Add or upgrade storage in the Lenovo Legion 5i 15 with our guide

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The Lenovo Legion 5i 15 is a formidable mid-range gaming option with plenty of features gamers will love. It also happens to have dual M.2 solid-state drive (SSD) slots, as well as space for a 2.5-inch SATA SSD. However, not all spots can be occupied at the same time. If you’re interested in upgrading your laptop’s storage after purchase, we have everything you need to know right here. Though we’re performing the operation on the Intel-based Legion 5i, it should be the same process for the AMD-powered Legion 5.

Hardware and software to get the job done

How to upgrade the main SSD in Lenovo’s Legion 5i 15

Note: Before beginning any upgrades on a PC, it’s a good idea to back up your data in the unlikely event something should go wrong. You’ll also want to ensure you’re not working in a static-filled environment since it can cause damage to a PC’s internal hardware. Consider investing in an anti-static wristband to avoid unnecessary damage.

Lenovo’s Legion 5i 15 is available in several different configurations to best fit your budget and needs. Baseline models usually ship with only an SSD, while more expensive options have both an M.2 PCIe SSD and a 2.5-inch SATA hard-disk drive (HDD). No matter what, the boot drive for Windows 10 will be the M.2 SSD for faster speeds.

The internals are laid out so that there’s always a spot for an M.2 SSD, whereas the secondary storage option must be either another M.2 PCIe SSD or a 2.5-inch solution (SSD or HDD). There’s no room for all three. Although a 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD is going to be cheaper for large storage sizes, we recommend upgrading with dual M.2 PCIe SSDs for better performance. Something like the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is an excellent option.

If you’re upgrading the M.2 SSD boot drive that shipped with the Legion 5i, you might want to invest in an SSD enclosure. This will allow you to connect the new SSD to the laptop and clone any data on the boot drive over to the new drive. For cloning we’ve had success with Macrium Reflect; we’ve even written a guide to get you through the cloning process.

If you’d rather replace the M.2 boot drive entirely without cloning any data, you can start fresh with a clean Windows 10 install once the upgrade is complete. There are some steps to take care of before you begin the SSD upgrade, so be sure to head over to our guide to a clean install of Windows 10 to see what’s required.

Once you’ve completed any cloning or have set yourself up for a clean installation of Windows 10, clear out a well-lit workspace and power down your Legion 5i 15 before proceeding with the steps below.

  1. Unscrew the 11 fasteners on the bottom of the laptop using a Phillips screwdriver. They back out entirely, so be sure you have a safe space to collect them. The four short screws go along the front of the chassis.

    Unscrew the fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  2. Pry up the bottom panel with a pry tool. Start along the front edge and work your way around to the back plastic vent portion. These can be tougher to get apart; work slowly to prevent damage.

    Pry up the bottom panel

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Unscrew the three fasteners on the aluminum shield covering the primary M.2 SSD.

    Unscrew the three fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Remove the aluminum shield.

    Remove the aluminum shield

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Unscrew the single fastener at the end of the M.2 SSD.

    Unscrew the single fastener

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Pull the old M.2 SSD away from the slot.

    Remove the SSD

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Insert the new M.2 SSD into the slot at about a 30-degree angle. Notice it is keyed and will only fit one way.

    Insert the new SSD

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Screw in the single fastener at the end of the new M.2 SSD.

    Screw in the single fastener

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Replace the aluminum shield above the SSD.

    Replace the shield

    Source: Windows Central

  10. Screw in the three fasteners for the shield.

    Screw in the three fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  11. Replace the bottom panel on the laptop. Apply pressure in one corner and work your way around until it is secured.

    Replace the bottom panel

    Source: Windows Central

  12. Screw in the 11 fasteners on the bottom of the laptop.

    Screw in the bottom fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

You can now go ahead with a fresh install of Windows 10 or, if you cloned the drive beforehand, you can boot up the PC to see if the upgrade went according to plan.

How to add a secondary SATA SSD to the Legion 5i 15

If you’re content with the boot drive in the Legion 5i 15 staying as it is, you can still add a second M.2 SSD or 2.5-inch SATA SSD for bonus storage. In a gaming laptop that deals with colossal game file sizes, this is especially important. The way the laptop is designed, you can either add an M.2 SSD or a 2.5-inch SATA SSD, so you need to choose before beginning the upgrade process. In this section, we will deal with adding a 2.5-inch SATA SSD. We recommend the Samsung 860 EVO as an excellent pick for a 2.5-inch SATA SSD.

