[ltp] Thinkpad X301 SSD upgrade

linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 21:16:25 +0100

Hi Bjørn,

thank you so much for this hands on experience and information.
I'm in the very same situation, X301, 4 yrs old. I plan upgrading the SSD for quite long time, and was never sure, what to do. I think your solution is very convincing. 

Let me please ask you two more questions:
1. What kind of adapter did you use? Brand, model, etc.
2. How do you find out about Media_Wearout? Im on Linux x86 with tp_smapi

Thanks a lot,


-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 12:59:16 +0100
> Von: "Bjørn Mork" <bjorn@mork.no>
> An: linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
> Betreff: [ltp] Thinkpad X301 SSD upgrade

> Just upgraded the original SSD after starting to get nervous about the
> Media_Wearout_Indicator being 0 for a very long time.  I have no idea
> about the amount of data written to it, but it's a lot. So although I
> did not notice any failures I did not want to wait for it to happen any
> longer.
> The Power_On_Hours was more than 11000 hours and most of those would be
> *actively in use* hours.  After all, this SSD was more than 4 years old
> and used for both work and private purposes all that time.
> Now, considering that 1.8" form factor SSDs are pricey and the currently
> available models are all dated, I conluded that this is a dead end.
> However, many vendors have recently released mSATA SSDs with specs
> comparable to their 2.5" cousins.  Although the X301 cannot use these
> directly in any mini-PCIe slot (they need SATA signalling even if they
> look like mini-PCIe), there are simple adapters available to convert
> mSATA to 1.8" micro SATA (and of course 2.5" as well, but that is not
> interesting wrt the X301).
> So I decided to try the new 240GB Intel 525 SSD.  And it worked like a
> charm, like expected, for half the price of a 1.8" SSD using
> considerably older controller and storage technology.
> A few pics: http://www.mork.no/~bjorn/thinkpad-ssd/
> Some of the main advantages compared to the original SSD are
>  - 10x speed (mostly limited by the X301 SATA II 3Gbps interface)
>  - integrated AES-128 encryption, saving CPU (and thereby power) and
>    complexity by obsoleting LUKS + LVM
>  - TRIM support, enabling the firmware to keep the speed up
>  - significantly lower power consumption (even if we ignore the software
>    encryption mentioned above)
> And of course:  The Media_Wearout_Indicator is still at 100 :)
> Regarding the integrated encryption: There is not much information
> available regarding the 525 series yet, but reading
> http://vxlabs.com/2012/12/22/ssds-with-usable-built-in-hardware-based-full-disk-encryption/
> I decided that using it to replace LUKS was acceptable for my use,
> provided the SSD vendor understands how this should work. I.e. by using
> the ATA passwords set by the BIOS to encrypt the keys stored on the SSD.
> It is important to note that not all vendors do this.  Some will store
> unencrypted keys or passwords in "inaccessible" areas.
> Now I guess you still can read the password and/or decrypted key out of
> the controller RAM if you are able to access it while it is active, but
> that is difficult enough to be acceptable for me.  LUKS have the same
> problem, with slightly easier accessible RAM.
> Bjørn
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