Additional HDs on HD sleds

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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I'm somehow obsessed with the idea of putting more than four 3.5" drives into my Mac Pro. Right now, all four sleds are occupied plus there is one WD Raptor in the lower ODD bay (-> one onboard SATA-connector still available).

My last idea was to use the case of an old CD-drive to mount two 3.5" HDs on it at right angle and customize the ODD sled to make the connectors accessible, so that the result would be similar to transIntl's Pro Caddy 2 (which is simply too expensive for what it does)
Unfortunately, 3.5" drives are just slightly too long to fit into a CD-drive case at right angle... :(

My current idea is to attach an additional drive to one of the drives on the sleds by connecting the two drives with two thin sheets of metal utilizing their screw holes on the sides (see attached image, just a sketch, not a masterpiece of art ;)).
Now the question is whether there is enough room between the drive on the sled and the one on the next sled to fit in the metal sheet and a screw. I can't remember right now and my Mac is busy at the moment; it would be a slight pain to draw it out anyway, disconnecting all the cables etc.

Does anybody happen to have their Mac Pro open right now to take an inspecting look...? Or any experience concerning such enterprises – I mean except using cable ties , this is not about mounting an SSD but a full-grown hard disk. :)
 

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flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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Ah, you're right, that's what I did back when I added HDs to my PowerMac G5! Well, actually, the video card back then was short enough. And I still have the cradle I taped in... cool. :)
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=8273616#post8273616
I'll look into that...

Is the good ol' X1900 XT I'm using actually 16x? If not, it wouldn't even hurt to move it up.

But I'm still open to suggestions on whether or how it is possible to add additional HDs to the sleds... :)
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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Ah, you're right, that's what I did back when I added HDs to my PowerMac G5! Well, actually, the video card back then was short enough. And I still have the cradle I taped in... cool. :)
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=8273616#post8273616
I'll look into that...

Is the good ol' X1900 XT I'm using actually 16x? If not, it wouldn't even hurt to move it up.

But I'm still open to suggestions on whether or how it is possible to add additional HDs to the sleds... :)
You'd need to open the system and measure for clearances. I do think it's technically possible, but don't know for certain if there is anything in the way (empty slot 4), let alone if you've anything in slot's 3 and/or 4 that could be a problem.
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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There are only a short eSATA and a short USB card in slot 3 and 4, so concerning the clearance downwards, sled 1 thru 3 should work.
If there should be just too little room between the sleds to attach the metal sheets, I'll give rtrt's idea a try.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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There are only a short eSATA and a short USB card in slot 3 and 4, so concerning the clearance downwards, sled 1 thru 3 should work.
If there should be just too little room between the sleds to attach the metal sheets, I'll give rtrt's idea a try.
BTW, do you have anything in the 2nd optical bay?

You could take an old optical drive (DOA is perfect), and disassemble it for the metal plates. One of those can make a wonderful mount. Just drill some holes. ;)

Another option would be to use Noise Blocker X Swings (assuming you want to stick with an over and under configuration for each HDD bay location), and remove the rubber bushings.
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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I have a Raptor in the second optical bay using silencing 5.25"->3.5" brackets. (see my original post)

I like the concept of tranIntl's Pro Caddy 2 (see 1st post) but find it too expensive – and too much of a hassle to copy; would have to be too accurate with the slides at the bottom etc.

EDIT: Wait a minute... Maybe there's just enough room below my SuperDrive for two HDs on one set of those X-Swings to fit in... Is there anybody who tried that already?
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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I have a Raptor in the second optical bay using silencing 5.25"->3.5" brackets. (see my original post)

I like the concept of tranIntl's Pro Caddy 2 (see 1st post) but find it too expensive – and too much of a hassle to copy; would have to be too accurate with the slides at the bottom etc.

EDIT: Wait a minute... Maybe there's just enough room below my SuperDrive for two HDs on one set of those X-Swings to fit in... Is there anybody who tried that already?
Missed the Raptor when I re-scanned the first post. :eek: But I asked to be safe. :p

You could even pull the optical drive, and place it in an external. I know it's not ideal, but it's cheaper than the ready-made solutions. You can use both plates off of a old/DOA optical drive (1 plate per ODD bay) to hold a total of 4x 3.5" drives.

