Building SSD flash drives can be tricky.
But, don’t worry!
With the help of the tips and guides in this post, you will not only learn how to build your first SSD flash drive but also things to consider when creating an SSD flash drive.
Things like the various compatibility issues and making sure that every component or part is compatible with one another.
Common Building Mistakes
There are three common mistakes most people make when they try to build their very first SSD flash drive, I also made these mistakes, but I will show you these common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Buying a non-compatible SSD Enclosure Case
The very first thing you should look out for when building SSD flash drives is to know your SSD interface/protocol then make sure you buy a compatible SSD enclosure case that supports the SSD interface you own or want to buy.
This means that if your SSD is an M.2 SATA or NVMe SSD (PCIe based), you need to find an enclosure that works with that particular SSD interface because we have different SSD enclosure cases in the market, you need to know your SSD size and type then find out if the enclosure case supports both the SSD type and size.
Example: You buy an NVME M.2 512 SSD, and you want to turn that SSD to an external SSD drive you can use for large and fast file transfers. Before buying any random SSD enclosure you see on the market, make sure to check if the SSD enclosure can accommodate an NVME M.2 SSD.
There are different SSD Interface/Protocol in the market. You can also call them SSD types.
We have the SATA, M.2 SATA based, mSATA and NVMe M. 2 SSD PCIe based.
For building an SSD flash drive, we would be using the smaller SSD sizes or interface like the NVMe M.2, M.2 SATA, and mSATA SSDs.
Checking this SSD to SSD enclosure case compatibility is usually straightforward, it would be written clearly on the SSD enclosure box or as part of the specifications listed on the purchase site.
Mistake #2 – Check for compatible SSD Keys
Another common mistake when building an SSD flash drive is not checking for compatible SSD keys on your SSD drive.
NVMe M.2, M.2 SATA, and mSATA SSDs are the drives we are going to be using, and these drives all have different keys. SSD enclosure cases usually support a single SSD key either M key or B Key or M & B Key.
The solution to this is knowing your SSD key, so when buying an enclosure case to build an SSD flash drive, you can choose the one that’s compatible with your SSD.
Mistake #3 – Know your SSD form factor or size
When working with M.2 SSDS, they come in different sizes, and their various sizes shouldn’t be taken lightly because it could break your SSD flash drive building process.
Different SSD enclosures work with varying sizes of SSD.
These M.2 SATA NGFF sizes are 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and if you want the actual dimensions – 30x22mm, 42x22mm, 60x22mm and 80x22mm.
The solution here is to take note of your SSD form factor or size so you know it will work with the enclosure case you want to purchase or you purchase an enclosure that will work for your SSD.
How to Build SSD Flash Drives
The best way to build SSD flash drives is to do these three simple things.
- Find the right M.2 SSD for you
- Buy a compatible SSD enclosure case
- Build your SSD flash drive
Let’s go more in-depth on these points.
1. Finding the right M.2 SSD
One thing you should know is that SSD is not cheap, but they are worth every penny. So when trying to find the right M.2 SSD for your SSD flash drive, you need to put some thoughts into the following.
- Your Budget
- Your Desire
- The Size of your M.2 SSD
The money you are willing to spend on a Solid State Drive plays a significant role in building an SSD flash drive; it is the difference between creating the ultimate/fastest SSD flash drive or a regular SSD flash drive.
The best M.2 SSDs in the market now are NVMe (PCIe-based SSDs), and boy are they extremely fast and expensive, but they are also worth every buck.
Regular M.2 SSDs in the market is significantly faster than all hard disk drive (HDD) and would be considered a valued upgrade.
The budget you have determines if you would get lightening-fast read and write speeds that would make your file transfer 10x faster. Currently, the best M.2 SSD got a real-world performance of 1,552MBps sequential read speed, and 2,372MBps sequential write speed.
More importantly, the copy benchmarks when using one of the best M.2 SSD are truly mindblowing. You can copy a game folder at 958MBps. Wow, that’s revolutionary right there!
