Adding A Holder For An Internal Hard Drive

I have a couple of computer questions, but I’ll post them separately.

First one should be easy. I went to Tiger Direct and Micro Center in Chicago, but the people at the stores, don’t seem to get what I’m asking, so I’ll ask here.

I’m sure it’s me describing it wrong. What I need to know is what you call this part.

Here is the long of it.

In my compuer there is a mother board and space to connect FOUR sata devices. It came with two connected. One for the CD/DVD drive and one for the internal hard drive.

So far so good.

Then I added an additional hard drive. Now the orginal hard drive is in, for a lack of a better term, a “bay” or sorts.

When I went to add another hard drive I simply slid the extra drive into the “bay” and secured it in with screws and then connected it to the mother board.

Again all works fine.

Now I was thinking with the Christmas season coming up, I see a lot of SSD drives. What I would like to is buy a SSD and put my OS and programs on it. This should speed up the time it takes to boot right?

Anyway, I have a fourth sata connector on the motherboard, so that is not an issue.

Here’s my problem. Where the orignal hard drive was there was the “bay” device. It had two bays. One occupied by the orignal and now one occupied by the extra hard drive I put in.

So I went to the computer store to see if I could buy a “larger bay” with three spaces. That way I could put the orignal hard drive, the additional hard drive and the new SSD drive in, the one I’d like to purchase.

Now none of the clerks at the computer store seem to get what I am saying. They all think I’m looking for screws to mount the drive in the brackets. I tell them there are only two open slots or bays.

So does this make sense? Sorry to be so long, but I have trouble describing it. I guess I could just put the SSD drive in next to the others, but it won’t be secured in. And I don’t want to duct tape it in or anything like that?

Does anyone know what the “things” that holds the hard drives in place, in your computer is called. That is what I need to buiy. One that has three open bays.

I don’t want to remove the original hard drive as that is a 1tb storage and the other one I installed is a 2tb hard drive. I was planning on getting a much smaller (and cheaper) SSD drive, as I just need to run the O/S and some programs (like MS Office) off of it.


Well there are 2.5" to 3.5" adapter rails, which will let you mount an SSD in a bay designed for a 3.5" drive, like this:

3.5" drive bay. But I’m not aware of anyone selling them. They’re part of the case, and generally either the case has them or it doesn’t. You might, however, have an empty 5.25" drive bay, and there are adapters that could convert it for use with an SSD. Likely you need an adapter in any event, since most SSDs are 2.5" not 3.5".

You can also just stick it in there somewhere. There’s no moving parts so unlike an hdd it can sit in any orientation and even move around without any ill effects. Industrial grade velcro stickies will do nicely to make it stay put.

Buy an external hard drive.

If you cannot find an external SSD to your liking, just buy the internal SSD, an external hard drive enclosure, A goes into B and connect to C and there you go.


I think Gorsnak got it. The confusion is that the number of drive bays is dictated by the case, it’s not something you can “swap out” and replace. So when you’re asking for parts, that’s probably what’s throwing people.

The good news is that SSDs are almost always 2.5" which is tiny, so you have options. If your case has a floppy bay, you can put the SSD in there. If you have two optical bays, you can find an adapter to let your 5.25" optical bay hold a (couple) 2.5" SSD, those should be cheap and might have already shipped with your case.

If you only have one optical bay and it’s filled by a DVD drive, just rip the thing out and put the SSD in instead. How often do you use your optical drive? Hah.

Did you miss, or overlook, the part where the SSD was going to be set up as boot media and the OS volume? Or, having read that, are you actually proposing using an external drive as permanent primary boot volume?


Well, it’s doable, I guess, as long as (A) it’s E-SATA and not USB (I sincerely doubt even USB 3 would make a good high-performance boot/OS/swap I/O channel), and (B) the drive itself is tucked away someplace secure and not likely to fall off and unplug itself.

