iPod Solid State Drives

Solid state drives (SSDs) are a great alternative to the iPod Classic/Video’s mechanical hard drives. Many people perform SSD upgrades when their original hard drive breaks or just for the added benefits of using a flash based drive. There are a range of different SSD mods that can be installed on the iPods including CF (compact flash) cards, SD (secure digital) cards MSATA drives and 1.8″ ZIF drives.

Advantages of SSD in iPod:

  • Capacity; 1.8″ ZIF hard drives are rather limited in size, SSDs let you reach 1TB+
  • Lighter weight; shave a few grams off that iPod in your pocket.
  • Silent operation; no humming, buzzing, vibration or clicking!
  • Durability; having no moving parts makes the iPod more resistant to drops/bumps.
  • Faster read/write times;  less delay when changing between songs etc.
  • Battery life; some of the mods listed here actually extend battery life.

Disadvantages of SSD in iPod:

  • Price;  SSD price per gigabyte tends to be higher than HDDs but the gap is closing.
  • Heat;  SSD enabled iPods generally get a bit warmer when operating, nothing alarming, most heat is generated by mSATA based iPods.
  • Battery life; whilst some mods extend battery life, others use more power than a hard drive. Using an extended battery will give you even greater playback time than you originally had, even when using an SSD.

iPod solid state drive upgrade options

There are several different options for upgrading depending on your budget, model and desired capacity below is some mod compatibility information showing possible capacities. Please note, not all cards/drives are compatible with iPods, the following just shows the possible configurations.

iPod Classic 160GB (7th generation)

  • MSATA type adaptors (generic ZIF to MSATA/Tarkan iFlash) supports 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • 1.8″ ZIF SSD supports 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • SD card adaptors (Tarkan iFlash Solo/Dual) supports 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Compact Flash card Adaptors (generic ZIF to CF/iFlash) supports 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

The 7th generation supports a library of roughly 50,000 files.

iPod Classic 80GB, 120GB or 160GB (6th generation)

  • MSATA type adaptors (generic ZIF to MSATA/Tarkan iFlash) supports 128GB
  • 1.8″ ZIF SSD supports 64GB, 128GB
  • SD card adaptors (Tarkan iFlash Solo/Dual) supports 64GB, 128GB
  • Compact Flash card Adaptors (generic ZIF to CF/iFlash) supports 64GB, 128GB

The 80GB, 120GB and 6th generation 160GB iPod Classics all suffer from the LBA28 addressing limitation which prevents them from accessing more than 128GB of storage. If you wish to avoid this limitation you can install Rockbox on your device, alternatively you must source a 7th generation logic board to replace yours.
The 80GB, 120GB and 6th generation 160GB all support a library of roughly 50,000 files.

iPod Video (5th generation) 30GB, 60GB, 80GB

  • MSATA type adaptors (generic ZIF to MSATA/Tarkan iFlash) supports 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • 1.8″ ZIF SSD supports 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • SD card adaptors (Tarkan iFlash Solo/Dual) supports 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Compact Flash card Adaptors (generic ZIF to CF/iFlash) supports 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

The 5th generation 30GB supports a library of roughly 20,000 files whereas the 60GB and 80GB versions can handle roughly 50,000 files.

How to install an SSD in an iPod Classic

Installation is rather simple. Open the iPod and remove the old hard drive,  replace it with the new SSD ensuring all cables are connected securely. When you switch your iPod on it will prompt you to connect to iTunes. Plug the iPod into your computer and start iTunes, it will ask you to restore the iPod. Once the restore process has completed your device will start as normal. Transfer your media to the device and enjoy the upgrade!

Sounds good, but want some help?

We perform SSD mods and upgrades for the iPod Video and iPod Classic models via our mail in service, contact us for a quote!