If your laptop already has a secondary SSD and you want to keep the data, you can always go through with the same cloning process, as we explained in the preceding section. Once you’re ready to upgrade, clear out a well-lit area and power down your Legion 5i 15.

  1. Unscrew the 11 fasteners on the bottom of the laptop using a Phillips screwdriver. They back out entirely, so be sure you have a safe space to collect them. The four short screws go along the front of the chassis.

    Unscrew the fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  2. Pry up the bottom panel with a pry tool. Start along the front edge and work your way around to the back plastic vent portion. These can be tougher to get apart; work slowly to prevent damage.

    Pry up the bottom panel

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Unscrew the four fasteners holding the 2.5-inch enclosure in place.

    Unscrew the four fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Lift the 2.5-inch enclosure from its mounts. Be careful you do not harm the SATA connector.

    Lift the enclosure from its mounts

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Unplug the SATA connector from the enclosure.

    Unplug the SATA connector

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Remove the black filler or old SSD from the enclosure.

    Remove the old SSD

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Add the new 2.5-inch SATA SSD to the enclosure.

    Install the new SSD in the enclosure

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Plug the SATA connector into the new SSD. Notice it will only fit one way.

    Plug in the SATA connector

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Place the enclosure over its mounts.

    Place the enclosure on the mounts

    Source: Windows Central

  10. Screw in the four fasteners that hold the enclosure in place.

    Screw in the four fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  11. Replace the bottom panel on the laptop. Apply pressure in one corner and work your way around until it is secured.

    Replace the bottom panel

    Source: Windows Central

  12. Screw in the 11 fasteners on the bottom of the laptop.

    Screw in the bottom fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

You’re now free to boot up your PC to see if the upgrade went according to plan. If Windows 10 doesn’t recognize the drive, check out our guide to formatting new storage.

How to add a secondary M.2 SSD to the Legion 5i 15

If you’d rather add a secondary M.2 PCIe SSD to the Legion 5i 15, we recommend the Samsung 970 EVO Plus as an upgrade pick. This will remove the ability to add a 2.5-inch SATA SSD. Here’s how to add a second M.2 SSD by first removing the 2.5-inch SATA SSD enclosure.

  1. Unscrew the 11 fasteners on the bottom of the laptop using a Phillips screwdriver. They back out entirely, so be sure you have a safe space to collect them. The four short screws go along the front of the chassis.

    Unscrew the fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  2. Pry up the bottom panel with a pry tool. Start along the front edge and work your way around to the back plastic vent portion. These can be tougher to get apart; work slowly to prevent damage.

    Pry up the bottom panel

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Unscrew the four fasteners holding the 2.5-inch enclosure in place.

    Unscrew the four fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Lift the 2.5-inch enclosure from its mounts. Be careful you do not harm the SATA connector.

    Lift the enclosure from its mounts

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Lift the white release on the end of the SATA cable that’s attached to the motherboard.

    Lift the white release

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Unplug the SATA cable from the motherboard.

    Unplug the SATA cable

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Insert the secondary M.2 SSD into the slot at about a 30-degree angle. Notice it is keyed and will only fit one way.

    Insert the new SSD

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Screw in a single fastener at the end of the M.2 SSD.

    Screw in the single fastener

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Replace the bottom panel on the laptop. Apply pressure in one corner and work your way around until it is secured.

    Replace the bottom panel

    Source: Windows Central

  10. Screw in the 11 fasteners on the bottom of the laptop.

    Screw in the bottom fasteners

    Source: Windows Central

You’re now free to boot up your PC to see if the upgrade went according to plan. If Windows 10 doesn’t recognize the drive, check out our guide to formatting new storage.

Our top hardware and software picks

Our top pick for the best SSD for your laptop is Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus. It’s incredibly fast, it’s long-lasting, and it’s relatively cheap for the performance you’re getting.

Blazing SSD speeds



Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Unreal performance up to 1TB in size

Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus brings blistering read and write speeds, a competitive price, and a five-year warranty, which altogether is an impressive package. Sizes start at 250GB and go up to 2TB.

If you’re looking to add quantity over speed, a 2.5-inch SATA SSD like the Samsung 860 EVO will perform well and won’t cost as much.

Lenovo’s Legion 5i 15 is a solid mid-range gaming laptop with upgradeable RAM and storage. Be sure to check out our collection of best Windows laptops to see how it compares to other popular options.

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