8 tips for installing an SSD

SSD storage space is faster, more economical and quieter than a conventional hard drive and in most cases it is a piece of cake to build in an SSD yourself. You do need to know what to look for when purchasing.

Tip 01: Why SSD

A Solid State Drive is a type of storage space that offers some major advantages over a traditional hard drive. First of all, an SSD is much faster than a normal hard disk (HDD or Hard Disk Drive). Where a normal hard drive has a moving head to read and write data, an SSD contains no moving parts. Also read: Switching to an SSD

An SSD is also a lot lighter and smaller than a normal hard drive and this is also the reason why newer laptops almost always have an SSD built in.

Almost every SSD today uses so-called NAND flash memory. Flash memory has been around for a long time, since 1984 it has been used in, for example, USB drives, smartphones and digital cameras. An additional advantage of the lack of moving parts is that an SSD is also very quiet and consumes less power. The biggest disadvantage of an SSD has always been the price, but luckily the prices per gigabyte have fallen sharply in recent years and you really have no reason not to opt for an SSD.

Tip 02: 2.5 or 3.5 inches

Not every SSD is suitable for every PC. With traditional hard drives, you can choose from two sizes: 2.5 inches for laptops and 3.5 inches for desktop PCs. SSDs are almost exclusively available in the 2.5-inch format. To be able to place an SSD in a 3.5-inch slot, you need an adapter. These often cost less than a tenner and some can even accommodate two 2.5-inch drives.

Tip 03: SATA

Modern SSDs have a SATA3.0 connection, which means that the throughput is a maximum of 6 Gbit per second. The actual throughput is slightly lower, namely 4.8 Gbit/s. This corresponds to 600 MB per second. The terms 6 Gbit/s and 600 MB/s (megabyte) are therefore used interchangeably and both mean that the drive has a SATA 3.0 connection, more than enough for normal use. If you buy a used SSD, it may only have a SATA 2.0 or even SATA 1.0 connection.

This is quite a difference: SATA 2.0 has a speed of 300 MB/s, SATA 1.0 a speed of 150 MB/s. The maximum read and write speed can fluctuate by manufacturer, most are around 550MB/s read speed and 530MB/s write speed. Also check whether your motherboard has a SATA 3.0 connection. An old PC with a SATA 1.0 or 2.0 connection does not benefit from an SSD with SATA 3.0.


Mac users should always pay close attention when purchasing components, and the SSD is no different. If you have a particular model in mind, check if it is compatible with your Mac. This can be done by searching the iFixit website. To find out the model of your Mac, click the Apple logo and select About this Mac. click on More info and below the name is the model name of your Mac. You have to pay attention especially with an adapter, because many adapters do not fit in a Mac Pro or iMac. If you have a MacBook Air, replacing an SSD may be difficult. Newer models use an SSD with a PCIe connection and often do not accept non-Apple SSDs.

Tip 04: mSATA, M.2 and PCIe

The vast majority of SSDs have SATA 3.0 connections, but some netbooks and small laptops do not have standard SSDs on board. With these devices, it can be more difficult to change your drive. However, SSD extensions also exist for this, these SSDs do not have a housing and look like normal printed circuit boards. Such an SSD is characterized as mSATA, or mini-SATA. Here again you have to deal with throughput speeds, just like with regular SSDs. The successor of mSATA has already presented itself, it is called M.2 and is a bit smaller than mSATA.

Finally, there are still PCIe variants on the market. You plug these SSDs into a free PCIe slot of your desktop PC and are suitable for heavy applications due to the fast throughput speed. A PCIe SSD is more expensive than a normal SSD.

Recent Posts