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Step 3: Replace The Optical Drive With The OptiBayHD Caddy

Install A Hard Drive Or SSD In Your Notebook's Optical Bay
By , Achim Roos

After installing Windows on the SSD, the notebook is almost ready to use again. But we still have to put the hard drive-equipped caddy into the optical drive bay, where it will serve as a storage device for bulk data.

7. After removing a single screw, the optical drive of the Dell Latitude D630 can be pulled out easily:

Matching size: The OptiBayHD caddy (top) and the optical drive of the Dell notebook (bottom).

8. After inserting and securing the OptiBayHD caddy, your notebook is good to go. Who would guess that there is now a hard disk behind the side panel?

Conclusion

The OptiBayHD caddy represents an easy to way to upgrade a notebook with an SSD without having to pick solid-state or mechanical storage. By using the two technologies in parallel, you're able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

But what about the optical drive? Increasingly, they're only used to install software or, occasionally, play a game from. You're pretty safe getting everything loaded and then swapping it out. And because the caddy simply slides in in place of the optical drive, it's easy enough to swap back in case you need to load an app or want to watch a Blu-ray movie. That's one good reason to install the SSD internally and leave your user data on a hard drive in the caddy; even if you pull it out, you're still able to boot and run your most important applications.

At about $68 (plus international shipping) the caddy isn't exactly cheap. However, you might find it worthwhile, especially as SSDs come down in price. Cheaper 64 GB drives start in the $100 range, and those numbers are sure to drop as lithography advances and density increases. We used Samsung's 830, but any 2.5" drive will work for this project.

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