Who uses DVD Drive anymore? I don't, and I would like to use SSD for my laptop primary drive, so I can have great performance from this laptop. This laptop model is Asus A46CA, but it should also work for the A46CM series.
Just a little bit of intro, SSD is a high performance solid-state. Solid state here means no moving part, no noise and less heat. HDD is a mechanical drive designed to keep plenty of your files. HDDs are dated and slow while SSDs are fast but expensive. The point here is, rather than buy a high-capacity SSD, we're going to use both SSD and HDD in one laptop, so we can expect quick boot time, less loading time while still being able to keep millions of songs and photos.
The problem is, most laptop only has one HDD slot. Fortunately, many laptop has an optical drive, which can be also used for another HDD or SSD. So I'm gonna throw my DVD Drive out? No! We're gonna make an external DVD Drive out of your old internal DVD drive so it's a win-win.
Before we get into "what do I need" part, first you have to make sure that BOTH your laptop's HDD and Optical Drive interface are SATA. If your laptop is built in 2009 or newer, chances are it has SATA interface for both its HDD and Optical Drive. In fact, i've done this setup for my Acer 5930 for almost 5 years now and it has no issues at all.
What do you need:
1.) Laptop with SATA HDD and SATA Optical Drive
2.) Another SSD or HDD for expansion
3.) HDD Caddy* (to replace Optical drive with HDD)
4.) External DVD Drive enclosure (to use your old DVD Drive back)
5.) Philips screwdriver & paperclip
6.) Your genuine Windows OS disc or USB drive
7.) Some knowledge in installing Windows
8.) An external HDD / storage for backup
*HDD Caddy comes in 3 size: 12.7mm, 9.5mm and 7mm. You will need to find out which one your laptop is. For reference, ASUS A46 series must use 9.5mm HDD caddy.
Step 1: Remove the Primary HDD
First, flip the laptop down and look for the HDD maintenance cover. There will be 2 screws at the side of the cover. Unscrew these screws and gently remove the cover by sliding it down.
Once you remove it, you will notice the HDD bracket being held by 3 additional screws. Remove these screws. Gently slide the HDD out and up.
Because I'm going to upgrade to SSD, it means I have to swap the primary HDD to the new blank SSD. Remove the old HDD by removing 4 screws around the bracket.
Once the SSD is installed, it should look like this.
Place the new SSD with bracket back into the laptop. Don't forget to screw the 3 screws you have previously removed.
Ensure the screws are in the correct position and the SSD is installed firmly in place.
Install the cover back. Don't forget the 2 screws you have previously removed.
Step 2: Remove the Optical Drive
Find the only screw which held the DVD Drive. There is a small DVD icon next to the screw. Unscrew it.
Slowly slide out the DVD Drive by pulling out the drive's bezel.
The laptop DVD Drive compared to the HDD caddy which we're going to install later.
Eject the DVD slot by using a paperclip.
Remove the bezel. Notice where the locking tabs are located.
Install the original bezel into the HDD Caddy. (right)
Step 3: Attach HDD Caddy to Replace the Optical Drive
Place the HDD into the HDD Caddy and gently slide it into its port. Please note that there are 4 screws needed to secure the HDD in its place, so don't lose it.
Install 4 screws to hold the HDD by using a Philips screwdriver. Ensure there are no screws protruding out.
Remove a tab at the back of the DVD Drive. Install the tab at the new HDD Caddy.
Remove any sticker or protective skin. This is because the added thickness will make it difficult for the HDD caddy to slide back into the laptop.
Slide the HDD caddy back into the laptop. Don't forget to screw too.
Step 4: Make External DVD Drive From the Old Optical Drive
Now, we're going to install the old DVD Drive into an enclosure. First, you need to ensure the front bezel of the DVD drive is installed. (The bezel is included in the enclosure).
Gently pull the enclosure and it will split into 2 parts. Place the DVD Drive and the connector into appropriate position. Install the cover back. There are 3 screws supplied to secure the DVD drive inside the enclosure.
Step 5: You're Done!
Now comes the exhausting part: Installing Windows and performing backup on your old HDD Drive.
I use a USB stick preloaded with Windows. Plug the USB drive into the laptop while it's turned off.
Turn on the laptop and immediately press ESC button repeatedly until the Boot menu comes up. Choose your USB drive which contain Windows.
Later after Windows is installed, then you can backup your old HDD drive and format it so you can have two separate drive in My Computer (This PC) namely C: for the SSD which is the primary and D: for the HDD.
I'd recommend storing your application and games in SSD so you can have fast loading speed.