And yes, the X-Swing is meant to fit 2x 3.5" drives in a single 5.25" bay. :) That would solve your immediate need I think, as I've the impression you're only looking to stuff in 1x drive right now.

The suggestion of pulling the optical drive and using that bay as well, was just in case you need more than 1x additional drive (now, or later).
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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And yes, the X-Swing is meant to fit 2x 3.5" drives in a single 5.25" bay. :) That would solve your immediate need I think, as I've the impression you're only looking to stuff in 1x drive right now.
I understood that the X-Swing is meant for two drives. ;)
What I meant was whether that two-pack would fit into the ODD cage below the SuperDrive, since two 3.5" drives stacked are a few millimetres higher than a CD drive plus there are about three mms between the drives. But I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and pull my Mac Pro out of its corner to check that myself; but hey, this way I can kill two birds with one stone and examine how much dust my Accelero S1rev2 has caught in its first few weeks.
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
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Aug 11, 2009
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Just had my Mac Pro open and there are exactly 5cm of room below the superdrive in the ODD cage; with a 3.5" drive being around 2.4cm high and the space between the two drives in the X-Swing, I doubt that it would fit in, let alone that the screws that attach the pack to the cage would have to fit the holes on the cage exactly (or I'd have to drill another set of holes into the cage).

But: I had a look at the HD sleds and there is enough room for the metal sheets and screws to proceed with my original idea (see attached image and first post) :), albeit it would only work for the 3rd sled since below the 1st is the fan assembly, below the rim of the 2nd is the support for long PCIe cards and below the 4th also low-profile PCIe cards are in the way.
But hey, now I can pop in a 6th hard drive and populate the remaining ODD SATA-connector – as soon as I can afford the jump to 5x 1TB or even 5x 1.5TB :cool: for data. And one day the Raptor will be replaced with a neat SSD... to be continued... :)
 

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nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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What I meant was whether that two-pack would fit into the ODD cage below the SuperDrive, since two 3.5" drives stacked are a few millimetres higher than a CD drive plus there are about three mms between the drives. But I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and pull my Mac Pro out of its corner to check that myself; but hey, this way I can kill two birds with one stone and examine how much dust my Accelero S1rev2 has caught in its first few weeks.
No, you misunderstood. I was under the impression that it would fit 2x drives in a single 5.25" bay.

But with this post, I went back and took a closer look at Noiseblocker's site (rather than FrozenCPU), and it's not clear at all. There's a few case brands mentioned, which it may, but at this point (not clearly stated), I don't think it would actually fit in a single bay either (thinking about the actual drive dimensions + spacing).

I've never actually had my hands on a set, as my case already has rubber grommets for vibration reduction (designed with them in mind, and included in the parts pack).

Just had my Mac Pro open and there are exactly 5cm of room below the superdrive in the ODD cage; with a 3.5" drive being around 2.4cm high and the space between the two drives in the X-Swing, I doubt that it would fit in, let alone that the screws that attach the pack to the cage would have to fit the holes on the cage exactly (or I'd have to drill another set of holes into the cage).
See above. It appears they won't fit into a single 5.25" bay with both drives attached. :(

But: I had a look at the HD sleds and there is enough room for the metal sheets and screws to proceed with my original idea (see attached image and first post) :), albeit it would only work for the 3rd sled since below the 1st is the fan assembly, below the rim of the 2nd is the support for long PCIe cards and below the 4th also low-profile PCIe cards are in the way.
But hey, now I can pop in a 6th hard drive and populate the remaining ODD SATA-connector – as soon as I can afford the jump to 5x 1TB or even 5x 1.5TB :cool: for data. And one day the Raptor will be replaced with a neat SSD... to be continued... :)
It does appear the X-Swing will work in this capacity once you remove the rubber dampeners from the metal plates (assuming you don't want to bother with DIY). ;)
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
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Aug 11, 2009
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No, you misunderstood. I was under the impression that it would fit 2x drives in a single 5.25" bay.
That's what I was talking about in the first post you quoted...

