Add a Second SSD to a Dell Latitude E5470 Laptop.

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Introduction: Add a Second SSD to a Dell Latitude E5470 Laptop.

About: I'm a hobbyist and DIYer at home, and an IT Director at a non-profit for work. I love repairing / repurposing electronics and computers. My wife and I love riding horses and driving nasty on closed courses.

This instructable is designed to apply to the E5470 laptop. If your laptop innards are similar, and you think you could achieve the same result, just post in the comments section. It would be great if this could apply to multiple laptops!

I plan to use this laptop for some intense workloads, and dual SSDs are necessary to achieve the performance necessary. Because these drives are not sharing bandwidth, you should see full speed support from both SSDs.

The laptop I'm using included a SSD from Dell. This means that the laptop was configured to use a PCIe SSD, and it has the correct bracket to support a SSD.

If your laptop did not include a SSD, you may need the bracket, which is Dell part number X3YR8, sold somewhere between $9-$12, and it shouldn't matter if it is used. You're going to physically modify this part, anyways.You will also need to purchase a PCIe SSD that is compatible with the laptop. You cannot fit a regular hard drive (HDD) and a SSD into the laptop using the method described here. This is only for dual SSDs, where one is a PCIe SSD attached using the Dell adapter.

Step 1: Prerequisite Parts

  1. Laptop
  2. mSATA SSD - note that this is specifically for mSATA connectors, not M.2 / NGFF / PCIe.
  3. mSATA to SATA adapter ($5-10 on eBay) Note that you need the right-angle one, as shown in the picture. Otherwise, the cable won't fit.
  4. Dell SATA cable, part 80RK8 or 080RK8 ($20ish on eBay)
  5. Electrical wire cutter or something similar to cut the plastic.
  6. Electrical tape, as found in your hardware store, usually under $1/roll.

Step 2: Take the Bottom Off the Laptop.

  1. Turn the laptop over.
  2. Loosen all the screws (the screws typically will stay attached to the base, but loosen them until you feel they are disconnected.
  3. Start by the dock connector, using a flathead screwdriver or guitar pick, Pry the base away from the laptop. There are catches all the way around which are designed to hold the base on - just keep gently wiggling/pulling until the bottom of the laptop is completely free. See (many videos) on YouTube for this process if you're uncertain.
  4. Disconnect the power cable by pulling up on its black plastic pull-tab.

Step 3: Remove Your Existing SSD, Temporarily

There is a screw at the base, remove it. The SSD will typically lift up slightly near where the screw was attached. Pull the SSD straight out and set it on an anti-static mat or bag.We will need it out of the way while we make a place for the new SSD.

Step 4: Attach the MSATA SSD to the "mSATA to SATA" Adapter

The adapter should have included 2 screws.

Step 5: Attach the SATA Cable to the MSATA Adapter, and the SATA Cable to the Motherboard.

This step is pretty self explanatory. Ignore the fact that the other SSD (PCIe that came with the Dell) is still in place. I was working on spacing when I took this picture.

Step 6: Check Spacing

In the picture, I have shown the PCIe SATA SSD along with the mSATA SSD (flipped over). You'll see how we have a bit of an overlap on this piece of plastic that is holding the PCIe SATA SSD in place. We will manually adjust that piece of plastic so that it meets our needs in the next step. If you bought the wrong mSATA to SATA adapter, this is where you cry.

Step 7: Get Ready to Mangle Your Bracket!

Here is where you use your wire cutter (or whatever you've got) to adjust the small PCIe bracket to accommodate our additional SSD. In the second picture, you can see where I made the first cut, and where I am making the second cut.

Step 8: Re-attach PCIe Bracket

You'll need to put the screw back in. Flip over that mSATA SSD so that it is aligned as mine is in the picture.

Step 9: Insulate the SSD From the PCIe SSD

Electrical tape works great for this. I just ran it over the edge to avoid scraping the PCIe SSD in case they touch.

Step 10: Reinstall PCIe SSD and Attach Critical Weight-bearing Electrical Tape

Because these are SSDs, I'm mostly concerned with making sure they don't get disconnected. If you're using this as a hockey puck, you should be using a ToughBook instead. Here you can see where I have taped down the mSATA SSD to the case. The PCIe SSD is back in place and barely touches (if at all) the mSATA SSD.

Re-attach the battery to the motherboard, which you disconnected in Step 1.

