How to add Second Hard Drive to Dell Latitude 5580 or 5590

Author:
phil
Created:
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
Last Updated:
Friday, January 04th, 2019

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The Dell Latitude 5580 and Dell Latitude 5590 are pretty decent business laptops for the money. Out of the box, they come with one of two options for hard drives, either an NVME M.2 PCI-E SSD option or a traditional 2.5" spindle drive.

What is unclear when you go to purchase one of these, is whether you can add a second hard drive to these laptops. The Dell service manual for both the Latitude 5580 and Latitude 5590, show how to remove and install each component separately and upon further inspection, you'll find that you in-fact, cannot have both the M.2 SSD slot AND traditional 2.5" drive bays occupied at the same time. The two drives overlap which means it's either one or the other.

That doesn't mean you can't add a second hard drive though! You actually CAN add a second hard drive as long as you get a little creative with it, but you don't have to get quite as creative as one guy on Reddit who chopped off the end of his 2.5" SSD drive. It worked for him, but I opened up a drive I had sitting around and the board was the full 2.5" length, so chopping the end of the drive would have destroyed the drive. You might have a drive lying around and get lucky with it, but seriously... There's a better way.

Cost

Overall, you'll be looking at roughly $35 for adapter and parts and anywhere from $100 - $350 (new) for a drive.

BIOS

First and foremost, I tested the BIOS on the 5590 (i assume the 5580 is the same) and the BIOS does indeed recognize both the M.2 NVME drive and a second drive also connected to the SATA port. Meaning, the BIOS fully supports both formats which lets you install a second drive. This is 90% of the battle. If the BIOS only recognized one or the other, we'd be completely out of luck. But we're in luck because it does recognize both.

Yes NVME; No Traditional 2.5"

Second, It is assumed you plan on having the M.2 NVME drive as your primary drive. You can NOT use a traditional 2.5" drive and expect it to fit. You will have to completely do away with the traditional 2.5" drive and caddie and pick up some special hardware to make it work (discussed below). If you have the cable for the 2.5" drive, you'll still need the cable. If you don't have the cable, you'll have to get one (details below).

NVME Adapter

Third, if you purchased the model with the 2.5" drive, you will have to hunt-down and source the special adapter & heat-sink in order to add the M.2 NVME drive. When you purchase the Latitude 5580 or Latitude 5590 with the regular 2.5" drive, it only comes with the 2.5" drive bay caddie and SATA cable. There's a special piece you have to pick up in order to install the NVME in the M.2 slot. Great thing is, they're available on eBay for around $20 or you can call Dell and pick it up for around $5 if you don't mind waiting 3 weeks to get it... (That's about how long it took for me to get it from Dell and they didn't send me any screws... Goobers... Make sure you ask Dell for screws!)

SATA Cable

Fourth, if you got the M.2 NVME SSD with the laptop, you will need the special SATA cable that attaches to the motherboard. They usually run around $12 on ebay. No idea how much they are through Dell.

SATA Adapter

Fifth, you'll have to purchase a special adapter card that will convert SATA to mSATA and you can't pick up just any ol' adapter card. You have to find one that is a "half length" card. They're available if you look in the right place and they aren't that expensive. $15 on Amazon, $5 on ebay.

mSATA Drive

Sixth, you'll need an mSATA drive. They usually range between 250GB to 1TB of storage which is probably plenty of space for most folks.

Disclaimer

I have tried the method I'm about to explain however it was not my computer, so I don't know of any issues that may arise due to longevity use.

Let's move on and dive into a bit more detail.

Dell M.2 NVME Adapter Info

The NVME adapter comes in two parts: The adapter that screws into the motherboard and the heat sink. You MUST have the adapter that connects to the motherboard, but the heat sink is optional.

If you need this adapter, I honestly suggest getting it through eBay because they most likely have the screws that go with it. If you go the cheap route like I did, you may not get the screws. I didn't think to ask for them so naturally... I didn't get them. If you go through Dell, MAKE SURE you tell them you need the screws too.

