Adding a Second NVMe SSD to a Lenovo ThinkPad X280 Using the WWAN Slot

Adding a Second NVMe SSD to a Lenovo ThinkPad X280 Using the WWAN Slot

I recently got myself a new portable laptop for running Kali Linux on, I’d been looking for something to use as a small dedicated pentesting laptop for a while and a co-worker recently got themselves an X270 and I instantly fell in love with the size and build. I’ve owned various ThinkPads over the years, T450, T470, T480 and finally a T580 which was WAY too big for me.

Whilst the X280 is missing a few ThinkPad features that I often look for (removable battery being the key one!) it also only had a single m.2 slot for a PCIe NVMe SSD. However one upgrade I did with my T580 was to add a second one into the m.2 WWAN slot.

Eager to get Windows installed on one drive and Kali installed on another, I ripped the m.2 out of my T580’s WWAN slot and threw it into the X280. Alas it wasn’t detected, as far as I can tell via some Googling, the X280 can only use a PCIe NVMe drive that uses 2 x PCIe lanes. Now I don’t know enough about PCIe to say “Yes or No” to this statement or even know if it’s true, however the NVMe that I had didn’t work.

So I did some more Googling and kept coming back to a Western Digital SN520 drive. Only problem was these aren’t sold new anymore, so I took to eBay and managed to hunt one down.


Once that landed it was time to rip the laptop apart and get it fitted!

Removing the bottom cover is a fairly simple process, this is one of the nicer Lenovos as far as removal goes actually, it’s literally 5 screws, no plastic to pry, no ports to try and get the cover over etc. Simply loosen the screws highlighted below and you’re good to go!

After removing the back panel the WWAN slot is located just to the left of the WLAN / Wireless card highlighted below

Installing the drive is a doddle, there’s already a screw in the post so simply remove that first and then slot in and screw down your new NVMe SSD.

And that’s it, you’ll need to ensure that the WWAN slot is enabled in your BIOS settings (I believe it is by default) and then you should be good to go!

I got Kali installed on mine and Windows installed on the primary.

As I mentioned I had a bit of a tough time tracking down the WD SN520 drive but it’s the only one I could confirm as working. Good luck and have fun! If you have any questions you can reach out to me via Twitter @PanicAcid

Thanks for reading!