If you've switched your laptop to an SSD but you're struggling to find space for all your data, there are plenty of creative storage solutions. The trick is to pick the one that works for your situation – and that's all about purpose and priorities.

Feed the Beast

Some laptops allow lots of room for upgrades, the first thing to always do is find out what is possible by looking for a guide or opening it up (the ROG G752 for example allows for two M.2 SSDs in RAID 0 and a SATA drive!). If you can put extra SSDs in there then do it, then install more games on them without worrying about speed.


Insert an extra drive

Subbing a redundant optical drive (DVD or Blu-ray) for a new hard disk may be fiddly, but it's worth the effort if you don't already have the space and want everything in one box. In most cases, you'll need a 2.5” SATA hard drive or SSD with a max height of 9.5mm, and a caddy to adapt the drive to the housing. You don't necessarily need a slim-profile SSD, but the max height you'll be able to fit in is usually 9.5mm.


A key consideration here is the speed of the SATA port on your optical drive. Optical drives are SATA I, which run speeds of 1.5Gb/s. At this level getting a SATA II or III hard drive/SSD won't be a wise investment, but SATA I drives may be hard to come by. However, you might find the port is SATA II even though the drive is SATA I. Then you're in luck since this runs at 3Gb/s, which can make a world of difference. External cases for your optical drive are available so you can still use it whenever you need to.

Add an external drive

External hard drives are simple, practical, and, with the right data transfer port, incredibly fast. Sometimes this is all you need to carry around with you. For example, if you're considering dropping your new internal HDD into a SATA I slot, you'd actually be getting slower transfer speeds than through an external drive connected by USB 3.1 which runs at speeds of up to 10Gb/s, or potentially even faster by using Thunderbolt 3.

Factors to weigh up include the speed of the drive itself, how handy it is if you travel a lot, and whether you want to pay for the freedom of portable USB-powered drives or completely wireless external hard drives.

Travelair N (WHD-A2)

Make the most of SD card slots

High-end SD and Micro SD cards are tumbling in price so quickly that they're now a tempting alternative, especially when it is so small so you can carry so many of them without being encumbered. Some memory cards can clock transfer speeds of up to 280MB/s for read and 250MB/s for write, while storage sizes are ranging up to 512GB, useful for switching between storage functions and 4K cameras. Here are some specs to consider when shopping for memory cards.

Memory card specs

You can even control the cost/benefit question by considering whether you need the transfer speeds of UHS-II for your files.

Give in to the cloud 

Cloud services rely on fast internet access to access your data, but they also mean your files are available wherever there's a connection. ROG laptops come with exclusive WebStorage packages for cloud services, and providers like Dropbox or Google Drive also offer great services, which can be surprisingly effective at handling large numbers of small files you only need occasionally. And if taking advantage of free services for specific tasks proves to be the difference between needing new kit or not, it's worth considering.


Build your own NAS

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) is the option for serious control freaks. Ideal if you want access to all your files wherever you go, dedicated NAS devices allow you to instantly connect to your very own personal cloud as big as you want on several drives if you desire, and in RAID configuration (for speed or redundancy). Several routers such as the ASUS RT-AC5300 or RT-AC88U allow you to have a NAS without actually purchasing a NAS - all you need to do is connect a hard drive to the router and you can access all the files on it with AiCloud, even when you're not home.


For a bit of fun, you can turn an old PC or a cheap Rasperry Pi into a NAS by using FreeNAS and plugging in hard drives in RAID.


By Michael Edwards