Thin Clients: SATA DOM 


In July 2016 Ben Monilaws emailed me about using SATA SSDs in a thin client. My thanks to him for sharing this with us.

One thing that had always bothered him was the relative scarcity of the SATA disk-on-module devices that most of the newer thin clients use for storage.

With a little thought he came up with a relatively cheap solution to finding a high capacity SATA DOM to plug straight into your thin client providing you don't mind voiding a warranty...

Mass market SSDs are usually packaged in the same form factor as 2.5" disks as they are sold as drop-in replacements for existing hard drives. From various reviews of SSDs (where the reviewer had disassembled the SSD) Ben noticed that in some cases the internal circuit board was actually a lot smaller than the external plastic or metal housing would imply. A typical example is shown below.

Inside a SATA SSD casing

This particular SSD is the SanDisk SSD Plus. SanDisk have been making very cost-competitive SSD's of late and this was selling in the price range of $50-$60 (US).

He bought one, scrapped the casing and found that the SATA PCB plugged straight into the onboard SATA socket of his Wyse Z50 without fouling the case or other components. As it fitted the Z50 this means this particular SSD will also work for the Wyse Z90, the Cisco VXC-6215 and might do in the HP t610.

You still also have the option of using it on the end of a SATA cable in those cases where it fouls any covers if plugged straight into the socket. In those cases it is easier to find room for the smaller module on it's own rather than the full 2.5" form factor housing. Ben took such an approach (double-sided tape and a SATA extension cable) to fit one in an hp t5740.

Alternative SSDs

Here are some other models that look like they would work and have much more storage than the standard 2GB or 4GB DOMs that they could replace.

  • SanDisk SSD Plus 120gb SDSSDA-120G-G25
  • SanDisk Ultra Plus 256gb SDSSHP-256g
  • SanDisk Ultra II 240gb
  • SanDisk Standart G25 128GB

Finding your SSD

Ben started by searching using Google Images to locate SanDisk SSDs that had been disassembled and photographed as part of a review. When you spot one that looks suitable, following the link to the page that includes the image will let you identify the model number.

These are typical images he found in SSD reviews from shopper.life, www.storagereview.com and www.ssdlabs.net.

Inside a SSD Inside a SSD Inside a SSD

My thanks again to Ben for sharing this information.