The replacement isn't too bad. The difference between running even an SSD internally vs externally is very noticeable.
Usb3 is slower than thunderbolt however thunderbolt external devices are very expensive. Just replace the drive internally. Took me $10 in tools, $10 for the adhesive kit to replace the screen and just paid attention to the walk through. It was easier than I thought.
The speeds now that i mounted it inside are a lot faster when I ran the same SSD externally via USB3
It will cost you more to use it externally via thunderbolt and will cost the same if you mount it internally. The cost of the USB enclosure washes out the cost of the parts needed.