It is essential to know your desire in all of this. What do you want? What do you want to achieve with an SSD flash drive? I can suggest some few personal passions of mine, maybe that would help you create yours.
- I want to be able to copy my full system backup files of about 2TB under 60 minutes or so.
- To be able to transfer a full PC game folder (100GB) in less than 10 minutes.
- I don’t want my external storage drive to fail me during important work meetings or presentations.
- I don’t want to lose precious files due to USB flash drive failures or virus crashes.
- I want to have an external storage drive that can last for at least five years with five years warranty.
- I want to have a powerful yet portable storage drive I can put in my pocket, go around and get work done fast.
All these are just some of my M.2 SSD desires. Some of them are wild but still totally do-able. So, know your wishes, what you want, and you can also share some of them with us in the comments below.
No matter how unrealistic they may be, share them.
The Size of the M.2 SSD
The size is key to how far you can go and how much you can take along with you.
SSD flash drives are extremely powerful and portable, and the physical size remains the same regardless of how many Gigabytes it has. You can get an M.2 SDD starting from 120GB, up to 2TB all in your pocket.
So depending on your work, the importance you place on your “special” files, you may need to get a large capacity M.2 SSD.
If you are starting or you are a casual SSD user, I recommend starting with at least a 120GB M.2 SSD, but for the SSD grown-ups and enthusiasts that know what real power is like, I recommend 512GB – 1TB M.2 SSDs.
I see the number of Gigabytes you have in your M.2 SSD as ammunition. The more you have, the better your chances at surviving.
2. Buying a Compatible SSD Enclosure Case
Alright, you finally got your dream M.2 SSD based on your budget, crazy but realistic desires and amount of gigabytes (size) you want. Now, it’s time to buy a solid-state drive enclosure case.
I would not recommend buying just any SSD enclosure case; you come across first because they could be a total waste of money and we wouldn’t want that.
So, what you need to do is buy a compatible SSD enclosure case, and I’m going to show you how.
But before we go into that, you need to identify and know some things about your SSD first — things like the following.
- What key does my SSD have? Answers: B Key, M key or B & M Key
- What is my SSD form factor or size/dimension? Answers: 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280
- What is my SSD interface? – Answers: mSATA, M.2 SATA based or M.2 NVMe PCIe based
Answer these three easy questions about your solid state drive and picking out the right SSD enclosure should be like a walk in the park.
Buying the right enclosure case for your SSD should be done following these simple steps.
- Browse to your SSD enclosure product page
- Open your eyes
- Look at the product details page
- Look out for Compatibility. Here you will see all the SSDs that are compatible with the enclosure case.
- Also look out for Not Compatible, so you know what SSD drives don’t work with this particular enclosure case.
If you followed these simple five steps, you just saved yourself some money, and I wish I had someone telling me all this when I started my SSD flash drive journey but luckily for you, you have me.
3. Building your SSD flash drive
This is the final stage and is relatively easy to do because all you need to do with put your M.2 SSD into your SSD enclosure case and voila you have built your first SSD flash drive!
Well, even if it’s that easy. We will still guide you through the entire process.
When you buy an SSD enclosure case, it usually comes with the case, a screwdriver, and USB 3.1 cable.
So, it’s quite easy.
- Unscrew the SSD external enclosure case with the screwdriver.
- Lay everything out.
- Place your M.2 SSD into the enclosure case, make sure it fits (Very important).
- Cover the SSD external enclosure case with the SSD inside using the screwdriver.
- Plug in the USB 3.1 cable to the case
- Plug your SSD flash drive to your computer and start using. (You can format the SSD if you want).
I hope this article has made things clearer for you to understand how to build SSD flash drives (the right way). Before I created my first SSD flash drive, I struggled a lot, wasted money building the wrong SSD external enclosure case for my mSATA SSD. But all that prepared me and made me able to guide you through your own first SSD flash drive build.
This is only the beginning to the new era of SSD flash drives, say your goodbyes to USB flash drives, external hard drives. Now, is the time for portable external storage revolution and it begins with you.