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Chai88
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XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible

Can I use NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD on my XPS 8900? Windows 10 Latest Version. I want the fastest one. Could you reply to me if NVMe PCIe SSD are compatible with my XPS 8900? 

1. Samsung 970 EVO 250GB PCIe NVMe M.2 2280 SSD
2. Samsung 960 EVO Series PCIe NVMe M.2 internal SSD

Could you tell me step by step how to install the M.2 SSD as the boot drive?

Motherboard - Dell 0XJ8C4

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Re: XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible

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Martin B
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Re: XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible

NVMe SSD upgrade for Dell XPS 8900

 

I thought I would add to this post in case there is anyone else who, like me, wishes to give their XPS 8900 a mid-life upgrade by fitting an SSD system disk.  I used a Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe PCIe SSD.  The XPS 8900 motherboard will boot from an NVMe PCIe SSD, but I recommend updating to the latest UEFI BIOS first (2.4.0).  The 8900 M.2 NVMe motherboard slot is only PCIe x1, and so it is essential to use a PCIe add-in card for the new SSD in order to benefit from the full PCIe x4 speed.

I wanted to keep the existing 2GB HDD for data, and so did not wish to disturb its SSD cache acceleration (32GB SSD set up as RAID 0 with the HDD in Intel RST).  I therefore left RAID on in the BIOS, as an SSD is plug-and-play with RAID on using the native Windows 10 Intel RST driver.  The only downside is that you cannot use Samsung’s driver or Magician SSD management software (both require the BIOS to be set to ACHI), but in my view this is not an issue unless you are a demon gamer and wish to wring out every last drop of performance.

The procedure I used was as follows, derived from a number of different sources:

 

1. Backup the system in every way!
    - create & test a new Macrium Reflect Rescue CD
    - ensure you have a Windows 10 Recovery USB Drive
    - defrag HDD

2. Fit SSD card in PCIe slot:
    - Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe PCIe SSD on Lycom DT-120 add-in card
    - use slot 23 (or 24) on illustration in Dell Service Manual (both are actually wired x4)
    - depending upon clearance from graphics card fan (24 is tight)
    - (N.B. these slots are labelled 14 & 15 on the illustration posted in some other threads)

3. Clone HDD to SSD using Macrium Reflect:
    - Macrium Reflect > “Run as administrator”
    - N.B. disable antivirus & online backup first!
    - also disconnect from network & set power to “High Performance”
    - adjust OS (C: ) partition size, but keep partitions in the same order
    - (the contents of my HDD comfortably fitted onto the SSD, making this straightforward)
    - after cloning put text file on desktop of HDD that says “This is the old HDD”

4. Set BIOS (F2 just before Dell splash screen):
    - to make SSD the boot drive C: (boot drive is automatically assigned C: )
    > Settings > General > Boot Sequence
    > set SSD as 1st Boot device (i.e. above “Windows Boot Manager”)

5. Check system is booting from SSD:
    - desktop text message from 3 above (“This is the old HDD”) will not be there!
    - size of C: drive should be size of SSD
    - as shown in File Explorer, Disk Management (right-click Start), and Macrium Reflect

6. Run for a while to ensure all is well:
    - check TRIM is turned on for SSD
    - also turn on System Restore for SSD

7. Format HDD when sure SSD is OK:
    - use DISKPART from Command Prompt to clean HDD & remove EFI boot partition
    > re-initialise, format & name HDD 😧 as “DATA”
    - this will result in failure to boot!
    > run Macrium Fix Boot Problems from Rescue CD to re-create Boot Configuration Data
    > move data folders to HDD

 

This upgrade has resulted in a terrific increase in the speed and responsiveness of the system, with a much shorter boot time, and is highly recommended!

Vic384
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Re: XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible


@Martin B wrote:

The only downside is that you cannot use Samsung’s driver or Magician SSD management software (both require the BIOS to be set to ACHI), but in my view this is not an issue unless you are a demon gamer and wish to wring out every last drop of performance.

 


I think there are other downsides to not being able to use the Samsung Magician software. One downside is to update the SSD firmware. There is however a Samsung SSD firmware update utility but that utility also requires at least temporarily placing the SSD in AHCI mode. Another downside is over provisioning the SSD; not sure how to do this without Samsung Magician or how other manufacturers over provision their SSDs.

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Tesla1856
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Re: XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible


@Vic384 wrote:

Another downside is over provisioning the SSD; not sure how to do this without Samsung Magician or how other manufacturers over provision their SSDs.

You just leave some (raw, un-partitioned) space at end of SSD (usually about 10-20 gigs).


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
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Vic384
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Re: XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible


@Tesla1856 wrote:

@Vic384 wrote:

Another downside is over provisioning the SSD; not sure how to do this without Samsung Magician or how other manufacturers over provision their SSDs.

You just leave some (raw, un-partitioned) space at end of SSD (usually about 10-20 gigs).


True, and if you didn't plan ahead to do this, then you would have to use Disk Management to shrink a volume to create the unallocated space for over provisioning.

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Tesla1856
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Re: XPS 8900, M.2 SSD, upgrade compatible


@Vic384 wrote:

@Tesla1856 wrote:

@Vic384 wrote:

Another downside is over provisioning the SSD; not sure how to do this without Samsung Magician or how other manufacturers over provision their SSDs.

You just leave some (raw, un-partitioned) space at end of SSD (usually about 10-20 gigs).


True, and if you didn't plan ahead to do this, then you would have to use Disk Management to shrink a volume to create the unallocated space for over provisioning.


Correct.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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