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Internal Hard Drive in 3.5 in external bay?

Posted on 2000-02-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Can I install an internal hard drive in a 3.5 in external bay?  According to my computer's specs, I have 2 3.5 external bays, 1 5.25 external bay, and 1 3.5 in. internal bay.  The CD ROM is in the 5.25, the floppy drive in one 3.5 in external, and the original hard drive is in the 3.5 in internal.

I want to install a second internal hard drive.  Possible?  Special specs for drive I purchase?
Question by:suobs

Accepted Solution

sandman97289 earned 120 total points
ID: 2543382
suobs, I don't see why you would not be able to place an internal hard disk into an external bay. All hard disks are 3.5 inches. The only thing is that you shouldn't take off the front panel of the cabinet when installing this hard drive.

Now about which hard drive to buy, I think the most important facture in buying one is what the RPM (rotations per minute) of the hard drive disks are. This is the most deciding factor in performance of a hard drive. Assuming that you are going for an IDE hard disk, Seagate hard disks are reliable, and the Quantum hard drives are very good too. I'm sure there are many varried opinions about this though. One thing that most people get lured into buying are ATA66 hard drives versus the ATA33 ones. There is not really much difference in performance between them, it's the RPM that makes the difference....

Hope this helps :-)

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 2543558
mount the second hard drive in the second external (under the 3.5 floppy) bay.


Expert Comment

ID: 2544050
Before you buy your Hard Drive, check out you mother-board, how old is it? Is it PIII/II,Socket 7 or 486 etc? What is the maximum size your board will take? Does it have an IDE hard drive now or a SCSI? What operating system are you using and do you really need another Drive? There are many questions you have to ask before a decision can be made. Some older boards for example don't like drives bigger than 512mb and you have to use special boot loading software to use the whole drive. Some operating systems only go up to 2gb or 4gb, if you buy a large drive would you have to partition it many times? If the computer is on a network what happens if all these new partitions go above drive f ( first network drive in Novell for example). OK, maybe I'm getting carried away with myself, but there are a few things you need to find out before anyone can give you advice about the spec of an additional hard drive.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 2544924
If the present internal bay has screw holes in the bottom. Then you can slip out the current drive, fix the new drive upside down through the bottom fixings, most modern drives don't mind this, (use screws with low profile heads, a bit of electrical tape over the heads doesn't go amiss either) and fix the original back in on the side mountings, saving your external bay for harddrive number 3 or a internal zip or LS 120 drive or whatever if you want.

Fitting it in the external bay is fine though if you don't want to use it for anything else. Mounting under the floppy drive is preferable or you might get the cables a bit tangled.

If I don't have a bay, I just drill a couple of holes wherever and mount it where it fits. You might have space alongside the 3.5 bays and be able to see a way to mount it sideways up there. Then you could get 3xhdd and another external. Just fix it solidly so it can't move and you can't go wrong.

Since you have 2 IDE devices in the system, (HDD and CDrom)  you need to check whether your system has 2 IDE channels, you will need 2 channels to use a 3rd device, since each channel can only have 2 devices, a master and a slave connected to it. The master and slave settings are often marked on the drives, but if you don't see the jumper settings, post the makes and models of the drives you need them for here, and we can find them online for you.

You might need a new IDE cable, I have seen systems come built with the hdd and cdrom on seperate channels but each only having a 2 connector cable allowing only 1 device on each channel, you will need at least one 3 connector cable to put 2 drives on the same channel.

Well I am presuming your CD-rom is IDE because that is most common, if it seems to be connected to your soundcard, leave it be and connect the new harddrive to the same channel as the other one.

As a rough guide, if you PC is a 486 or early pentium and only has 2 places to put drive specs in the standard cmos settings in bios setup, then it is not likely to support drives bigger than 512Mb. If it has four this is good for drives bigger than 512mb. If you have a socket 5 or socket 7 motherboard, Pentium non-MMX it is not likely to support drives bigger than 8Gb, an updated bios might be available. if you have early socket super 7 or early slot 1 it may support bigger than 8Gb, or it may not, but a bios is likely to be available to upgrade support. If you have socket 370, I think all of those support 8Gb plus.

Bigger than 512 or bigger than 8Gb drive can be used with drive overlay software which major hardware manufacturers have their own freely downloadable versions of, this can cause some problems though, bios support is preferable.

If you don't need as much capacity as the latest drives on offer and want to save money, you can get a good deal here....


Road Warrior

Author Comment

ID: 2552851
Thanks for all the advice.  

Sandman got the points because his answer was the first and most straightforward, altho I appreciate all, especially RoadWarrier's clever solutions, which I will definitely consider.

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