I'm planning to get a laptop soon, and I was wondering what options I have if I'm looking for a smaller (~14-15") laptop but still want to have two hard drives (SSD for OS and a data drive). I know the typical answer is a laptop with two HD slots, but from what I know those are normally reserved for large gaming laptops (I don't plan to game, just program and compile). I've also heard talk of adding hard drives via the CD drive slot, but know next to nothing about this process. Any recommendations for either of these solutions, and if the former, which laptop models would you suggest?
Certain laptops can allow you to install a hard disk in to the removable DVD drive area. This is done by removing the DVD drive and then installing a caddy that will allow you to install a hard drive. Only a few laptops have this option and the caddy is specific to the laptop.
An example would be the 14" Lenovo ThinkPad T430 series which starts at $764. When configuring the laptop there is an "Ultrabay" option for a 2nd hard drive which replaces the DVD drive; 320GB HDD adds $110, 1TB HDD adds $370.
It is possible to purchase an ultra bay adapter separately. This means you buy the laptop as is with the DVD drive, and you have the option of installing your own 2.5" HDD of whatever capacity you like. You should be able swap in/out the DVD drive / 2nd HDD. But it may not be available for the recently released T430 laptop. Your best bet would be to call Lenovo customer support and ask if there is an ultra bay adapter for the T430.
you'd be hard pressed to find a 14" laptop with two 2.5" bays.
i see 2 options:
1) get an mSATA SSD for OS, use the 2.5" bay for data drive (requires spare mPCIe port)
2) use the 2.5" bay for OS SSD, and get a slim ODD to 2.5" HDD converter for the data drive (which would also mean having no ODD and requires a typical laptop ODD bay).