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Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are becoming more and more popular, especially for storing operating systems and programs, but they have two big drawbacks. The first is the price. But an even bigger one is their capacity. A lot of people are willing to shell out a lot of money for a faster machine, but not many are willing to settle for just 16 or 32 GB more storage space, even in a notebook.
In this article we’ll explain how to install an SSD in your notebook computer, while retaining a hard disk for storing data.
There are several methods for installing a hard disk in a notebook, some simpler than others. Let’s look at the various possibilities.
The simplest solution is to buy a notebook that has space for two (or three) hard disks. Most models with 17" or larger displays fall into this category. With a computer like this, installing both an SSD and a hard disk is no problem. All you do is install each one in a different slot. Be careful, because certain computers (like the 17" MacBook Pro) have only a single slot.
The second solution is fairly common with certain manufacturers and involves using a bay to hold a second hard disk. The bay concept is fairly simple: The optical drive is removable and can be replaced with accessories such as a second battery, an empty module for weight, or a hard disk. Lenovo, Dell, and Toshiba, for example, fit some of their machines with this type of accessory. It’s an easy system to use – you just remove the case containing the optical drive and insert one that contains a hard disk.
There are two possible problems. Optical drives are often in ATA format – which requires that you use an ATA hard disk – and cases are not always easy to find. Prices are usually moderate – between $47 and $94 for a model that can take a hard disk. Be careful, because some subnotebooks, such as the Lenovo X300, have a bay but won’t take a hard disk because they’re too thin.
Our solution is less elegant, but just as effective: We replaced the optical drive with a hard disk. Read on to see how we solved the problems associated with this approach.