BTW, many modern computer cases have a small dedicated 2.5" drive frame somewhere. Often part of the bottom of the chassis. Typically, that’s intended precisely for this: 2.5" SSDs, because they’re mechanically sturdy, solid-state reliable (less likelihood of having to pull and replace a drive), and generate almost no heat.

You may want to see if you have such a mounting frame in your case someplace.

Murphy’s law guarantees that he’ll need that optical drive just after removing it*. Of course, it would make sense as a removable external optical drive. More sense, IMHO, than making the SSD (permanent high-performance boot and OS device) the removable external (Blakeyrat’s suggestion).

*Come to think of it, this may be more guaranteed than even Murphy can make it. Since the new SDD is being installed as a boot and OS device, odds are good AndyLee will need an optical drive immediately after installing the SDD, in order to install the operating system.

Actually I would go back to square one and install the SSD, the 1 TB and 2TB drives in the computer, and use external enclosures for any other drives left over where there is no room. Prioritize the importance/use of a drive relative to its location (internal or external).

You can do some amazing things with zip ties.

My point precisely. As I alluded to later, the optical drive would be the most expendable for permanent internal mounting, since it may get no use whatsoever after loading the OS DVD. Make that an external. Hell, external DVD drives are commoner than flies and cheaper than dirt.

All of that said, since I always scratchbuild my systems, I always make a point of having more mounting bays than I have immediate need for. This will probably change when I get 'round to building my low-power small-form-factor server, since SFF/HTPC cases usually have fewer than 3 bays total.

This is why I still use nothing but tower cases.

If you feel comfortable moving stuff and you don’t have some proprietary motherboard, you can get a case with decent expansion for cheap at Micro Center. Fortunately hard drives aren’t the power hogs they used to be (I used to run several 10K SCSI drives and then WD Raptors that got so hot they needed air blowing over them), but the other possible problem with cramming to much in a small case is the power supply might not be up to the task.

For an SSD, this might work fine - if the issue is that there just aren’t enough drive cages but plenty of space, zip tying a 3.5 to 2.5 adapter like this: will probably work fine, since the SSD isn’t susceptible to minor shock or vibration issues.

I have my SSD taped to the inside of the side panel. It’s been about a year, and so far so good. SSD drives don’t really have vibration and moving parts to worry about. Just make sure there is adequate circulation and you should be fine.

I’ve had hard drives actually sitting on a table beside the computer, with the power and data cables coming out of the case. Those were full height SCSI drives. If the computer won’t get knocked around or shook much nearly any method of mounting drives should be fine. Just keep the circuit boards from touching metal.

This is more or less what I would say. SSD drives are small, light, and have no moving parts; they really do not need to be mounted to anything. If you want to ensure proper placement in the case, however, you can use zip ties or twist ties to secure the *cables *that are attached to the drive. The SSD will stay wherever the cables are attached.

thanks for the replies.

But what exactly do you call that “case”

I guess I should simply remove it and take it to the computer store. I know one poster said, they’re not made to be replaced, but since you can build a computer from scratch, they must be sold somehow right?

I am a bit leery of just taping or zip tying the SSD drive. Can someone tell me how to do it? It’s a desktop,so it rarely gets moved at all, unless once in awhile I accidently kick it.

The “case” is the (usually) metal box your motherboard and drives are in. The shell of your computer.

Usually inside the computer case there is a rectangular metal rack where the drives are mounted. If there is any free space below the rack, just suspend the drive from that with zip ties. Not too loose, not too tight. Or if there is a free drive bay put a piece of cardboard in the bottom of the bay and then tie wrap the drive down on it, not too tight.

you could place a SSD on top of your DVD drive. gravity will hold it there, a few pieces of tape will keep it from vibrating.

An SSD is effectively a memory chip.

Get some good quality (not the cheap stuff) Velcro or double sided foam style sticky tape find a surface and you’re done. It might not satisfy your sense of aesthetics but it’s really all you need.