I went through a lot of channels to eventually get to the right folks at Dell, so unfortunately I don't have a good site or number to call. The invoice said it was through "Dell Outlet" and the guy I talked to on the phone was through "Dell Direct". Try Dell's outlet site and see if this gets you there quick: http://www.dell.com/us/dfb/p?cid=287780 (If the link doesn't work, just do a Google search for "Dell Outlet")

Screw Size: M2.0x3.0

Average Price USD: $20

The NVME Adapter

The Adapter part number is: 2FFR0

The adapter needs 2 screws. 1 to screw it into the motherboard casing, the second to hold down the NVME drive (and heat sink)

This part is REQUIRED in order to install the NVME drive. Otherwise, there's nothing to hold the drive down.

The NVME Heat Sink

The Heat sink part number is: X3DN4

The Heat sink requires 1 screw to fasten the metal plate to the motherboard casing.

I'm going to venture to say the heat sink is optional... You can probably get away without using it?? But... yeah. It's up to you. Seeing how you can get the bundle of both the adapter and heat sink for around $20... I just assume get the heat sink.

I probably shouldn't have, but I left the sticker on my 960 EVO I stuck in my Latitude 5590 and just let the heat sink compound sit on the sticker. If it breaks, it breaks ;-)

Dell SATA Adapter

If you purchased the laptop with the M.2 SSD already installed, then you'll probably need the SATA adapter that attaches to the motherboard.

SATA Adapter part number: 6NVFT

Average Price USD: $12

mSATA Half Length Adapter

Recommended Adapter

Alright... The next item you'll need is NOT a Dell piece. It is an aftermarket mSATA adapter. Like I mentioned before, not any ol' adapter will work. Many of the adapters are designed to fit within a 2.5" drive bay caddie, which is what we don't want because they won't fit.

Do a Google search for QNINE mSATA SSD Half Height adapter and it should pull up an Amazon listing. If that's gone, you might have to get a little creative. I've also found a bunch of them on Ebay under the search term "msata half adapter"

Average Price USD:
Amazon $15
Ebay $5

mSATA SSD Drive

Finally, you need an mSATA drive. I recommend the Samsung drives which are great drives and usually fairly priced.

Average Prices USD:
250 GB: $100 (new)
500 GB: $170 (new)
1TB: $330 (new)

You can find drives on Ebay for a pretty decent price. I've been watching older used 128GB and 256GB drives going for $30 - $60 respectively.

Adapter Size Comparison

Just to show the size difference between the adapter I recommended above and a 2.5" drive, I picked one up on Ebay for $5 and a 128GB msata drive for $30 ($35 total) so I could get a picture of how much smaller this setup is compared to a traditional 2.5" drive. As you can see, it's a HUGE size difference and will easily fit within the area of the 2.5" bay even though the NVME drive takes up part of it.

Securing The Adapter (and drive)

Unless you secure the adapter that holds the drive, it's loose within the drive bay. Thinking about it, a person could very easily pick up some Velcro and stick it on the bottom of the adapter and the other piece to the drive bay area. Problem solved. Hook-and-loop to the rescue!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, for not a whole lot of effort you can install a second drive in a Dell Latitude 5580 or Dell Latitude 5590. Since you'll be running the mSATA format, you get the ability to grow into decent storage sizes to accommodate your setup and it's really not that hard or expensive!

I hope I gave you enough direction to go out and feel comfortable enough to tackle this on your own and as always, if it works for you, shoot me a comment and let me know :-)

Dell 5590 Second Hard Drive Working Proof

I had access to the 5590 that caused me to write this blog (It's not my computer) and took some pics as proof to debunk some of the comments I received that it "doesn't work". The one pic I thought I got, but didn't because I was in a bit of a hurry, was the BIOS with the model. Oops... Believe me if you want, move on if you don't. I really don't care.

My blog write-up works perfectly on the Dell 5590 and the following are some pics to prove it. It should equally work on the 5580, however I don't have one to test and it's possible it won't work on the 5580, but from everything I've read and seen, it should work just fine. The two laptops are pretty much identical in hardware layout.

