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#HACK 10 Easy Steps to Upgrade a Thinkpad Edge e220s With an Intel 310 mSata SSD

Intel 310 mSata SSD

Got a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge e220s? Want 20-second boot-ups and 5-second shutdowns, with blazing high-speed awesomeness in between? Then read on!

This weekend I upgraded my Lenovo Thinkpad Edge e220s laptop from a single 300Gig Seagate Momentus 7200RPM drive to a dual-drive setup with the OS & apps cloned to a new80Gig Intel mSata SSD. Since it was so incredibly easy, I've written up the mod below.

Here's what I did in 10 easy steps (YMMV):

  1. PREP: I bought the Msata, 80GB, Mlc, Oem for $150 on Amazon
  2. PREP: I reviewed pages 48 - 51 of the e220s Hardware Maintenance Manual
  3. PREP: I installed Seagate's DiscWizard software and Intel's SSD ToolBox
  4. PREP: I backed up the partitions I wanted to keep to an external USB HDD, then deleted all partitions I didn't want to clone
  5. UPGRADE: Per pages 48 - 51 of the e220s manual, I removed 2 case screws from the underside of the unit, then slid the keyboard forward and up with a small flat-head screwdriver. The manual suggests disconnecting the keyboard ribbon cables from the motherboard, but I found enough wiggle room that is wasn't necessary to do so.
  6. UPGRADE: I inserted the mSata SSD into the mini PCIe slot and secured it in place using 1 of the original case screws, closed the unit, and powered it on
  7. UPGRADE: I hit 'enter' to access the BIOS, verified that ACHI was enabled and that the new drive preceded the old in the boot order. Then I restarted the laptop. Windows 7 recognized the new SSD, installed drivers, then restarted again.
  8. SETUP: Using Seagate's DiscWizard, I cloned the old drive to the smaller using 'manual' and 'proportional clone' settings. This enabled DiscWizard to duplicate the hidden Windows System partition, Boot partition, and Lenovo's rescue partition to the SSD while scaling them proportionally to the smaller SSD capacity. This step required reboots, but took only 30 minutes to complete. When done, I chose to wipe the duplicate Lenovo  rescue partition from the new drive (since I kept it on the old drive), and then resized the Boot partition out to the end of the SSD (about 73 Gig total).
  9. SETUP: After rebooting, I wiped the original hidden Windows System partition and Boot partition from the old drive, created a new 286Gig 'data' partition in it's place, and then copied back all my data from the external USB HDD
  10. TWEAK: I then implemented most SSD-related tweaks found on the Lenovo forums here, and finally ran Intel's SSD Toolbox to verify all my work had taken effect.


Oh, and why did I do this? The long answer:

I've loved my Lenovo Thinkpad Edge e220s laptop since getting it last fall. It's small, light, quiet, fast, and has a terrific keyboard and display.  Like any good Thinkpad model (notice I didn't say 'all'), you can upgrade the e220s components to extend it's performance and usable life. Adding an SSD to the unit is a great way to do so. But why not buy it with an SSD out-of-the-box?

There was an SSD-based option at the time I bought originally bought my e220s, and the performance boost of an SSD drive was appealing at the time. But buying a laptop with an SSD main drive requires a premium price and offers far less storage than I needed, and there wasn't an OEM dual-drive option when I purchased. So I configured my e220s with a 300Gig Seagate Momentus 7200RPM mechanical drive. I then activated Windows 7's ReadyBoost feature using a 16Gig chip in laptop's SD slot for a noticeable above-average performance boost.

Over time, however, my desire for the dual-drive setup persisted. The unit ships with a mini-PCIe slot under the keyboard. Unless you install a WWAN card, or some other peripheral, that slot remains unused. So, um, why not put an SSD in it? You can also do this mod on the larger cousin of the e220s, the Thinkpad Edge e420s.

As a foot note, despite being a wonderful little laptop, a few weeks ago Lenovo began re-directing e220s buyers from its own website to resellers. And they seem to have removed the e220s listing from the top-level Edge line home page just today.

If you tried this mod, or want to but have questions, hit up the comments below. . .

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