Is SSD an optical drive?

Table of Contents

No, an SSD isn’t an optical drive – they’re different terms often mixed up in the scheme of things.
In an SSD, you have a modernized storage unit that is non-volatile and independent of light.
The optical drive relies on light (as the term optical reveals) to read data stored on storage units using mobile parts. DVD-ROM and CD-ROM drives are the possible variants of the optical drive.
Both can coexist on a computer, but they bring different things to the table. While the SSD is an actual storage unit, an optical drive acts as an anchor for storage devices.
Solid-state memory devices such as flash drives are non-volatile storage, which essentially means they do not require constant power to retain the information. Flash drives draw power from your computer when they are plugged in and require no additional power supply.
Memory cards, such as compact flash and SD cards, are similar to flash drives, except they don’t have the built-in USB connector to directly plug into your computer.

Is SSD an optical drive
Is SSD an optical drive

What is an SSD drive?

SSD, also called a solid-state drive, refers to an innovative piece of storage unit deployed in gaming units and computing devices. In an SSD drive, data storage is achieved using chips based on gate transistors arranged to deliver flash memory.

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With an SSD drive, power isn’t a prerequisite for the retention of data, which is explained by the use of flash memory. This makes the SSD quicker to read and less prone to disruption. Hence, data stored in an SSD is safer than elsewhere.

Similarities Between Optical And SSD Drive

You can draw a lot of similarities between the optical and the SSD drive. For starters, both are centered around data storage despite the differences in approach.

In the optical drive, data stored on disks can remain useful for about the same length of time as that on the SSD. The disk, like the SSD drive, doesn’t have magnetic properties which are susceptible to mechanical damage.

Another similarity shared by the SSD and optical disk drives is that data can be read and written. Of course, the nature of the optical disk drive will decide if data can be written through such.

SSD Optical Drive Caddy

Your computer doesn’t have to be short on storage when there’s a disk drive wasting away within the PC. Sorry to burst your bubble, but replacing your optical drive is the only way to maximize its use.

The era of the CD/DVD ROM is gone, and the influence wielded by the optical drive has dropped. But the optical drive appendage can be transformed into a more relevant storage unit – the SSD.

The benefits of an SSD to your computer are quite significant, especially if the PC has only a hard disk drive. An optical drive caddy provides the perfect opening to get the gains of an SSD without getting a new computer.

A drive caddy can transform your optical drive into a high-performance storage unit. The disk enclosure makes it possible for your computer to exchange data with the SSD external storage unit.

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Optical Drive vs SSD

Just like the optical drive and SSD share similarities, they have a fair share of differences as well. One of these is the data read/write process.

With the optical disk drive, an electromagnetic laser reads or writes data on the disc. But it’s more complex with the SSD drive where data is read or written across the millions of transistors arranged in series within a circuit.

The optical drive can also be differentiated from an SSD through the former’s moving parts. Data is read or written on the optical disk through a movable spindle with the plate rotating at variable speeds. The SSD drive has no such arrangement – movable parts are absent.

On the structural aspect, the optical drive differs from its SSD counterpart based on the need for a loading approach, providing an avenue for the disk to be loaded on the drive.

The loading mechanism which is required in a disk drive has two variants –  tray & slot loading. The SSD doesn’t have such a setup, but interfaces like the SATA ports are deployed to keep the storage device in sync with the computer. 

Differences between both drives also abound like the variation in the SATA connector.

Replace Optical Drive With Hard Disk Drive

An optical drive requires the use of a disk to effect any data storage needs you might have. Fortunately, the optical disk drive can be replaced with a hard disk drive to provide you with the additional storage you need.

To do this, confirm you know how to remove the optical drive of your laptop – the manual should provide adequate information on this topic.

Replacing the optical drive with a hard disk entails introducing a drive caddy into the mix. This can be achieved by connecting the drive caddy to the optical drive faceplate. Afterwards, plug the SATA connector into the drive caddy with the hard disk right behind it.

The height of the hard disk drive must correspond with the allotted space for the optical drive. Secure the drive caddy within the confines of the optical disk drive using the screws provided.

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Is SSD faster in HDD Slot Compared To Optical Drive Slot?

The performance of the SSD in any of the slots – HDD or optical drive – depends on the ports used. Many computers have either the SATA 2 or SATA 3 port as the connecting medium for the SSD.

 If the HDD slot has a SATA 3, it will influence the speed of the connected SSD positively, especially when compared to a situation where the SATA 2 is used. The speed of the SATA port will also influence the performance of the SSD.

If a hard disk is at the center of the storm, differences in port won’t change anything. Whether it’s the SATA 2 or 3, the performance of the hard disk remains unperturbed.

Replace Optical Drive With SSD Desktop

If your desktop computer comes with an optical drive, you can replace it with an SSD. This is possible through the use of a drive caddy, which takes the shape of an optical disk drive.

Before choosing the drive caddy, ensure you consider the dimensions of the SSD, which can be obtained in either 7.5mm or 12.7mm sizes. And there are matching drive caddies for both.

A drive caddy typically consists of two SATA connectors – one links the caddy to the desktop while the other serves as the portal for the new SSD.

With the drive caddy securely in place, plug the SSD into the relevant SATA connector. Depending on the brand, screws might be made available for ensuring the SSD drive remains in position.

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Optical Drive to SSD Adapter

This is a bogus way to describe the drive caddy. Transforming your optical drive into the more contemporary SSD drive is something a drive caddy can achieve. Yet, there are things you should endeavor to understand before getting a caddy involved.

Firstly, you have to confirm the sizes of your optical drive to decide the right caddy for your computer. Optical drives are available in 7, 9.5, and 12.7mm and there is a caddy specific to each.

The connector used in your computer can help you to decide if investing in an optical drive to an SSD adapter is a good idea. A PATA connector is obsolete, and deploying a caddy isn’t recommended. With a SATA connector, involving an optical to SSD adapter is worth considering.

Replace Optical Drive With Hard Drive Desktop

If you’re looking to do more with your desktop, replacing the optical drive might be in order. You’ll need a drive caddy for this.

Before you opt for a drive caddy, identifying the size of the optical drive is necessary. Disk drives are available in 9.5mm and 12.7mm. Your optical drive is certain to belong to one of these categories. And the caddy drive has to be compatible with the disk drive’s dimensions.

Beyond the caddy’s need to blend in, it has to match the specifications of the desktop. You should confirm the specs of the caddy drive matches that of the computer. While the caddy drive might appear to be a mere container, it still has to act the part.

The procedure for replacing the optical drive remains unchanged, even with a hard disk.

Can I Replace My CD Drive With A Hard Drive?

Yes, you can replace your CD drive with a hard drive, but you’ll need a sleeve to make the hard drive fit into the optical drive compartment. This is where a drive caddy will prove handy.

When getting a drive caddy, find out the nature of your computer’s optical bay. With a hard drive, the sort of SATA connector involved doesn’t count as much as it does for an SSD.

Through a disk enclosure, you can do away with that CD drive while adding to the storage capacity of your computer. Of course, you’ll have to remove the CD drive to bring the caddy drive into the picture.

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Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.