How to install an SSD and boost your PC's performance

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How to install an SSD and boost your PC's performance
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How to install an SSD

Installing a new SSD on most desktop computers is a relatively simple task. You screw it into one of your PC case's dedicated slots, then connect the power and data cables.

TIP: Make sure that your SSD is plugged into the lowest-numbered SATA port in order for it to be the default boot drive. If available, a SATA3 port should be used for the best performance.

1. Fit SSD into bay

Most SSDs are designed to fit in a 2.5in laptop drive bay, which you won’t find in a PC. Fortunately, they come with mounting brackets to get them to fit, so screw these in before you start.

Next, find a 3.5in drive bay. Be careful not to use external bays that have a cutout on the front of the case, as these are for memory card readers and floppy disk drives.

If your case has drive rails or screwless fittings, read the case’s manual for instructions on how to fit your drive. For other cases, slide the hard disk into a spare drive bay until the screw holes in the side of the drive line up with the holes in the drive bay. The disk should then be secured with four screws, two on either side of the case.

2. Plug in SATA power

In the two pictures at the top of this page, you can see the SATA power connector on the hard disk and on the power supply. Locate the correct connector from your power supply and plug it into the back of your SSD. It goes in only one way and clicks when it’s connected.

Be extremely careful when plugging it in, as downwards pressure can break the clip surrounding the power connector. If you do this, the power plug won’t stay in place.

3. Plug in SATA data cable

Unlike IDE, SATA uses a simple and thin connector to carry data. Your motherboard will ship with several SATA cables, so take one of these from the box. Plug it gently into the rear of the SSD. It will plug in only one way and will click when it’s properly connected.

Be careful when you plug it in, as downwards pressure can break the connector and prevent the SATA cable plugging in.

4. Plug SATA data cable into motherboard

Next, you need to find a spare SATA port on your motherboard. These are usually located at the bottom-right of the board and are numbered. The lower the number, the higher up the boot chain your SSD is.

If you’re installing more than one drive, therefore, make sure the drive from which you’re going to boot is plugged into the lowest-numbered port. Check the motherboard’s manual to ensure that all the ports do the same thing; some boards have ports reserved for RAID.

Connecting the SATA cable is easy, as it will plug in only one way. It will click when the cable is connected properly.

Next: Moving Windows to the new SSD.

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