that can be used in the M.2 slot.


What you can try to be honest is download the driver for nvme Intel® Solid-State Drive Data Center Family for NVMe Drivers.

I also read that cloning the drive does not work, you have to do a clean install with the installation usb in UEFI.


Hope you will get it to work!

Look up how-to-boot-win10-from-samsung-950-pro-nvme-on-superserver on google explains quite a bit aswell.

Also I read here and there that the SM951 (AHCI) outperformed the Intel 750 and samsung 950 but that is a bit strange to me as AHCI uses the SATA protocol and is limited to 6Gbps.

Regards,
John

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jasonrdunn
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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I dare say you're right! I made the erroneous assumption that because it was an M.2 drive, it would work in any M.2 slot, but with all new motherboards now coming with M.2 slots, the 950 PR0 is very clearly meant for a desktop PC.

I returned the 950 PRO and bought a Samsung SM951. I installed it and it's working great. This is clearly the upgrade I should have bought from the start!

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Lopburi
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RE: Dell XPS 13 2015 and Samsung 950 PRO m2 Upgrade

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@JASONDUNN

What kind of speed are you getting?

Thanks,

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