There is a some inaccurate information on how to upgrade the Dell XPS 8900 SSD on the web, so I thought I would quickly write up my experience.
I’ve had my Dell XPS 8900 for a few years now and the primary storage is out of space. But other than that it is still a decent machine.
The XPS 8900 has an M.2 / SATA slot. So it is not a NVMe capable. More information can be found in the XPS 8900 Service Manual here.
My machine came with a Lite-On 256Gb drive and I have replaced it with a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO M.2 but there are other sizes which might suit you better.
I wanted to clone my existing SSD to the new drive and Samsung provide easy to use data migration software with their SSDs.
The problem is because the existing drive is in the internal m2 slot there is no way to clone the drive without additional hardware. So I also bought this external Transcend M.2 Drive Enclosure:
- M.2 SSD enclosure kit
- Lightweight yet durable aluminum construction
- CM80 enclosure is for Type 2242, 2260, and 2280 m.2 SSD
- All-inclusive package
- Usb Type-A and Type-C supported
I put the new Samsung SSD in the external enclosure and then connected it to the USB 3 port on the front of the Dell XPS 8900 and ran the transfer, it took about 40 minutes to finish.
Once it was complete I installed the new drive in the machine:
I put the original drive into the external enclosure to make use of it again.
Overall this is a quick and easy upgrade to perform., the most difficult part is sliding the graphics card out of the machine. Any m.2 sata SSD should work and there are cheaper options than the Samsung available.
Can you install an NVMe drive in the Dell XPS 8900?
The procedure above is quick and simple to do, but the performance of the SSD will be limited by the SATA interface. If you want the best performance from your XPS 8900 use an NVMe drive connected to a spare PCIe slot.
Although the XPS 8900 does not have an NVMe slot, it is capable of booting from one. I used this cheap NVME to PCIe 3.0 x4 Adapter from Amazon with a Samsung 970 PRO 512GB and got some impressive results:
Here is the benchmark results of the Samsung 860 on the internal M2 slot:
As you can see, the NVMe drive provides a huge performance increase over the SATA based M2 slot on the motherboard. The other advantage of this approach is that you do not need to remove the graphics card in order to install it, here is the card:
It also comes with a heatsink which I put on before putting it into the machine, below the graphics card:
This is a cheap and easy way to give a performance boost to an older machine, let me know your results if you try it.