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August 29th, 2022 21:00

XPS 8940, upgrade M.2 SSD from 256GB to 1TB

My XPS 8940 currently has a C: M.2 SSD Boot Drive: NVMe BC511 NVMe SK Hynix 256 GB boot drive and 2 TB SATA storage drive. My C: drive is full, so I want to upgrade it to a 1 TB M.2 SSD. 

A few Questions:

1. What M.2 SSD 1 TB Manufacturer P/N is compatible for this upgrade and what is most recommended?

2. How do I go about cloning my existing 256 GB boot drive to the new 1 TB SSD? I have Acronis True Image. Will that work for doing the clone? Or is there another utility that works better for this purpose?

3. Do I need a USB adapter to hold the new SSD while it is being written?

4 Operator

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2.1K Posts

August 30th, 2022 05:00

Samsung 970 Evo plus 

Macrium Reflect (free) 

It will be much easier with an external adapter for the new M.2 SSD.

4 Operator

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3.2K Posts

August 30th, 2022 06:00

@the bbdude If you get the Samsung drive, Samsung offers Samsung Data Migration as a free download for cloning disks. 

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August 30th, 2022 08:00

Thanks for your response ProfessorWood and Vic384. I looked at the Amazon link for the Samsung 970 Evo Plus. Just so I'm understanding, this SSD appears to be about twice as long as the BC511 NVMe SK Hynix 256 GB I currently have installed. I assume it fits and I just use the 2nd, longer-space screw hole for mounting it on the motherboard, correct?

Also, can you recommend an adapter for connecting the new SSD while it is being programmed?

Thanks

4 Operator

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2.1K Posts

August 30th, 2022 12:00

You must have a M.2 2230 (30mm) and the 970 Evo Plus is M.2 2280 (80mm).

something like this M.2 external adapter M-Key 

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August 30th, 2022 13:00

Thanks Zinc. I have looked at a number of other threads in this forum on this subject. A couple of issues have been brought-up. Some say these are issues some say not:

1. Would the adapter you linked-to above be able to recognize the 970 Evo Plus as a Samsung SSD and if not is that a problem? Can I still use the Samsung Data Migration S/W regardless?

2. A couple of these other threads state the need to change the SSD configuration to not be RAID. Is this necessary?

 

4 Operator

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3.2K Posts

August 30th, 2022 14:00

@the bbdude 

1. I suggest you look at the Data Migration User Manual (free download). It states, "When connecting an NVMe or M.2 SSD, you may need an additional M.2 PCIe/USB converter(connector).".This statement makes it appear that an adapter is not a problem.

2. Changing SATA operation from RAID to AHCI is recommended. There are reasons for this, first Samsung's NVMe Driver requires AHCI and second, Samsung Magician software requires AHCI. A precaution in the Data Migration User Manual states that you should install Samsung NVMe Driver first, although I believe some folks in this forum have been successful using the drive with the Windows driver. Here is the procedure for switching the Windows installation from RAID to AHCI: http://triplescomputers.com/blog/uncategorized/solution-switch-windows-10-from-raidide-to-ahci-operation/

Note that the BIOS change from RAID to  AHCI is not made until step 4.

I usually recommend the following order 1) clone to the new drive, 2) remove the old drive and install the new drive, 3) switch RAID to AHCI, and 4) install Samsung drivers and software. This order avoids risks by making no changes to the old drive. I know this order of doing things does not follow Samsung's recommendations, but folks seem to have gotten Samsung drives to work in RAID and with Windows drivers. I think a lot of folks don't bother to read the manuals.

 

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August 30th, 2022 17:00

Thanks for all the great info Vic384. I wonder why Dell had the stock SSD setup for RAID anyway? 

8 Wizard

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17K Posts

August 30th, 2022 17:00


@the bbdude wrote:

I wonder why Dell had the stock SSD setup for RAID anyway? 


No official word from Dell, but we have all discussed it before in other threads.

Everyone knows that Dell is in tight with Intel (who develop the matching Intel-RST ... like 10 years ago). In the days of spinning HDD (and no full-sized SSDs) the small caching SATA-based SSD was a thing. This way, all Dell's can be software imaged the same way at factory. 