Final thing to note, This was tested against BIOS v1.2.3. As previously noted, I was in a hurry and unable to update the BIOS to the latest as of this writing which is 1.4.2. It's possible this fix has been blocked in a more recent update, however I find it hard that the Dell engineers would go to that much work... They don't get paid enough to "pay attention to detail".

Disclaimer: In one of the pics, I show the drives listed within the BIOS. It shows an empty M.2 SATA and M.2 SATA2 drive. This is more proof that the Dell techs are too lazy to remove (or block) devices from within the BIOS. These boards do NOT have M.2 SATA ports on them, yet the BIOS has the ability to recognize two of them. Technically, the M.2 slot is for NVME drives only and a M.2 SATA shouldn't work. Maybe there's some magic since the port is directly on the board where the BIOS will recognize both types of drives and route the Key M through the DMI and the Key E through the SATA controller. I dunno... (Keep in mind M.2 SATA is != mSATA)

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Comments

At my first attempt following the steps here, I notice my computer gets a bit hot in place where msata is found, not very hot, but still hot. With that heat, there is a high chance the msata will not last long. I put now a metal plate to connect the adapter with the HDD metal placeholder in the machine and used an extra screw and some metal wire to connect one of the msata adapter screws with one of the empty HDD screw places in machine. Since that, it is still a bit warm in msata place if I touch the machine down there, but much, much cooler that before.

Probably a good idea to get some cooling going for the msata. I don't have a lot of experience with msata cards to know if they get hotter than M.2 NVMe drives. Those don't usually do too bad, but I know those sometimes come with heat sinks too. Most of the drives I pick up are Samsung and they don't do too bad on heat in my experience.

Thanks for the share!

Unfortunately KO for my 5590.

I tried with Samsung EVO 970 NVMe 256GB + Samsung EVO 860 mSATA 1TB. When I add the mSATA, BIOS can't see the PCIe. I had BIOS 1.1.9 the first time I tried. Then I upgraded to 1.5.0 with same result. After read the comment where is specified the tested BIOS version, I downgraded to 1.2.3 but nothing change.

I tried also to tweak BIOS settings because I have SATA mode with RAIDon. Tried to switch back to AHCI mode : but the PCIe drive still does not appear when mSATA is connected. Maybe some other BIOS switch could be effective ? (obviously both SATA and PCIe settings in bios are checked).

In every cases the BIOS screen for me is different than in your screenshot (in every version i tested). When I insert the mSATA it is present the line "Primary Hard Drive" referred to mSATA, instead M.2 PCIe SSD-0 show "{none}" : there are no other M.2 SATA lines.

Finally I tried also a legacy 320GB HDD with SATA, as you request to other user : in this case again PCIe drive disappear and bios see only the SATA one and can boot from it.

Hope you could give us some suggestion : this is a very interesting option... please help us!! :D
Best regards

I'm honestly not sure what's going on with your setup Federico. Bummer deal. I'll agree that the SATA operation "shouldn't" matter, but you never know.

A few things to check:

1) Are the "Drives" all enabled? From the dell instruction manual:

Allows you to configure the SATA drives on board. All drives are enabled by default. The options are:
SATA-0
SATA-2
SATA-4
M.2 PCI-e SSD-0

These should have a check-box next to them. I think they're all on by default, but maybe you turned one off in the past thinking you didn't need them? I doubt this is it, but worth checking.

2) Secure Boot
Might try turning off Secure boot? I highly doubt this is it, but worth a try.

3) Reload BIOS Default
This may or may not do anything for you, but restoring the BIOS settings back to their defaults, might level it out so it will work with both drives. I know the instructions to get the msata going will work on the 5590, so it's just a matter of figuring out what needs to change to get it to work.

I have a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 - I removed it from its case and it fits inside of my 5580 no problem. The bottom cover goes on the 5580 with no problem. My machine came with the smaller 51Wh battery. Could I attach this internally in my machine? The Seagate uses a SATA-600 drive to USB 3.0 interface - could I not just use the 6NVFT SATA adapter cable you show above?

