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

Author:
phil
Created:
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
Last Updated:
Sunday, February 09th, 2020

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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 M.2 SSD (SATA or NVME) 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.

Prerequisite

As someone pointed out in the comments, the only prerequisite is a 4 core CPU. Apparently the 2 core CPUs won't allow you to run both the NVMe and SSD slots together... I did some quick searches to try to find out why this is, but came up empty so at this point I have to go by that comment to warn that: "If you have 2 core CPU, you'll need to upgrade it before the following will work." There might be more to it than this but keep in mind that lower end CPUs may not allow a 2-drive config to work.

Cost

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

M.2 SATA vs M.2 NVME

This section is a slight update from the original, to explain the difference between the M.2 SATA and M.2 NVME drives. I was under the impression that the laptops came with an M.2 NVME drive. I was sorely mistaken... It appears you can put either an M.2 SATA OR M.2 NVME drive in the M.2 slot and how you bought it from Dell can vary between these two drives. You might in fact have the M.2 SATA drive which is going to have to be replaced by a M.2 NVME drive.

Some folks were having problems getting two drives to work in their setup and it looks like it's all due to the types of drives being used in the M.2 slot. In order to get two drives to work, you MUST have a M.2 NVME drive in your M.2 slot, not an M.2 SATA drive. The main way you can tell if you have a M.2 SATA drive is to see if there are two notches. If you have 2 notches, you have the M.2 SATA drive. The bad news, you'll need to pick up a M.2 NVME drive (They're faster, so that's a bonus) The good news, you may have your second drive ready to go if you're happy with it's capacity and can manage to get it to fit with an adapter. (More on that in the M.2 Adapter section below)

Looking at the 5590 specs, I noticed that they apparently take both M.2 SATA and M.2 NVME drives in the M.2 slot. My past experience said that you can only use one, not the other but it looks like the 5590 has a controller that will recognize both types of drives if they are plugged into the M.2 slot. That said, if you have a M.2 SATA in the M.2 and use the adapter method described below, the M.2 slot drive will disappear because you're now sharing the same SATA slot with two SATA drives. The M.2 MUST be an M.2 NVME (pcie) drive.

Storage Specs
Dell 5580 Specs: SSD M.2 SATA / PCIe
Dell 5590 Specs: SSD M.2 2280 / M.2 2230 / PCIe NVMe

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. In the case of using M.2 SATA with an add-on SATA, you're out of luck...

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 "unless" you have the smaller MaH battery which will give you room for a 2.5" but you still can't secure it with the caddie because of the overlap problem. If you have the larger battery, 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 to make a second drive work. 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 either convert SATA to mSATA or SATA to M.2 SATA 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. If you go the M.2 SATA route, note that the adapter may not fit. If the M.2 SATA drive is the 2280 length, the adapter cards are every bit as long as a 2.5" drive which puts us back into the same original boat of overlapping drives. Maybe you can get it to fit? I know you can if you have the smaller battery as one guy posted in the comments.

mSATA / M.2 SATA Drive

Sixth, you'll need an mSATA drive or M.2 SATA drive. They usually range between 250GB to 1TB of storage which is probably plenty of space for most folks. If by chance your laptop already came with a M.2 SATA drive for the main drive, you can use this for your second drive and just pick up the adapter for it (assuming the adapter will fit). Also, mSATA drives are pretty well capped at 1TB on capacity due to their size. If you need more than 1TB, the M.2 SATA route might be better for you.

WWAN Port

tricon23 asked in the comments whether a M.2 SATA drive with the 2242 length will work in the WWAN slot. The WWAN port is the B Key slot, so it is possible the M.2 SATA will work. I originally thought the the WWAN port was the mSATA port spec but after looking more closely, it appears it is a B Key spec which means an M.2 SATA should in theory work.

