SSD drives are sometimes installed in laptops and tablets in the form of bare logic boards without any type of casing or enclosure.

Do I need to buy a special case for one of those if I want to install it in a desktop computer? I've been googling around and was unable to find any mention of cases specifically designed for this type of SSD drive.

Here's a picture of what I'm talking about:

Tablet SSD drive

  • 3
    ...but why? Those usually cost more for the same capacity than a 2.5 inch SSD.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 7 '17 at 3:42
  • 10
    Presumably, the OP pulled one of these drives from a tablet or laptop and wants to use it on a desktop.
    – bwDraco
    Jul 7 '17 at 3:46
  • 2
    Some motherboards actually have mSATA ports. Newer boards often have one (or more) m.2 ports, the follow-on to mSATA.
    – T.J.L.
    Jul 7 '17 at 14:25

This is an mSATA SSD.

To install a drive like this on a system without an mSATA slot, you'll need an mSATA to SATA 2.5" adapter. This StarTech unit was the best I could find from a cursory search on Google.

Do not confuse this with the M.2 form factor, which is (usually) narrower and longer. M.2 also differs by having one mounting screw hole (cut as a half-circle on the edge of the board to save space) at the end of the card, rather than the two on mSATA.

  • 2
    But how do you mount it? Though for SSDs even tape would work …
    – Michael
    Jul 7 '17 at 6:35
  • 7
    @Michael If you look at the StarTech link you can see it makes it into a standard 2.5" that is easy to mount in the computer and that the case has screwpoints for securing the mSATA SSD itself. Jul 7 '17 at 8:10
  • 2
    The m.2 spec includes support for mSATA width devices; I'm not sure if any were ever made. The spec got rather cluttered from trying to be all things to all people IMO. Jul 7 '17 at 18:08
  • 1
    @Michael yes, I use velcro tape. Or just leave it laying in the case.
    – JDługosz
    Jul 8 '17 at 2:10

Cases provide:

  • Physical protection

  • Protection from ESD

  • convenient standard mounting holes

Once installed in your computer case, the first two are provided by your PC's case and further protection is not necessary - after all your motherboard is not in a case! You just need to find a convenient way of mounting the SSD within your PC case. If the PC is not going to be moved around, then letting it rest on the bottom of the case on a piece of paper to prevent possible shorts to the PC case is sufficient (I have done this with standard disks for short periods). Otherwise use whatever brackets are convenient to stop it moving around and hitting other things in your PC - tie wraps will do.

Do take care about ESD while you are doing this though.

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