Install SSD in PC: Connect SSD – explained step by step!

Anyone who installs Windows and programs on an SSD will notice the difference as soon as they start: When the COMPUTER BILD test PC still had to make do with its conventional hard drive (HDD), it was only ready to go after 32 seconds – with an M.2 SSD on board it took just 10 seconds. But while some current desktop PCs and notebooks combine a small but fast SSD with a rather slow but large hard drive, the SSD turbo is missing in many older models. Fortunately, it can be retrofitted, and you don’t even have to pay 70 euros for it. Don’t have a PC and use a laptop? No problem: You can read how the installation in the notebook works in the guide “Installing an SSD in the notebook”.

Installing an SSD: The preparation

Installation is not a problem in most PCs – nevertheless, you should check your computer for three points before buying an SSD:
  • Power supply: The power supply must have a connector for powering the SSD on board.
  • Mainboard connection: If you want to install a 2.5-inch SSD, the PC needs a SATA connection. But don’t worry, it’s standard even on ten-year-old computers. If an SSD the size of chewing gum strips is to get the PC moving, it needs an M.2 slot. However, this connection does not exist in computers that are more than three years old.
  • inset: A 2.5-inch SSD requires a suitable slot. In some cases, a frame must provide a secure hold.
  • The Windows reinstallation: There is no need to set up the operating system from scratch by transferring the data from the old mass storage device to the new one. For this you need a USB housing – or you can install the new memory in addition to the old one for cloning, if possible. The Minitool Partition Wizard, for example, is suitable for this – a freeware partitioner with HDD-SSD migration. The process is not limited to drive models from specific manufacturers. Once Windows and personal files have been transferred (or you want to reinstall Windows), the new memory needs to be installed.

This is how the SSD installation works

Once you get used to the speed of an SSD, you never want to be without it again. COMPUTER BILD explains the installation in a 2.5-inch slot in a few steps.

  • Before you open the PC case, be sure to pull the power cord out of the socket. On most PCs, you then remove the screws on the case and remove the side panel. Lay the PC open-side up on the table and locate the SATA connector and the power connector, which has five wires leading to it. On the other hand, only a visible ribbon cable leads to the SATA connection.
  • Use the built-in hard drive as a guide if you can’t find the connections right away. For installation in a hard disk mount, you usually need a frame that securely fixes the SSD in the computer. It is included with some SSDs, but it only costs a few euros individually. However, some PCs also have a holder for 2.5-inch SSDs under the slot with the DVD drive – this means that installation works without a frame.
  • Once the power and data cables are connected, you can move your programs, for example with PC-Trans. If you then reinstall Windows on the SSD, change the boot order in the BIOS so that the PC starts from the SSD in the future.
SSD connectors

The power connector is on the left and the SATA connector is on the right. If both cables are plugged into the sockets, screw the SSD into the PC case or frame.

Installing the M.2 SSD is even easier. Open the PC as described above and look for the M.2 SSD slot, which is usually next to the CPU. For installation, first remove one screw on the M.2 slot. Sometimes you also have to remove a cooling screen. Slide the M.2 SSD into the slot at a slight angle (about 30 degrees) until you feel the tip click into place. Then press the SSD down and fix it with the previously removed spacer screw.

Installing an SSD in a PC: How to connect an SSD explained step by step!  The M.2 SSD installed in no time.

The M.2 SSD is installed in no time at all.

The start-up time is now only a third of the original duration and the PC also does the usual jobs, such as program starts, much faster. The speed boost for data transfers was particularly large – both when reading and when writing, as the speed tests with the free tool AS SSD Benchmark showed: Even the cheap M.2 SSD Phison E12 read data with up to 2,528 megabytes per second ( MB/s) and wrote them at 923 MB/s. For comparison: The previously responsible Toshiba hard drive from the test PC just managed 102 MB/s when reading and 101 MB/s when writing. The gain in speed when editing photos and videos is comparatively modest. Because such programs need a lot of memory, only a RAM upgrade brings more speed here. In addition to high speed, SSDs also have other advantageous properties:
  • Quietly: Because they have no mechanical components, SSDs work completely silently.
  • Robust: On top of that, SSDs are more robust than hard drives with their rapidly jumping read and write heads.
  • Light and economical: SSDs are lighter and require less energy, but notebooks in particular benefit from this.

Large collections of photos, movies, or music require a lot of storage, and with an SSD, it’s expensive. Therefore, simply use the old hard drive as a data store. You don’t need a fast SSD for this. And when it’s full, plug in an external hard drive. It is also cheaper than an SSD and can also dock with other computers if required.

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