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
- mSATA SSD - note that this is specifically for mSATA connectors, not M.2 / NGFF / PCIe.
- 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.
- Dell SATA cable, part 80RK8 or 080RK8 ($20ish on eBay)
- Electrical wire cutter or something similar to cut the plastic.
- Electrical tape, as found in your hardware store, usually under $1/roll.
Step 2: Take the Bottom Off the Laptop.
- Turn the laptop over.
- Loosen all the screws (the screws typically will stay attached to the base, but loosen them until you feel they are disconnected.
- 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.
- 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.