Inside the Lenovo ThinkPad E550 – disassembly, internal photos and upgrade options

Lenovo ThinkPad E550’s casing offers relatively easy and fast upgrade options, but it lacks one really important storage option – the m.2 SATA slot. It’s strange that Lenovo didn’t include it in the newer model since the E540 did have one of those. However, we hope that Lenovo will start selling models with m.2 SATA in the near future, because we found that the motherboard just lacks the soldered slot and also the chassis has one special spot for it.

1. Opening the back

The back of the laptop is quite easy to access, especially since you have two covers and just three screws keeping them in place. By removing the bigger one, you will have access to the RAM chips, HDD and the Wi-Fi module. The HDD is kept firmly in place by two brackets with four screws.


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This photo shows the empty space in which the m.2 SATA slot should go.

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2. Opening the smaller cover

Right next to the big one a smaller cover hides the half of the eventual m.2 SATA SSD and the 3G module for the SIM card, which in this model isn’t available, but once again there is enough space for it. It is quite possible that Lenovo will release models which support both 3G connectivity and m.2 SATA SSD slots.

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3. Replacing the optical drive with an HDD or SSD

On the photo below you can see the empty space in which the optical drive goes. If you are unsatisfied by Lenovo’s decision of removing the m.2 SATA slot, you can compensate with another SSD or HDD, but only if you are willing to replace the optical drive.

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4. Accessing the cooling system and motherboard

This one is pretty tricky. Unlike most laptops, the ThinkPad E550 is really hard to disassemble completely. Removing the whole bottom of the notebook won’t work – you will also need to remove the keyboard with some unscrewing and a plastic tool to pop it out. Under the keys you will find several screws which keep the motherboard in place. There’s also the cooling fan, so if you ever need to clean your internals from dust, we strongly recommend giving it to a technician.


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Stay tuned for the full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad E550 and see how the chassis handles bigger loads and high temperatures.

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Spandan
Spandan
7 years ago

Helllo Rossen,
I’m thinking of buying this model, but the absence M.2 slot is holding me back, do you think soldering an aftermarket M.2 socket will work??

Spandan
Spandan
7 years ago
Reply to  Rossen Pandev

thanks for the info…

schmaud
schmaud
7 years ago

Hallo, does the system accept 9mm HDDs or is it limited to 7.5mm?

Thanks!

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

I am considering buying this laptop, could you please give a link to a specific product (or instead the general specifications) that an OpticalDrive-To-SSDHolder replacement device must have?

Will it be difficult to susbstitute the optical drive? Any hint you consider worth giving?

Thanks in advance.

Amir
Amir
7 years ago

Hi Alex, look at this one, it looks quite easy to replace the optical drive with a secondary hard drive
http://hddcaddy.com/en/lenovo-ibm-hdd-caddy/1143-lenovo-thinkpad-edge-e550-hdd-caddy.html

Lee Neufeld
6 years ago

Is it possible to upgrade the video card on this laptop?

Maxmillian urio
Maxmillian urio
1 year ago

can you upgrade the CPU from intel core i3 to intel core i5 or i7?

Tyrone
Tyrone
1 year ago

I am also wondering the same thing. Anybody able to answer this?

Susheel
Susheel
1 year ago

Is the only possible ssd upgrade option 2.5 SATA. is there a PCIe option ?