Changing case of Dimension 9200 or... how to arrange 4 hard disks.

fischermx
fischermx used Ask the Experts™
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So, I have a Dell Dimension 9200. This computer has room for just two hard disks.
I need to put 4. I could add another disk below the floppy disk (yes, I need the floppy disk), but yet I need to add a 4th disk.
What can I do?
I was thinking in removing one of the two DVD players and put an adapter for the hard disk, but I'm not sure how convenient is that... I mean, even the other drive, doesn't have any ventilation.
What do you think?

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Commented:
Any specific reason they need to be internal? Could always pick up a cheap external (USB) enclosure and use that instead.

I don't know how some of the newer ones are, but Dell and many of the other OEMs typically have proprietary setups that don't really transfer well to other cases. Such as mounting points and things.
Gary CaseRetired
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Commented:
Two options ...

(1)  You can indeed mount one drive in lieu of the 2nd optical drive, if you don't need the 2nd optical drive.    Just get a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter and mount the disk there.   If you're concerned about the ventilation (or lack thereof) in that area, just use a hard drive cooler [e.g. http://www.buy.com/prod/startech-com-5-25-front-bay-mount-dual-fan-hdd-cooler-40mm-1-x-ball/q/loc/101/202956576.html ]     That, plus the drive you have space for below the floppy, would let you mount your 4 drives.

(2)  Use an external case and an e-SATA connection [NOT a USB connection -- that would slow the transfer rates down too much].       You could mount two drives in this case:  http://www.cooldrives.com/midudrnasaen.html
... and connect them to your internal SATA ports using one of these backplate adapters:
http://www.lindy-usa.com/2-port-esata-backplate-adapter/33236.html

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Commented:
@ ack154
>I don't know how some of the newer ones are, but Dell and many of the other OEMs typically have proprietary >setups that don't really transfer well to other cases. Such as mounting points and things.

Yes, that's what I'm affraid off, that's why I'm asking here. I don't know if I can just move my motherboard and all the stuff to a new case. Plus, besides being able remove my DVD players or the disk drive, I'm concerned about having the proper heat dissipation.
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Commented:
Along the same lines, you may not be able to use a 5.25" to 3.5" bracket adapter because I know some Dell cases do not mount the optical drive in a conventional manner.

I did some quick research, and it looks like the Dimension 9200 uses the same motherboard as an XPS 410, and from the following link, it says it is a BTX motherboard:

http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=2834&p=2

You SHOULD be able to move the components into a new case. The motherboard may be a proprietary model, but they should still conform to an established mounting standard.
Gary CaseRetired
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Commented:
I wouldn't switch cases ==> it's very hard to find a good BTX cases, as that form factor simply didn't "take off" and there are few aftermarket BTX cases.

I'd either mount the drives internally as I noted in my first comment;   or add your extra drives in an external eSATA case.    By the way, if you think you may eventually want to add even more drives, you may want to buy an external case that holds more than just the 2 extra drives you want now.    They are available in 4-drive, 6-drive, 8-drive (and even more) configurations.    The 2 and 4 drive cases are fairly reasonable in cost;   those that hold more tend to get a bit pricey.

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Commented:
I did not even know that BTX form factor existed :(

And yes, the 410 and Dimension 9200 are almost the same computer.

Somehow I don't feel comfortable with the feeling of having my HD's on a little cage besides my computer.
I rather get rid of the two DVD players and get an one external. Anyway, right now it seems I just need 1 more place to the 4th hardrive, because the 3rd is already below the floppy disk.
Actually, the first thing I thought was to remove the floppy disk and get an external, but the space between the two floppy disks bays are too close and I think the hard disks must have more space for ventilation.

So, just to get this in B/W..... Can't I put my motherboard on a big ATX case?


Author

Commented:
> So, just to get this in B/W..... Can't I put my motherboard on a big ATX case?

I will answer my self: No. And what a horrible thing is that BTX form factor.

I have my case opened right now, since a couple of weeks ago and it did seemed extrange to me that box of the CPU disipator and the extra fan, but I didn't see it as part of the case and form factor, I saw it more like some extra cooling.
This is an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4... and I don't see why it would be a problem to put this in a normal CPU.
The backside of the motherboard is fairly simple, just the Audio outputs and a bunch of USB...
Seems like it would fit the back of an ATX... so, what the problem is ?
The cooling? the bolt's places?

Commented:
The orientation is completely different. BTX and ATX are completely non-interchangeable.

Refer to: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/25

So... yeah, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place... no perfect solution exists.

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Commented:
> So... yeah, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place... no perfect solution exists.

Yeah, a new computer under my Christmas Tree =)

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Commented:
It IS possible to get BTX cases that have sufficient space for the drives you want to use AND your 2 optical drives -- there just aren't a lot of choices.     For example:  http://www.pacificgeek.com/product.asp?c=236&s=970&ID=48896&P=F

However, I'd still not recommend moving your components, as Dell's front panels often use proprietary connectors, so you may have a real hassle getting everything connected properly.    It would work -- but you'd probably have to do some reconfiguration of the cabling for the front panel switches.

Since you already have 3 drives installed, and simply need to add a 4th one, I'd just remove the lower optical drive and mount a drive in that location -- either with or without a cooler.     Note, however, that there's no reason to not "... feel comfortable with the feeling of having my HD's on a little cage besides my computer ...".    An external case protects your drives as much as an internal mounting;  and if you use an eSATA connection it's at the exact same interface speed, so there's NO difference in the performance.

But for your immediate needs, I'd just mount the 4th drive in the 2nd optical bay slot ... and ask Santa for a nice new computer this year :-)

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Commented:
Thank you very much for your ideas.

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