Justin posted in the comments that he did get a chance to try it out and found that putting an M.2 SATA drive in the WWAN port, IS recognized by the BIOS so here's another potential for either an easier installation of a short M.2 SATA drive or the potential of a third drive. He only mentions that it shows up in the BIOS which should be enough for it to work properly, but if anyone wants to fully test and confirm this solution works, feel free to let us know. It is unknown if the WWAN port shares the same port as the regular SATA port, just like the primary long M.2. Usually two ports will share so it's pretty unlikely the WWAN port will share with anything else, but you never know... In other words, it needs to be tested if the M.2 SATA AND a drive in the regular SATA can both be used at the same time. Doing some additional research on using the WWAN port on various Dell laptops indicates that others have had success on this front as well. As far as length goes, I am fuzzy on the actual length of this port. I can't figure out if it's a 2242 or 2230... I'm going to lean towards the 2242, but be forewarned I have no idea. You will probably also need the screw to hold it down. One thought is to use some adhesive to hold the drive down if the port is 2242 and you end up with a 2230 drive. (Updated: 2019-07-08)

Batteries

From what I can tell, there are 3 types of batteries that can be installed in the 5590. I'm not sure about the 5580 and the 5591 has a larger 92Whr battery that is listed bringing the total up to 4 for the 5591. I have no idea if the larger 92 Whr battery can be installed in the 5590 or 5580 for that matter and this section isn't here to discuss that.

Here's a list of battery capacities:

  • 3-Cell 42Whr Battery
  • 3 Cell 51Whr Battery
  • 4 Cell 68Whr Battery
  • 6 Cell 92Whr Battery

A question was presented in the comments about using the 92Whr battery and still being able to utilize a second hard drive. I can only assume this is for the newer 5591 model. After looking at pictures of the installed 92Whr battery on a 5591, it will be tough to use the main SATA port for another hard drive, however it might still be possible if using a small adapter. I have a feeling though that the clearance won't be enough to put an adapter above the battery, next to the memory but if I were to install one that's where I would try to put it.

You'll just have to spend the money and test whether an adapter card will fit above the battery area using the traditional SATA cable and know going into it that there is a very slim chance it will fit. I honestly don't see it fitting. Maybe if you get creative enough with the adapter you might find one that will fit? I still doubt it though. See image: https://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadmin/Notebooks/Dell/Latitude_5591/P10...

Regarding the 5591, "Notebook Check" mentions:

As mentioned earlier, when the notebook is equipped with the large 6-cell 92 Wh battery, there is no 2.5-inch storage bay. According to the spec sheet, however, the Latitude 5591 also accepts M.2 2230 PCIe/NVMe SSDs up to a capacity of 256GB in the WWAN slot.

This is new to me at the time of this writing (2019/07/08) but it appears that the WWAN port has been changed up on the 5591 to accept M.2 SATA and NVME drives that are 2230 length. (Do they even make a 2230 NVME drive?? haven't needed one to look...) I also find it hard to believe that it will accept an NVME drive because that means the port has to be a 5-pin M Key. It's possible though. No idea without being able to look at it in person. The pictures look like it's a B-Key which means you're limited to an M.2 SATA B+M key.

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 the Latitude 5590 I worked on 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.

mSATA 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.

M.2 SATA Adapter

If you decide to go the M.2 SATA direction, look for the QNINE M.2 to SATA Adapter Card as a starting point. They're about $10 on Amazon but there's one catch: They're pretty long and may not fit in the 2.5" drive bay area. Since I don't have a computer to test it on, I can't say one way or the other. If your laptop came with the smaller battery, chances are pretty good that you'll have plenty of room but if you have the larger battery, you might end up with clearance problems going the M.2 SATA route.

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".

One thing you'll notice in the BIOS pic is the M.2 SATA and M.2 SATA2 ports. It has been confirmed that the M.2 slot can accept either an NVME OR M.2 SATA card. Why there is an M.2 SATA2 is beyond me since there is only a single M.2 port on these computers... Maybe the WWAN port shares with it? Dunno...

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Comments

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)

The 5590 I have has an NVMe/PCIe SSD in the M.2 Slot, I took an adapter just like yours and installed a 1TB M.2 Samsung and installed into the SATA port.

The BIOS states both drives are enabled

The BIOS - Does NOT detect the NVMe Drive when the SATA port is being used by the other drive.

The M.2 Drive is totally confirmed as NVMe/PCIe - so this is NOT a SATA Drive/Port conflict.

I found this blog after I was researching my issue as I have heard in the past the SATA Slot can sometimes impact the M.2 Slot, however I really only have EVER seen that when using a SATA drive in the M.2 Slot...

BIOS updated and back-reved - with no luck.