Re-attach the base cover of the laptop, reversing the process in Step 1. Make sure it is firmly attached before tightening screws.

Step 11: Install Your OS on the MSATA SSD

The Dell BIOS will boot ONCE to the PCIe SSD after you finish this debacle. Then, it will try to boot from the mSATA SSD and refuse to boot from the PCIe SSD.

Therefore ... install your operating system (Windows / Linux / FreeBSD / etc) on the mSATA SSD. You may need to make sure all the SATA drives are enabled in the BIOS. I had to enable 1 and 3 plus the PCIe SSD to make it work.

Enjoy!

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    41 Comments

    0
    ats4603
    ats4603

    Question 1 year ago

    Interesting post, just found it on Google. Couple of things...

    Isn't the original SSD in your laptop an M.2 SATA drive, not PCIe (mine is)?

    Regarding the last two paragraphs:

    The Dell BIOS will boot ONCE to the PCIe SSD after you finish this debacle. Then, it will try to boot from the mSATA SSD and refuse to boot from the PCIe SSD.
    Therefore ... install your operating system (Windows / Linux / FreeBSD / etc) on the mSATA SSD. You may need to make sure all the SATA drives are enabled in the BIOS. I had to enable 1 and 3 plus the PCIe SSD to make it work.

    Why does this happen? Can you put a different OS on each drive and choose which to boot (with F12)?

    Finally, do you have any experience of installing an SSD in the WWAN slot on an E5470? Some people say you can, others say not. If you've done it, did you use an M.2 SATA or M.2 PCIe drive?

    Thanks
    0
    macca_au
    macca_au

    Answer 1 year ago

    Hi ats4063, I have a Dell 5480, the next model, and have successfuuly installed a Trascend disk into the WWAN slot in the computer, it's a TS512GMTS400S.

    0
    ats4603
    ats4603

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi

    Interesting. I've been trying to get a Transcend M.2 SSD 430S to work in my E5470 - Dell tech support assure me it should work. However, long story short, the laptop does not recognise either the OEM Liteon SATA drive or the Transcend SATA drive in the WWAN slot; it recognises both in the "native" M.2 slot. Did you have to change any of the settings in BIOS to get your drive to work in the WWAN slot? [Please don't tell me you just plugged it in and it worked!!!] Are you able to boot from the drive in the WWAN slot?

    Thanks

    Andrew

    0
    constannteen
    constannteen

    Reply 3 months ago

    Hi. What is a CPU in your device? In my case it is i5-6200U 2.30GHz. System doesn't see any SSD in WWAN port.
    I found this www.dell.com..E5570-M2-2242-SSD-not-working-in-WWAN-slot :

    12-30-2020
    if the CPU is low voltage (i.e. xxxx-U), then the WWAN port will not recognise the SSD.
    if the CPU is normal voltage (i.e. xxxx-HQ), it can recognise.

    0
    macca_au
    macca_au

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi Andrew, the system recognised the drive without any issues. Unfortunately I couldn't get the system to boot from the WWAN port, despite hours of compiling various Win10 images and drivers, so resigned myself to using that port only as a data disk. Cheers.

    0
    ats4603
    ats4603

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi - thanks for that; I assume the drive in the WWAN slot didn't even show up in the "One time boot" menu (F12)? It's all a bit odd. Dell support assured me such a drive would be recognised and bootable, and I've been in contact with another chap who can boot his E5470 from a WWAN drive. Which doesn't help you or me! I think I'll have to resort to Plan B, and put the Transcend in an external USB 3 enclosure. Not ideal but at least I can use the drive.

    0
    macca_au
    macca_au

    Reply 1 year ago

    My problem, IIRC as it was over 2 years ago, was that the Win10 image needed configuring for drivers for the WWAN port, unfortunately I wasn't able to find the right ones so I couldn't build the Windows image in order to install on that port. Every few months my 5480 "loses" connection with the drive in the WWAN slot, neccesitating me removing and reinstalling it, so my setup isn't perfect!

    0
    ats4603
    ats4603

    Reply 1 year ago

    OK, thanks. I think I have more of a hardware/BIOS problem - the 5470 just never recognises a drive in the WWAN slot. Bit annoying really, having this second drive available (as Dell said it would be) was the main reason for buying the laptop from them...

    One last question if I may - did you install a drive in the manner described by coryhamma? Did that boot?

