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How you can Add an SSD to Your Desktop Laptop for Effectively Beneath $100

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In case your desktop is working out of space for storing in your present drive otherwise you need to improve an present laborious disk drive to a far quicker SSD, it is a actually easy and cheap course of so as to add a brand new SSD to your PC. You may get all the pieces you have to set up a 1TB SSD on Amazon for round $75, and set up is easy for anybody prepared to select up a screwdriver and plug in a few cables.

Whereas this text focuses on desktops, the recommendation is basically the identical for laptops. Nonetheless, there are some variations within the set up course of. Comply with my information on tips on how to substitute a tough drive with an SSD on a laptop computer if that’s your objective.

Earlier than you get began, there are two basic items you have to know:

  1. Are you including a storage laborious disk drive, or do you need to substitute your present Home windows system laborious drive with a brand new SSD? If you’re utilizing the SSD to create a brand new Home windows system drive, you will want to comply with the steps beneath to clone your present drive. In any other case, you possibly can skip that part.
  2. What sort of SSD do you want – a 2.5-inch SATA SSD or an NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD? Many more recent desktops use M.2 slots for storage, and these interfaces are quicker (and dearer) than SATA ports, that are sometimes used for laborious drives and a pair of.5-inch SSDs. Nonetheless, your M.2 slots could already be in use by different playing cards (my Dell XPS desktop has two M.2 slots, one is utilized by my NVMe system drive and the opposite by my wi-fi/Bluetooth combo card), and most customers will not see a lot of any distinction in pace between the 2 codecs for traditional computing duties. When you have the selection, go together with an M.2 SSD. They’re quicker for some (uncommon) makes use of, simpler to put in, and you will not want to purchase an adapter cage or cable, bringing the general value in keeping with 2.5-inch SATA SSDs.

As each PC is totally different, it is best to verify your port state of affairs in your producer specs earlier than making any buy. Additionally, since producer specs might be unclear (and even mistaken), it’s smart to bodily test the ports inside your laptop to see what is definitely put in and obtainable.

Samsung NVMe M.2 drive installed in the upper right (in a red box). A Samsung SATA SSD is installed in a bay in the lower right (in a red box).

An NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD is put in within the higher proper, and a SATA SSD is in a bay within the decrease proper.

Shopping for an SSD drive and mounting elements

What measurement SSD to purchase

Storage costs have dropped significantly through the years. On the identical time, now that each smartphone is able to taking hi-res photographs and movies, storage necessities have grown considerably. So, I would not skimp on area – a 1TB drive ought to present ample storage for most individuals. Pricing-wise, going with 500GB will prevent about $30, and doubling as much as 2TB will roughly double the value of whichever drive you are contemplating.

What model/mannequin to purchase

There are tons of of SSD fashions from dozens of manufacturers available on the market, however because the drive will maintain all of your laptop’s crucial info, this isn’t the time to go together with the most cost effective mannequin. I might additionally keep away from the final word efficiency fashions meant for server purposes and 3D graphics professionals – they price considerably extra money and can provide no efficiency profit for typical customers.


My high advice is the Samsung 870 EVO, which is an improve to the 860 EVO I’ve put in in my very own laptop computer (and prices $40 lower than I paid a number of years in the past). It’s constantly rated at or close to the highest in efficiency assessments versus aggressive fashions and presents a number one 5-year or 600 TBW (for 1TB mannequin) guarantee. TBW (terabytes written) is an effective indication of the drive’s robustness – the extra, the higher. Beneath regular utilization, you’d by no means come near hitting that TBW restrict (600 TBW is equal to about 200 million photographs). Samsung additionally comes with Samsung Information Migration software program, an easy-to-use program for cloning your present drive onto the SSD. As of the time of writing, you may get the 1TB for $89.99 on or Amazon.Samsung EVO 870 SSD

If you wish to save somewhat cash, the Essential MX500 is arguably each bit pretty much as good because the Samsung 870 EVO. Information switch speeds would be the identical and Essential presents its personal Acronis True Picture software program for straightforward drive cloning. The Essential MX500 additionally comes with a five-year guarantee, although its 360 TBW restrict for the 1TB mannequin is decrease than the restrict for the Samsung 870 EVO, which means it might be barely much less sturdy (realistically, that is nonetheless far, far above what most individuals would ever hit). The MX500 additionally occurs to be the identical finances decide I really helpful three years in the past. However do not let that deter you. Not a lot has modified on this planet of two.5-inch SATA SSD drives, and this tried-and-true mannequin stays simply as extremely rated. As of the time of writing, you may get the 1TB for $65.99 on or for a couple of bucks much less on Amazon.Crucial MX500 SSD

Should you’re buying a SATA SSD, you will want a SATA cable to attach it to the SATA port in your motherboard. The cable model would not actually matter a lot; simply go for one that’s extremely rated on Amazon and is the fitting size to succeed in from the motherboard to the place you can be mounting the drive (18 inches is normally a protected size). I additionally recommend going for one with a right-angle connector to assist slot in tight areas. I went with this Cable Issues 3-pack for my set up (I did not want three cables, however for under $6.99, it was the identical value as many single packs).