Here is what the inside of my machine looks like:
http://www.briangrahamglass.com/img/dell2.jpg
http://www.briangrahamglass.com/img/dell3.jpg
http://www.briangrahamglass.com/img/dell4.jpg
http://www.briangrahamglass.com/img/dell5.jpg
Here is my BIOS info:
http://www.briangrahamglass.com/img/dell1.jpg

Hi Brian,

As far as I can tell, getting the 6NVFT cable should work just fine with that hard drive. I'm surprised you have room in yours but if you went with the smaller battery, that makes sense. I'm 99% sure the 2.5" drive caddie won't fit even though you have the room, but if you manage to pick up the caddie with the cable and it fits, I'd be super impressed. It's been 6 months since I played with this in-hand, but I want to say the caddie would overlap in the NVME area, so the caddie wouldn't work even if you wanted it to :-/

I'm not sure how you would keep it from being loose inside there, but I'm betting some velcro would work just fine like I mention for the mSATA mod. It shouldn't hurt anything to put two strips down each side and call it good. If you get it going, let us know!

It was plug and play - works great! You are correct that the caddy mounting holes will not line up properly with the NVME installed. I mounted it in the caddy and removed the two tabs from the NVME end. It fits snugly under the back cover and does not move around at all. If it does start to wiggle I will add the velcro. It is so nice to have my 2tb hd under the hood.....thanks again for sharing this mod.

Glad to hear you got it working! Oh, and it's super cool you got the caddie to work ;-) So you've confirmed this is possible with the 5580, and I have confirmed it's possible with the 5590. So, both models have been confirmed. Now to figure out why other folks are having problems...

I just purchased the 2.5 caddy and cable set from fleabay for $15. I have been searching online to see if this was possible and was excited to run across your blog post. Thank you! I will check back once the parts show up.

I tried this and it works. (bios 1.6.x) Used the stated sata cable, Msata SSD but another bracket.

I used the SATA Adapter part number: 6NVFT to put an 256GB M2 SSD in. And working.

Preview: https://preview.ibb.co/i1HdKz/dual_HDDlatitude5580.jpg

Thanks

Thanks Quintus,

I picked up a similar adapter when I bought my "test" mSATA drive. I think it was out of a Toshiba or Lenovo or something, I don't remember. I just know that when I tested it prior to sticking it in the 5590, I couldn't get it to work at all. Either the adapter was specific to the laptop it came out of, or the adapter was actually bad. I dunno. Either way, cool to see you made it work with something other than the adapter I suggested!

In theory, any adapter will work as long as it will fit the drive bay OK. :-)

Got the adapter out of an old EOL Dell Latitude E7440. So it is Dell original. Had to adjust the adapterbracket a bit to fit in the Dell 5580 next to the other SSD.

I followed these exact instructions and had multiple conversations with Dell Tech. They ultimately went into the lab, popped in another hard drive, and said "Oops, the BIOS won't recognize a 2nd hard drive".

I find it hard to believe the BIOS won't recognize the second drive. This was the first thing I tested because you're right, if the BIOS won't see the second drive, it won't work. I confirmed that the bios on a 5590 was able to see both drives before committing to this article, so I'm not sure where the disconnect is.

That said, what model are you using? 5580 or 5590? What BIOS revision are you running? Did you make sure to enable both the SATA and NVME drive in the BIOS? Have you tried a traditional SSD or 2.5" spindle drive to see if the system sees the drive? Did you test the SATA drive by itself without the NVME drive? Have you tested the add-on card on another computer to make sure it's working?

There is only one reason the BIOS won't see the drive: Dell has explicitly built in a check that will disable one or the other if either is populated. The current PCH (chipset) generally has 24 PCIe lanes to work with which is overkill for a laptop and that means there are plenty of lanes to work with. It's more work for Dell to write in code to disable a drive if the other is populated so I find it really hard to believe that Dell would go to that much work since there's really no reason to.

Others have confirmed that a regular 2.5" SSD drive that has been cut with a bandsaw to fit the area, DOES work, so I'm thinking there's either an issue with your setup or the Dell techs are feeding you a line for their own liability reasons.

Thanks for your comments though John. It might help others who want to try this out and confirm one way or the other.

I'll try to get better confirmation myself in the coming months since I don't have direct access to the 5590 I setup, at this time. (Update: See 5590 Proof section above)