Add a Second SSD to a Dell Latitude E5470 Laptop.

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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    8 Discussions

    0
    ats4603
    ats4603

    Question 6 weeks 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
    coryhamma
    coryhamma

    Answer 5 weeks 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!

    2
    lxnolan
    lxnolan

    7 weeks 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
    coryhamma
    coryhamma

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Great idea! I had no idea the PCB was so small within those cases.

    0
    lxnolan
    lxnolan

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I for to mention I wrapped insulation tape on it :)

    0
    paulonet2
    paulonet2

    Question 10 months ago on Step 11

    Thank you very much for your clear explanation. Did you encounter any cooling issue with the two memory units (m.2 and mSSD) installed so close one to another? If yes how did you overcome them? I read that, in particular, m.2 modules get quite hot. Many thanks.

    0
    coryhamma
    coryhamma

    Answer 5 weeks ago

    I didn't have an issue with cooling, but I also didn't exactly monitor it either. I no longer own the laptop, so I can't do much in the way of testing. Good question, though!

    1
    Kajtas
    Kajtas

    1 year ago on Step 11

    Hi! Thank you for your instructable. I'm about to buy a E5470 and was wondering if such modification is possible. Also, thank you for providing the Dell sata cable part number, it made searching for it super easy :)