Most desktop PC drive bays are sized for 3.5-inch drives, so you should purchase a 2.5-inch drive adapter for mounting. Once more, the model would not matter – it is only a piece of steel to screw your drive into. The Sabrent 2.5 to three.5 inch mounting bracket I selected will get very excessive scores (no points with misaligned screws) and was below $7. Technically, you don’t have to purchase the adapter, you would simply have the SSD positioned loosely inside your case, nevertheless it appears smart to safe it to make sure cables don’t wiggle free whenever you transfer the pc round.

That is additionally a very good time to select up a fundamental laptop screwdriver set if you happen to want one. This screwdriver set has tons of heads (together with the non-standard ones) and a software that can assist you open your laptop computer case if wanted. It is the one I take advantage of for my laptop repairs (and a thousand different little issues round the home).


There are numerous flavors of M.2 playing cards on the market. Excessive-end fashions run the newer PCIe Gen4 (and even Gen5) for quicker learn/write speeds, whereas lower-cost drives are nonetheless utilizing PCIe Gen3. Some include onboard cache reminiscence; others leverage your system reminiscence. And there’s no scarcity of benchmark assessments evaluating all of them. However the net-net is that every one NVME M.2 PCIe drives are very, very quick – so quick that the everyday consumer won’t ever discover any distinction of their efficiency. So, the one issues that ought to matter when selecting out an NVME M.2 drive are storage measurement, value, and reliability.

And in that vein, my suggestions largely mirror the alternatives for the SATA drives above. My high decide is the Samsung 980 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD. It has a powerful 600 TBW guarantee (for 1TB) and excessive scores throughout the board for efficiency and reliability. Sure, it is working older PCIe Gen3, nevertheless it will not matter in real-life efficiency. As a result of the 980 would not have onboard cache reminiscence, it is also $10 cheaper than Samsung’s 970 EVO, which has the onboard cache. The Samsung 980 PCIe is at the moment $89.99 on Amazon or

Samsung 980 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD on white background with Techlicious Editor's Choice logo

My finances decide is the Essential P3 Plus PCIe Gen4 NVMe M.2 SSD. As a PCIe Gen4 system, it’s technically extra superior than the Samsung 980, with far greater most learn/write capabilities, however you are not going to see a real-world distinction in regular use. The Essential drives get very sturdy evaluations in each benchmark testing and amongst homeowners. The draw back of the Essential versus the Samsung is its decrease 220 TBW guarantee (for 1TB); although that’s nonetheless far past what typical homeowners would ever hit, it suggests a barely cheaper element construct. At $66.99 on Amazon and, it makes a fantastic finances alternative.

Crucial P3 Plus PCIe Gen4 NVMe M.2 SSD on white background with Techlicious Editors Choice logo

Set up steps on your new SSD

Upon getting your new drive and any obligatory mounting {hardware}, it is time to get it put in and working in your PC. These steps will information you thru it.

Putting in the bodily SATA SSD

Samsung SSD, mounting adapter, and SATA cable

  1. Flip off the ability to your PC and unplug it.
  2. Open up the case to entry the inner ports and bays (each case is totally different, so confer with your producer’s directions if uncertain).
  3. Screw your new SSD into the two.5 inch to three.5 inch mounting adapter.
  4. Screw the mounting adapter with the drive right into a free drive bay inside your PC.
  5. Connect one finish of your SATA cable to the drive and the opposite finish to a free SATA port in your motherboard (it would not matter which finish you utilize, so no matter matches finest if utilizing a right-angled connector).
  6. Connect a free energy cable jack into your SSD (take a look at the ability cable working to your present inner drives – there needs to be an additional energy cable there)
    Interior of desktop computer. A free power cable is circled in red.
  7. Shut up your case and energy all the pieces again up.

Putting in the bodily NVME M.2 SSD

  1. Flip off the ability to your PC and unplug it.
  2. Open up the case to entry the inner ports and bays (each case is totally different, so confer with your producer’s directions if uncertain).
  3. Discover the M.2 PCIe slot in your motherboard and insert the gold pins in your drive into the slot at a couple of 30-degree angle. There could also be a screw that needs to be eliminated earlier than insertion, which you’ll then reinstall after the drive to carry it in place.
  4. Shut up your case and energy all the pieces again up.

