This is kind of an obscure deal, but hear me out. Remember last week when I mentioned that? When you perform a laptop drive-ectomy, you're left with that original drive, all naked and with nowhere to go.
That's where an enclosure comes into play. It turns a previously internal hard drive into a USB-powered external one. That's what I call getting extra bang for your upgrade buck.
Enclosures tend to run pretty cheap, but here's one that's cheap: Shop4tech has 2.5-inch SATA-to-USB drive enclosure for $5.73 shipped. That's after applying coupon code VIP18 at checkout. (Even without it, the enclosure's a steal at its $6.99 sale price.)
This no-brand unit is designed expressly for 2.5-inch SATA drives. It comes with a manual, USB cable, and even a carrying case. The specs mention both Windows and Mac compatibility.
As I explained last week, the hard-drive upgrade procedure goes something like this: Install your new drive in the enclosure, copy everything over from the laptop, then swap the two drives. After you've checked to make sure everything works and your data is intact, wipe the old drive--now residing in the enclosure--and use it as secondary or backup storage.
Want more details? Check out this story on using free tools to clone a hard drive. There's some work involved, but it's well worth it.
Bonus deal: Speaking of storage, Newegg has a 1TB external hard drive for $69.99 shipped. (Use coupon code EMCYVZP24.) I've seen that price before, but there's almost always a rebate involved. Not this time.