Upgrading your mSATA SSD on the Thinkpad Twist

Got a 128GB mSATA SSD for my Thinkpad, as my cache read percent was consistently under 10%. Writing this post because I could not find any documentation online about replacing your mSATA SSD online.

So, a couple of things you need to know about replacing the mSATA SSD on your Thinkpad Twist

  • The cache partition has a limit of 32GB
  • You still need to set aside space (Size of your RAM + a bit more space[I gave it an extra 256MB]) for Intel Rapid Start Technology(RST) (The thing that makes Windows start up faster and recover from hibernate faster)
  • You can use the remaining space as a SSD

Steps to replace the mSATA SSD

  1. Buy a mSATA drive of your choice. Recommended size to make full use of the cache and Intel RST: 64GB, more if you want SSD space as well. I went with the ADATA XPG SX300.
  2. Delete the expresscache software from your computer
  3. Unscrew the 2 screws at the base of the laptop that has the keyboard logo beside it.
  4. Remove the keyboard by following the guide (http://schabby.de/lenovo-thinkpad-keyboard-removal/)[Caution! Do it slowly and don’t pull it out too hard]
  5. The mSATA slot is on the top left corner of the motherboard. Unscrew the screw that keeps the mSATA device down, and it will pop up.
  6. Extract the card out of the slot, and put in your new mSATA SSD into the mSATA slot.
  7. Put the hardware back together.
  8. Now the fun part. The installation of the drivers and making things work.
  9. Boot up your machine, and install expresscache available at http://download.lenovo.com/express/HT074404.html and install it. The Win7 and Win8 versions are the same. The installation will create a partition for the cache using whatever remaining space there is on the mSATA SSD up to 32GB. Reboot.
  10. To make it support Intel Rapid Start Technology, follow the guide over at http://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/rapid_start_technology_user_guide_v11.pdf
  11. And there you have it, your new mSATA SSD is now operational on your computer. If there’s extra space, you can create a simple volume using the Disk Management (Windows) software. [Win-x, and select Disk Management]


I am a Senior Engineer with Singapore Power, and have a passion for security and distributed systems. Prior to this, I have worked in companies including PayPal, 99.co, and Nugit. I also headed GeekcampSG from 2012 to 2014, and am currently focusing my free time on social empowerment initiatives including IAmTalentedSG, and CollaborateSG. When not doing work, or any of these stuff, I can be found cafe hopping/taking photos/trekking.

5 thoughts on “Upgrading your mSATA SSD on the Thinkpad Twist

  • June 29, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Hi, can I install fresh windows 8 on new installed msata SSD? I’d like to remove HDD and use my twist only with msata ssd drive without expresscache

    • June 29, 2013 at 9:30 am

      Hi, yes, you can do that, but it would make more sense to get an ssd instead, simply because an ssd is cheaper than msata ssd. you’ll have to set the msata disk as the boot drive in bios tho. Check if that option is available before doing it I guess.

  • October 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hi, I am just informing … maybe someone can find that info useful … I have completly reinstalled Windows yesterday on my msata drive and the system is running fantastic now! This is how I did it. I bought adata SX300 msata SSD 128 GB for 93€ (which is +8€ over classic 2,5″ SSD 128 GB Kingston V300 drive).

    1. First of all write down, print or just save your serial number license of your original Windows 8 ( you can find many programs on google that can find and read your serial number from windows)
    2. Remove 500 GB harddrive (it is not necessary but it can help to avoid problems when installing new windows), than replace lenovo(samsung) 24 GB msata SSD with a new one … This is really easy to do, just read lenovo manual
    3. Install latest Windows 8.1 … If you dont have acces to microsoft msdn than you have to find the install disc on google, like I did (look for the same edition as your windows 8 – mine is 64 bit core version) :). Dont worry about UEFI settings. I used my external dvd drive for installation, if you have time you can do the installation usb disc from iso (there is a simple program for that, but I dont remeber the name). When installation ask for serial number you have to google for it! as it wont take your original serial number which you have printed already … it wont take it for now :D
    4. When the instalation is finished, than you can go to activate your windows … just click activate, click change your serial number! use that one original you have printed and thats it! :D After installing drivers from lenovo site, you have finally fast system without other lenovo crapware. Then you can install your 500 GB HDD back if you wish or need more space, dont forget to set in bios first boot device your new msata drive.

  • July 5, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Great post. I do have a case slightly different from yours. I’d like to know whether I’d be able to repurpose the mSATA as a cache + storage drive if I have less than 64GB? The reason I ask because I’m looking to get a Twist as-is on a budget, so pretty low specs including a mechanical drive and only 24GB mSATA. What I’d like to do is dedicate only a portion of that space to Windows for caching, and use the rest of the space for booting my primary OS — Linux. If I got your post right, I’d pretty much just have to disable the caching, partition the mSATA to reserve the space (I’m looking at 16GB leaving 8GB), and then re-enable the caching so the software will pick up the 8GB to format as a cache partition. Note that this system would have only 4GB RAM.


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