    Thanks

    Andrew

    0
    macca_au
    macca_au

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi Andrew, I did a temporary install in line with coryhamma's instructions, I have a msata to sata adaptor and spare msata unit, the system did recognise that additional drive but I haven't yet tried to set the new msata install up as a boot drive. In fact I'm going to go with Ixnolan's post below and cannibalise a Samsung SSD and try and set that up as he/she did to save having another adaptor and also to not have to modify the original PCIe drive caddy. That should give me 3 x drives in the 5480.

    0
    ats4603
    ats4603

    Reply 1 year ago

    Be interested to hear how that goes. I guess one could substitute an M.2-to-SATA adaptor for the mSATA-to-SATA one.

    0
    aryanitinkumar
    aryanitinkumar

    Reply 1 year ago

    I wonder why to use bulkier mSATA instead of a M.2? Accept my curiosity n ignorance but isn't M.2 much sleeker than mSATA so to occupy lesser space. Are there any other reservations on mSATA usage instead?

    0
    coryhamma
    coryhamma

    Answer 1 year ago

    I believe that the M.2 SSD that I put in the laptop was PCIe ... as I recall it was a LiteOn part, and I checked it to confirm the performance. I recall that I purchased that SSD specifically for this laptop. I bought the laptop used without any storage drives.

    I don't know why the BIOS chose to boot once to the PCIe SSD. I played around with the boot settings but didn't have the desire to reverse-engineer the Dell BIOS. My goal with this instructable was to describe this experience to others who might encounter these challenges trying to use multiple storage drives in this laptop. After the first boot ... it might have allowed you to manually select it, but I recall feeling unamused about the prospect of having to manually select the boot device every time. You'd have to try it yourself.

    I haven't installed any SSDs in the WWAN slot, so unfortunately I can't comment on that. If you do try this, please comment your results!

    0
    macca_au
    macca_au

    1 year ago

    Thanks corryhamma, most helpful! I've tried your suggestion on my 5480 and with a drive in the WWAN slot I can have 3 x drives in that unit :)

    0
    constannteen
    constannteen

    Reply 3 months ago

    Hi. What is a CPU in your device? In my case it is i5-6200U 2.30GHz. System doesn't see any SSD in WWAN port.
    I found this www.dell.com..E5570-M2-2242-SSD-not-working-in-WWAN-slot :

    12-30-2020
    if the CPU is low voltage (i.e. xxxx-U), then the WWAN port will not recognise the SSD.
    if the CPU is normal voltage (i.e. xxxx-HQ), it can recognise.

    0
    lxnolan
    lxnolan

    1 year ago

    This also works on a 5490.
    You can also bypass the msata to sata adapter by using a Samsung Evo 860 or 860 pro 512gb SSD and taking it out of the metal case, it's about a third of the size then.

    Samsung-512GB-860-PRO-teardown-12.jpgSamsung-512GB-860-PRO-teardown-7.jpg
    0
    macca_au
    macca_au

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks Ixnolan, put in a shucked Samsung 850 PRO 512GB and made it my boot disk, nice to be able to put 3 drives in a Latitude 5480 :)
    And the Samsung doesn't run hot.

    20200724_155552.jpg20200724_160113.jpg
    0
    constannteen
    constannteen

    Reply 3 months ago

    Hi. What is a CPU in your device? In my case it is i5-6200U 2.30GHz. System doesn't see any SSD in WWAN port.
    I found this www.dell.com..E5570-M2-2242-SSD-not-working-in-WWAN-slot :

    12-30-2020
    if the CPU is low voltage (i.e. xxxx-U), then the WWAN port will not recognise the SSD.
    if the CPU is normal voltage (i.e. xxxx-HQ), it can recognise.

    0
    OpiateSkittles
    OpiateSkittles

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hey there. I have an E5470 with an 850 Pro in it, and I'd like to do this mod. I have two questions. One, do you have the 850 Pro secured in there somehow, or insulated? And second, is that the regular stock Dell SATA cable?

    0
    Poly_Nerd Pagan
    Poly_Nerd Pagan

    Reply 1 year ago

    Three drives? Sounds totally awesome, to be honest...

    0
    Poly_Nerd Pagan
    Poly_Nerd Pagan

    Reply 1 year ago

    Definitely going to take SSD out. I've got a 2tb Samsung 860 Pro waiting to go, so... :-D