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davidl11
1 Copper

XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?

I have an XPS 8900 that was shipped on July 24, 2016.  According to the system specification for my service tag, the boot drive is a 256GB M.2 (2280) Samsung SSD.  The computer also has a 2Tb platter drive.

I would like to replace the 256Gb SSD with either a 512Gb or 500Gb SSD and, of course, use it as the boot drive.  Ideally I would like to install a PCIe drive, which would be much faster than a SATA drive.  I am looking at one of the following:

SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2 2280 500GB PCIe Gen3. X4, NVMe 1.3 64L V-NAND 3-bit MLC Internal Solid State Dri...

SAMSUNG 970 PRO M.2 2280 512GB PCIe Gen3. X4, NVMe 1.3 64L V-NAND 2-bit MLC Internal Solid State Dri...

SAMSUNG 960 PRO M.2 512GB NVMe PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-V6P512BW

which I believe are all current production items.

I have read through all the many threads on this forum that appeared to relate to this topic, and I came away thoroughly confused as to whether any of these drives are compatible with my computer.  I think I have learned that I need a PCIe x4 slot and the Intel Z170 chipset on the motherboard.  I think I have the chipset but am not sure about the slot. 

In any event, this is all far beyond my technical competence, so perhaps the safest thing to do would be to buy a SSD SATA drive, install it in one of the empty bays, and use it as the boot drive.  If I did that, is there any problem with leaving the current SSD in place in the M.2 slot, reformatting it, and using it as a third hard drive (e.g., it would them be an excellent Photoshop scratch disk)?

Thanks for your help.

Best,

David

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6 Replies
dfhall
1 Nickel

Re: XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?

There is a lot of discussion of this topic on “Dell Community >  PCs & Accessories > > >Desktops >  Desktops General >  XPS 8900 M.2 Specs,” but it is apparently a closed forum.  Many report use of Samsung SSD models.

My XPS 8900, purchased from Costco in 3/2017, had a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth device plugged into the M.2 socket on the motherboard as delivered.  My current motherboard is one installed by a Dell technician in about March of 2018 because the original was diagnosed with a problem with the 8900 staying asleep.  (It may be identical to the original, as the replacement didn’t solve the problem.)

Yesterday, a Dell sales Rep. said in a chat that there is only one M.2 socket in my 8900 (based on its Service Tag No.).  She also agreed that an SSD that uses the PCIe bus can work in the M.2 bus socket, but it would act as a PCIe 3.0 x1 device, while such an SSD plugged into a PCIe 3.0 x4 adapter is required to obtain the full data transfer rate a PCIe-bus SSD can support.

Because I have a Dell gift card I asked about the availability of PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs and PCIe 3.0 x4 adapters available from Dell.  She told me that “VisionTek PRO - Solid state drive – 500 or 250 GB - internal - M.2 2280 - PCI Express 3.1 x4 (NVMe)” would work at x4 speed with the “StarTech.com x4 PCI Express to M.2 PCIe SSD Adapter Card - for M.2 NGFF SSD - interface adapter - M.2 Card - PCIe x4,” and that the SSDs would work in the motherboard M.2 socket at x1 speed.  (Some Dell Forum posters assert that the M.2 socket on the 8900 motherboard is SATA, not PCIe, but everyone seems to agree that PCIe x4 using an adapter card results in the fastest performance.)

The Rep. also pointed out that “Dell Serial ATA Solid State Hard Drive - 512 GB” is currently on sale for $170.  My understand is that the maximum data transfer speed of a SATA SSD is something like 5 times less than one using the PCIe x4 bus, but still faster than a conventional SATA spinning disk drive.

Can anyone report their experience using either of these VisionTek Pro SSDs, the StarTech adapter card, or the Dell SATA SSD (that I plan to use in a Dell OptiPlex 990)?

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?


@davidl11 wrote:

I have an XPS 8900 

the boot drive is a 256GB M.2 (2280) Samsung SSD


If you supply the exact model number, we can look-it-up and see if it's PCIe/NVMe or (slower) SATA. I think that would prove what you need.

If it  * IS * PCIe/NVMe ... I think any of those drives will work. The "Pro" drives have a different kind of flash-memory in them and will reportedly last longer ... or just take more writes before dipping-into the (reserved) Over-Provisioning area of the drive.


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speedstep
6 Thallium

Re: XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?

The pro versions are MLC and the non Pro versions are TLC.

SSD's with Both B and M keys ARE NOT PCI-E.

Write endurance of SSD's

MLC  10,000 - 100,000  Writes then dead.

TLC   1000 - 5000  Writes then dead.

There is a reason why they cost less.

 

 

m.2_keys.jpgNGFF M2 KEYING

 


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dfhall
1 Nickel

Re: XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?


@speedstep wrote:

The pro versions are MLC and the non Pro versions are TLC.

SSD's with Both B and M keys ARE NOT PCI-E.

Write endurance of SSD's

MLC  10,000 - 100,000  Writes then dead.

TLC   1000 - 5000  Writes then dead.

There is a reason why they cost less.

 

 

m.2_keys.jpgNGFF M2 KEYING

 


Can you comment on the endurance of SLC SSDs in general or on the VisionTech PRO line of SSD?

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doctorysg
1 Copper

Re: XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?

Here is what I did

Bought NVME SSD

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BN4NJ2J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bought PCIe x4 card (since the onboard M.2 is crippled)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FU9JS94/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Had to use my own screw to hold the M.2 in (the NVMe was about .5mm too long, so yours might work, But it is easy to use any machine screw).

Installed the PCIe into the open x4 Pcie Slot

Followed the directions at :

https://www.ghacks.net/2015/08/29/the-best-way-to-clone-a-hard-drive-least-time-consuming-error-pron...

(used the free version of macrium reflect)

For cloning the exiting 2TB drive (if you want a bootable, then do all 3 partitions. Not just the C drive)

Use F2 on boot of the Dell to change the boot order.

All of this was very easy, and probably only took me about 30 minutes of my time (the clone took 14 minutes additional) but then the 2TB disk was pretty empty

I get full 3500 Mb/s transfer rates according the samsung wizard app. 

Piece of cake!

 

 

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cordyc
1 Copper

Re: XPS 8900, compatible SSD's?

Just upgraded my XPS 8900 with a NVME WD Black ND750 SSD 1T.  It's now my boot drive and I can't believe how fast this is all running now.

I bought a PCIe card to install the gum stick M.2 on and it's sitting in that unused short 4X slot next to the graphics card. The card I bought still has room to run a SATA stick and is this one from Amazon Dual M.2 PCIE Adapter for SATA or PCIE NVMe SSD With advanced heat sink solution,M.2 SSD NVME (m key) or SATA (b key) 22110 2280 2260 2242 2230to PCI-e 3.0 x 4 Host Controller Expansion Card by YATENG

It was straight forward to install and I cloned my C: drive, shutdown, unplugged the SATA plug from the original boot drive and Window 10 took care of the rest.

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