See above. It appears they won't fit into a single 5.25" bay with both drives attached. :(
... and confirming in the second one you quoted. :)

It does appear the X-Swing will work in this capacity once you remove the rubber dampeners from the metal plates (assuming you don't want to bother with DIY). ;)
Hey, being more or less ambidextrous doesn't mean being all thumbs. :) (Shoot, doesn't really work in English; German for "to be all thumbs" is "to have two left hands".)
I'll just have to make up my mind whether I simply drill holes through the metal sheets or even tap these holes... What do you think, would simple holes be sufficient?
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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Hey, being more or less ambidextrous doesn't mean being all thumbs. :) (Shoot, doesn't really work in English; German for "to be all thumbs" is "to have two left hands".)
I know what you mean. My mom's family is german.

I'll just have to make up my mind whether I simply drill holes through the metal sheets or even tap these holes... What do you think, would simple holes be sufficient?
It won't snug the plates to the drives properly if you tap the plates (drives are tapped), so just drill the holes. Easy. :D
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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It won't snug the plates to the drives properly if you tap the plates (drives are tapped), so just drill the holes. Easy. :D
Ah, 'course you're right, stupid me. :)

Now I'll just have to save some money for the new drives... :( ... :)
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
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Sorry for the stupid question, but does the X-Swing fit in the optical bay or not?
Placing two 3.5" drives in the lower or upper optical bay would be really nice.

Physically they do fit in there (upper bay, stacked), but I just tested it without a proper mounting solution.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Apr 28, 2004
3,105
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AFAIK, You can't fit 2 hard drives into a single optical bay. The math doesn't add up: optical drives are less than 2 inches tall, hard drives are 1 inch or greater.

You can fit 3 into 2 optical bays using something like this:
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=2373

See how tight a squeese 3 in 2 is? 2 in 1 would be impossible.

There are cheaper ones than that. That's just an example.
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
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UK
Two 3.5" drives are indeed higher than a 5.25" drive, but in fact the Pro has a little space between the two drives plus a little more room in the upper bay.

As I said, I tested it with two drives (one regular 3.5" drive and a 2x2.5" to 3.5" drive carrier). It's pretty tight, but it fits.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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Physically they do fit in there (upper bay, stacked), but I just tested it without a proper mounting solution.
The X Swing will add a few millimeters as it has some space between the drives.

i have a feeling if you simply sit the 2 xswing linked drives on top of a lower suprdrive. say with some thin vibration absorbent material in between, it might fit.

clearance from the top of the case will be the determinant i guess
Nice idea. :) I don't recall if the upper section of the ODD carrier is taller or not though, and I doubt many would be willing to cut the top portion out to make additional room (and it would be tough to get it in/out if you got it all put together if the carrier indeed does have to be modified).

Can someone take measurements?

Two 3.5" drives are indeed higher than a 5.25" drive, but in fact the Pro has a little space between the two drives plus a little more room in the upper bay.

As I said, I tested it with two drives (one regular 3.5" drive and a 2x2.5" to 3.5" drive carrier). It's pretty tight, but it fits.
The X Swing adds some space between the drives, so it will be taller than 2x drives just stacked one atop another. So I'm not so sure it could be fit into the lower ODD bay (upper occupied by an ODD).

But reverse might do it (rtrt's idea). It would need to be tried (as I'm not sure about the top part of the ODD carrier not being taller without cutting it out), as there's no way to be sure otherwise IMO. :( So we need a guinea pig. :D :p
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 11, 2009
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But reverse might do it (rtrt's idea). It would need to be tried (as I'm not sure about the top part of the ODD carrier not being taller without cutting it out), as there's no way to be sure otherwise IMO. :( So we need a guinea pig. :D :p
I think the ODD carrier doesn't even have a solid top, IIRC...
So there is some room to the top of the case anyway.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,718
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I think the ODD carrier doesn't even have a solid top, IIRC...
So there is some room to the top of the case anyway.
Sweet if that's the case. My recollection it was solid at the top, but it's been over a year since I dumped mine ('08). (Minor detail that's easy to forget :eek:).
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,718
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you can see the open top and folded over edges here in this upside down pic.

not sure it helps much tho - someone is going to have to try it and see if it fits.
I don't consider that open, as it has the cross members on top (structural integrity and mounting points). But I didn't recall it appearing that open (amount of missing metal compared to essentially a solid sheet :eek:).

We'd need measurements from a drive mounted in the bottom/lower location (top of drive) to the metal on top. And it might need a mm or so for the mounts in the case to fit the slots cut into the metal (to be deducted from the measurement to get a real clearance value).