Hi. It’s been awhile but I’m still alive.
I am now attempting to replace the optical disk drive in my W530 with a solid state drive because of the following reasons:
- I didn’t have the budget to have an SSD installed at the factory.
- The button to open the CD tray gets accidentally knocked easily.
- USB disk readers are super cheap and available at any computer store.
- I haven’t used anything via CD nor DVD on this thing for years.
- I want to install Ubuntu on a separate drive without touching Windoze.
- SSDs are SANIC FAST.
So then I considered contacting IT Xchange again to see if they could help me out with the necessary parts. Apparently I needed to find the part numbers before I could order. It turned out there were at least 2 different P/Ns with similar names but different sizes, and they’re not available from the Lenovo site anymore. They also would need rubber rails to seat the thing which I couldn’t easily find available either. So basically I said eff it.
I came across NewmodeUS, a company in California specializing in hard drive caddies for laptops that have dedicated caddies inside. They had one for my W530 for around $45 that only needed 4 screws to secure a drive. It can be found here.
It seemed to have good reviews not only on their website but on Amazon and other sites as well, with legitimate questions being asked and answered. It seemed right for a 2.5″ drive, so I went with it.
It looked pretty cool, and seemed to fit inside my laptop, although the outer face stuck up from the laptop’s body by about 1 mm. I thought it was pretty okay, then played some video games waiting for the store to open so I could go in and pick up my SSD of choice: the Samsung 850 Pro, in 256 GB for $220.
The 850 Pro is a 2.5″ (actually 2.75″ irl) SSD and seems to be one of the fastest on the market right now. Its most innovating feature is that its NAND stack (memory cells. sorry I have no clue) is oriented in 3 dimensions as opposed to being confined in a plane. This relaxes the die size which means they can use an easier manufacturing process while still retaining reliability and speed of the current smallest dies. A more detailed review and explanation can be found here at ExtremeTech.
I ran home and unboxed the thing like I still believed in Santa Claus (SPOILER ALERT) and got to work. However, I hit a snag; I couldn’t get the drive in the caddy. There seemingly wasn’t enough room to slide the drive around into the connector, and there were a few mm of overhang as I pushed it in.
The drive needed 3 more mm of clearance to connect, but by that time the connector was creaking so I called it off. I then went for the 4 screws on the back to remove the floor and try inserting the drive from underneath, but they were stuck tight. I tried all of the other screws, but none of them would budge with the small screwdriver I had that would fit.
I sent NewmodeUS a (panicked) email asking for assistance, and they got back to me within a few hours (on a Saturday). Basically their response was, from the pics I sent, that I need to further insert it and the back end will drop in. Their installation video, which I already watched, showed someone simply pushing the drive into the slot with a clean snap. I was truly afraid I’d break something here.
Then, 2 hours later when taking more pictures to send them, I put the drOvO to the cadOO and J-J-J-JAMMED IT IN! And it… worked.
I emailed them back and apologised for being a baka. My next step was to actually install it and achieve the next level of ThinkPad swagger: dual drives.
I first grounded myself by clipping my anti-static wrist strap to the largest body of bare metal in the house: my floor vent.
I then powered off the laptop and took out the battery, not that its flimsy lock helped keep it in place anyway:
I then removed my Windows hard drive because I wanted zero possibility of mucking it up like I’ve done before in the past:
I popped in the new hard drive and its caddy, then was about to have a beer but decided against it because I was too tired and wanted to play with Linux. The only thing is that the hard drive activity indicator LED doesn’t come on, but after what I did to do it I’ll live.
I’ll have to finish pimping it out when some new parts I ordered come in.