My testing revealed little to no performance increases of "single-disk RAID" and AHCI ... on SATA-based systems.

However, now that NVMe SSDs have become the norm, we are seeing some disk-transfer speed increases with single-disk RAID and Intel's new VMD software; Intel Optane Memory and Storage Management. But most of my systems are AHCI.

8 Wizard

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17K Posts

August 30th, 2022 17:00


@the bbdude wrote:

My XPS 8940 currently has a C: M.2 SSD Boot Drive: NVMe BC511 NVMe SK Hynix 256 GB boot drive and 2 TB SATA storage drive. My C: drive is full, so I want to upgrade it to a 1 TB M.2 SSD. 

Likely, no additional hardware or adapters are required.

You can use Macrium Reflect to create a Image file of your existing C drive (I like to create with Verify After Writing option enabled) . Swap SSD's. Boot with the Macrium Recovery Flash-Drive and Restore it.

It might fit on the 2 TB SATA storage drive. If not, save it to an external USB drive.

This should work (if really in a hurry). Personally, I would use this as an opportunity to clean-install Windows-11, and build it back-up real quick.

Doing this, you get to shed-away all existing Dell software and all those weird recovery partitions. You can also Over-Provision the SSD (10% free space at the end) for better reliability and long-life.

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43 Posts

August 30th, 2022 20:00

Ok Tesla1856 interesting points to consider. I think I am understanding that with the 970 Evo Plus in an XPS 8940 that changing operation from RAID to AHCI is the only option (or maybe the best option if using Samsung drivers -- which would be needed to achieve highest SSD performance). Have I got that right?

8 Wizard

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17K Posts

August 31st, 2022 08:00


@the bbdude wrote:

Ok Tesla1856 interesting points to consider. I think I am understanding that with the 970 Evo Plus in an XPS 8940 that changing operation from RAID to AHCI is the only option (or maybe the best option if using Samsung drivers -- which would be needed to achieve highest SSD performance). Have I got that right?


If you are going to take this opportunity to clean install Windows (either Windows-10 or Windows-11) ... yes, I would switch BIOS to AHCI and shed-away any dependence on Intel-RST . It will also allow you to use Samsung Magician SSD software on your new drive.

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43 Posts

August 31st, 2022 22:00

Ok I ordered the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1 TB NVMe M.2 SSD and the SSK SSD USB Enclosure from Amazon. Received them today. Installed the SSD into the USB Enclosure, ran the Samsung Data Migration, cloned my C: 256 GB SSD to the new 1 TB SSD, installed the new 1 TB into my XPS 8940, rebooted and everything came up fine now with a 1 TB SSD for the C: boot drive.

Guess at that point, I should have quit while I was ahead, but I went ahead and tried the RAID -> AHCI procedure recommended by Vic384. I made the BIOS setting to change SATA from RAID to AHCI. Went to reboot, and got stuck in a infinite "Starting" loop but the system never was able to start Windows. Had to go back into BIOS and change the SATA setting back to RAID. Now it once again boots-up fine with the new 1 TB M.2 SSD.

One thing that was not clear to me is why would I want to change the SATA mode anyway? What does that have to do with an M.2 SSD?

4 Operator

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2.1K Posts

September 1st, 2022 05:00

If I followed the story correctly, your Samsung drivers will not install in RAID mode . . . so your 970 M.2 SSD is using Windows drivers. I'm not sure how much that matters.

4 Operator

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3.2K Posts

September 1st, 2022 07:00

@the bbdude I am not sure why the RAID to AHCI procedure failed and why you could just undo the procedure by only changing the BIOS setting back to RAID.

The SATA mode has to do with the Samsung NVMe driver and the Samsung Magician software wanting SATA mode to be AHCI. As for M.2 SSD, I don't know of any requirement for SATA mode. Some manufacturers recommend AHCI while others do not state a preference. 

4 Operator

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2.1K Posts

September 1st, 2022 08:00

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