Establishing your SSD drive

Format your SSD

Most SSDs will come unformatted. So, step one after set up is to format the drive so your system can acknowledge it.

  1. Click on the Home windows Begin (or use Home windows Search Bar) and seek for “disk administration”. Selected “Create and format laborious disk partitions”. This may open Home windows Disk Administration app.
  2. It is best to see your new SSD within the lists of disks. The disk could should be initialized so Home windows will acknowledge it as a drive. If you’re utilizing the SSD as a storage drive, select GPT for the initialization. If you can be utilizing the SSD as your system disk, select GPT for all 64Bit Home windows variations and MBR for all 32-bit variations.
    Screenshot of Disk Management software showing the options for partitions styles: MBR and GPT, which GPT selected.
  3. Now proper click on on the newly initialized disk in your drive listing and choose “New Easy Quantity” to convey up the New Easy Quantity Wizard that can stroll you thru the remainder of the method.
  4. The primary choice is to decide on a quantity measurement. You possibly can arrange a number of volumes on the disk, if desired, however assuming you’re setting it up as a single quantity, simply choose the utmost quantity measurement.
    Screenshot of Disk Management showing the window for specifying volume size. There is the maximum disk space, minimum disk space and then the option to choose a size for the volume.
  5. Choose a drive letter on your new SSD (doesn’t matter what you decide)
  6. Format your drive. Select NTFS for the file system (learn extra about file system selections), change the Quantity label to no matter you need to name your new drive (you possibly can all the time change this later), and test “Carry out a fast format”. Click on “Subsequent,” and your drive might be formatted and prepared to be used.
    Screenshot of Disk Management showing the suggested format options of NTFS, default allocation unit size, and Volume label as new volume.

Set up your producer’s drive administration software program

Most producers have a drive administration program, like Samsung Magician, that can hold your drive firmware updated and help you customise the efficiency and different settings. It is value putting in for the firmware updates however depart the opposite settings alone except you actually know what you are doing. Your SSD might be lots quick out of the field, and most efficiency tweaking can have restricted profit in regular use.

Clone your present Home windows OS drive

Should you’re shopping for the SSD to interchange a drive working your Home windows working system, it is best to comply with these steps to clone your outdated drive onto your new one. The cloning program that comes along with your SSD – Samsung Information Migration, Acronis True Picture – will make an actual reproduction of your present laborious drive in your new SSD, so there is no must reinstall something or switch any recordsdata. If you are going to buy a drive that does not embrace the software program, there are numerous free disk cloning packages you possibly can obtain your self.

To get going with Samsung Magician:

  1. Obtain and set up Samsung Magician onto your PC.
  2. Open Samsung Magician. It is best to see each your present system drive and your new Samsung SSD within the bar on the high.
  3. Choose your system drive and choose “Information Migration” within the left column.
  4. Select your new SSD because the “Goal Drive” after which click on “Begin” to start the cloning course of.

Should you’re utilizing Acronis:

  1. Obtain Acronis True Picture onto your present laborious drive.
  2. Launch this system.
  3. On the sidebar, click on “Instruments,” after which click on “Clone disk.”
  4. Acronis recommends utilizing Computerized switch mode to configure the partitions of your new disk to match your outdated one. If Acronis finds two disks, one partitioned and one other unpartitioned, it ought to start the cloning course of robotically. In any other case, proceed with steps 5 by means of 7.
  5. On the Supply Disk step, choose the disk that you simply need to clone.
  6. On the Vacation spot Disk step, choose the vacation spot disk for the cloned information.
  7. On the End step, test the setting after which click on “Proceed.”
  8. Comply with the steps to clone your drive.

The cloning course of will take some time to switch your information onto your new drive. Do not use your laptop whereas the cloning course of is occurring as a result of any adjustments you make to settings or recordsdata will not be cloned to the brand new drive.

As soon as your new system drive is created, you will want to set this as the brand new boot drive on your laptop. If you’re eradicating your outdated system drive, your PC ought to discover and boot out of your new drive robotically. Nonetheless, in case you are having any points or need to hold your outdated drive whereas booting from the brand new one, you possibly can regulate your boot settings in your system BIOS. The precise course of for this may fluctuate by producer, however you normally entry your boot settings by urgent a perform key whereas powering in your system. Comply with the choices within the BIOS menu to alter your boot drive.

[Image credit: Techlicious, Samsung, Crucial]

Josh Kirschner is the co-founder of Techlicious and has been masking shopper tech for greater than a decade. Josh began his first firm whereas nonetheless in school, a shopper electronics retailer targeted on college students. His writing has been featured in In the present, NBC Information, and Time.

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