Adding a second SSD to my Lenovo Yoga & 8GB RAM

Over the weekend, I upgraded my Lenovo Yoga ultrabook/tablet to 8GB RAM and added a second SSD hard drive.  First, I must give credit where credit is due.  I watched this great video on YouTube that demonstrated how to do it all.

Video demonstration of second SSD install

The following was my experience, and I had a bit of difficulty in a few areas.  First, in December, I purchased a Lenovo Yoga 13 from Best Buy for $999 + tax.  I looked at Amazon, and Lenovo.com, but Best Buy had them for the same price and ready to go.  The i7 machines were on back-order, so I took a chance on the Core i5.  I have not been disappointed, actually (and I run LOTS of stuff).  The base model had 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD.  This laptop is super-thin, and coming from an Apple Retina MacBook Pro, I can say with a straight face that I love this laptop way more than the Apple.  First, if you are going to run Windows (which I do), this thing does it better.  And it’s a touch screen.  And it’s a tablet convertible.  And it’s light.  And it’s thin.  And the battery lasts all day for me.

What we are going to do here is upgrade the RAM to 8GB and add a second SSD hard drive.  The parts I purchased are 1) Crucial m4 256GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT256M4SSD3 & 2) Crucial Single 8GB DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) Notebook Module, CT102464BF160B.  As I write this blog post, I have both installed into the computer, and they are working great.  I bought both from Amazon, and they arrived pretty quick.

Taking the keyboard off

IMG_0400

I used a razor blade to carefully pull up the top right corer of the keyboard.  There is double-stick tape under both corners, and there are small plastic catches across the top of the keyboard frame.  IMG_0402Use something small, like a straight-head computer screw-driver to pull the top edge of the keyboard up just slightly.  Don’t pull up, just release the catches.  Then, as you see in the image to the right, you need to slide the keyboard up and toward the screen.  There are several slides that will slide in the same direction.  After you have slid the keyboard up, it will be completely released.  Watch out for the cable.

Replacing the RAM

IMG_0403IMG_0404This is the easy part because if you have ever done it on any computer before, it’s exactly the same.  The picture on the left shows the keyboard flipped upside down.  I don’t have to detach the keyboard for the RAM upgrade.  The picture on the right shows the RAM and the SSD.  Note that the RAM is 1600 MT/s, and the SSD is a 1.8” chip mSATA drive.  This is my first time using a hard drive that is the same size as my camera’s compact flash memory chip.  It’s amazing.  Everything is now a computer chip, and the fan is now the only moving part.  Next, they will just figure out how to induce air flow, and then there will be no moving parts at all!

Installing the second SSD

IMG_0405

IMG_0417In order to get to the slot for the second SSD (or the first), you will need to separate the top of the case from the bottom.  The first step is to remove the keyboard ribbon cable.  This is a very delicate cable.  The black catch holds the cable in place.  Use a small screwdriver to flip it up.  Then, with the tiny screwdriver, ease it away using the side tabs.  I took care not to touch anything metal.  Then, take out all the black screws on the top that hold the aluminum plate down to the motherboard.  After this step, nothing will be lose.  Turn it over and using a T5 TORX screwdriver, take out all the screws on the under-side of the computer.  I had to go to buy a T5 TORX driver because I didn’t have one.

IMG_0420

IMG_0421With all the screws out, I started at the bottom right corner and pulled the case apart.  Magnets hold this part together.  There is plastic catches along the side, so you just have to give it a tug.  Don’t separate it too far because there are two cables still connected.  These do not have to be removed to install the SSD.  Notice that the second hard drive bay is right next to the power plug.  You can’t see it in this picture, but the primary hard drive “bay” is just to the left of the photo frame. I was able to twist the frame a bit to install the new SSD.  Just like RAM, you insert it at a slight angle and make sure it is fully seated.  My mSATA drive came with two screws.  I only had to use one of them to keep it down.

Performance

image

The Yoga has a built-in GPU, but I don’t do gaming, so I wasn’t concerned about this.  The RAM turned out to be faster than the one provided.  Here were my scores before the upgrade.

image

Moving files to the new drive

The reason I needed a new drive was because I was out of disk space.  Literally.  With Visual Studio (and add-ons), SQL Server, lots of GIT and HG repositories, I didn’t have much space left.  I was already using a 64GB SD card in the external slot for glacial-speed extra storage.  I immediately moved my Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, and Videos folders to this new drive, along with my working folder for code repositories.

image

As you can see, I chose the B: drive for the new guy.  I was pretty sure I would not be connecting more than one floppy disk in the future, and some older software has some hard-coded weirdness around the A: drive, so I ignore that letter.

imageHow did I move these things, you ask?  With a few clicks.  When you right click on c:\users\YOU\My Documents, and go to properties, you can get here and move it.  Windows will automatically copy all your stuff. 

This isn’t so easy with the SkyDrive and Google Drive folders.  I may have to reinstall them!  I don’t know yet.

Another tip on drive space is that Lenovo has a hotfix for the wonky default partitioning of the main drive.  I was able to capture 6GB storage back after running this tool that sucks free space from the recovery and driver partitions. Get it here.

 

Conclusion

I love the YOGA, and I am so impressed that it is expandable in this way.  And with USB 3.0, it is expandable externally as well.  See my previous post for how I have a 2 monitor desk workstation powered by the Yoga.