Me. Plug'n Play type. So I shouldn't mess with a 2008 Mac pro 2nd optical bay...?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bejeeber, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. bejeeber, Jan 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014

    bejeeber macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2014
    Yeah I'm all thumbs and not known for tech savviness when in comes to installing computer hardware.

    I've done the normal PCI-e card, RAM and drive installs, but from what I gather, if I was to attempt to gain my desired HD or SSD capability in the empty 2nd optical slot of my 2008 Mac Pro I'd have to pretty much disassemble the whole freekin system....?

    Well that's what they have ya do with the OWC Multi-Mount anyway.

    Dam I wish I had me a 2009 instead with it's reputed plug'n play ease of cramming drives into the optical bays.

    So a 2008 Mac pro optical bay conversion is not for the tech faint of heart - true/false?

    Thanks. :)
  2. ssgbryan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002
    False. You could just throw an SSD (or 2) in the bottom of the bay and connect to the unused SATA ports on the logic board.

    Or do what I did and get a Pro Caddy 2:

    It took me less than 10 minutes to swap the optical cage (it pulls right out after you disconnect the optical drive), attach 2 ssds, attach SATA cables to the motherboard & add the y-cable to power both of my SSDs.

    In spite of what you may have read elsewhere on the board, you can boot from the unused SATA ports on the logic board.
  3. bejeeber thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2014
    Whoa, THAT'S the kind of *false* I like to hear - gee frikkin WILLIKERS I'm glad I asked!

    Now if anyone has a link for a guide (for a terrible dummy) to finding those unused SATA ports on a 2008 Logic board, and what sort of connector I'll need, I'll be prepped to go at it with all of my 10 thumbs. :D

    Thanks ssgbryan. ;)
  4. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    it's been years since i installed mine, but i recall it was a slight pain to access the extra SATA ports on the logic board. not a huge deal, just a nuisance.

    you CAN boot from the drives you attach--i've been doing that for years (6 internal drives).

    wiring wasn't tricky--just a matter of twisting, stuffing, routing cables, more or less.
  5. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
    Here is one nice guide , but for one drive only .

    I run 2 SSDs in my 2008 MP 3.1's optical bay, which requires a splitter cable for the power, and of course 2 SATA cables from the Mobo .
    I don't remember all the details, sorry, google can tell you more , I guess .
    Make sure the SATA cables are not too short .
  6. riggles macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2013
    Until I recently moved to a PCIe card, I used the OWC Multi-Mount. I'd consider it a fairly easy install. It's basically just putting screws into holes, like they show in the video.

    - Slide the optical tray partially out (it needs a bit if a tug). Disconnect the SATA cable from the DVD drive and pull the tray completely out.
    - Mount the 2.5">3.5" adapters to each side of the SSD with included 4 screws.
    - Add on the 3.5"> 5.25" adapters to each side with 6 included screws. (Make sure the SSD is facing the front).
    - Mount that assembly into the lower optical bay with the 4 extra screws mounted to the side of the tray housing.
    - Slide the tray partially back in (watch to make sure the studs on the bottom line up with the guides).
    - Plug the SATA cable into your optical drive and SSD.
    - Tuck the cable gently in while you slide the tray all the way in.
    - Done.

    Just take it one step at a time and you'll be fine. Besides, you have a convenient place like this to ask questions if you get stuck.
  7. borad macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2013
    It’s not too hard with decent instructions (e.g. the OWC ones). The only hard bit, as I recall, was threading the cable behind the drive area up into the optical bay area.
  8. bejeeber thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2014
    Dagnabbit - I'm not finding a Multi-Mount video for a 2008 Mac Pro...? (a video for the 2009, yes, but hey that's looking different and easier to me - none of the running cables from the logic board stuff required.)
  9. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    if memory serves, the spare SATA port on the 2008 is a bit harder to access than on the 4,1 and 5,1 models. not saying it was hard, but i recall that it is a bit trickier to access.

    i did it the first month or so that i had the machine, so my memory of it is a bit hazy (5.5 years ago).


    you know, there is another option. you could purchase a highpoint 2721. then you buy a SAS>4-port SATA cable. you could then add up to 4 SSDs on that in the optical bay.

    you'll still need a power splitter, but you need that anyway.

    you could even get a SAS extender and route the backplane to the 2721 and the hard drive bays will run at SATAIII speeds.

    only downside is that the 2721 may not be bootable.
  10. riggles macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2013
    Oop, sorry! Somehow missed the 2008 part. Yea, that's gonna be different and I don't have experience with it.
  11. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009

    i looked at the PDF that was linked in the original post. it's about what you do in a 2008.

    you pretty much just had to pull the fan to access those SATA ports. you need a right-angle SATA cable. then it's a matter of routing that up and splitting the power (just an easy power cable splitter you can buy).

    you don't need a fancy mount. bare SSDs can just hang out in the optical bay, or you can stack them. makes no real difference if your mac pro stays in one place.
  12. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
    The OWC manual shows it pretty well .

    If memory serves me right :

    The 2008 MP has 1 spare power cable in the 2nd optical drive bay, the optical drive itsself is using IDE .
    Two unused SATA connecters are on the Mobo .

    The 2009 and later MPs have 1 spare power and SATA cable in the 2nd optical drive bay, but no spare SATA connecters on the Mobo, the optical drive is using SATA .

    Hence, the 2008 model allows for 2 additional drives in the optical bay, but you have to plug SATA cables into the Mobo and route them to the optical bay (as per the OWC instructions) .

    2009 and later allows for 1 additional hard drive, if you want to keep the DVD drive, but it's plug and play, as the SATA cable is already in place .

    There are other solutions involving PCIe cards , but that's not as cheap and may lead to issues .
  13. bejeeber thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2014
    Thanks people, based on advice here, I'm on the verge of ordering stuff and giving it a go.

    The only thing that's held me back so far is trepidation about breaking something (hey don't put it past me!) or not being able to put something back together, right when I have several projects involving this MP that need attending to.

Share This Page