Although the market trend is for bays to 3.5 ″ drives are disappearing and PC cases increasingly incorporate fewer of these, hard drives in this format are still necessary as mass storage and it does not seem that they will disappear in the medium term, so it may be important to know how these units are mounted or, at least, what types of anchoring systems we are going to find.
Install the hard drive directly into the box
It has been many years since it is difficult to find this method of mounting hard drives in the PC case, but in the past it was the most frequent: we simply found a 3.5 ″ space with metal plates on both sides that allow us screw the hard drives directly to the box. This is a complicated system (you had to hold the hard drive and align it by hand to screw it in) and it also has many disadvantages, such as that the hard drive will absorb the impacts and vibrations that are in the case and vice versa.
Fortunately, this method stopped being used many years ago and, as we said, it is difficult to find it in modern boxes; In any case, you should know that some models incorporated rubber washers to pass the screw through them, so that the hard disk was “suspended” in the rubbers to avoid the mentioned problems of vibrations.
In the same way, in some low-quality or old boxes we found anchors called de butterfly, which consisted of a plastic part with a rotating element that was inserted with plastic protrusions in the mounting holes of the hard disk and then, with the butterfly, it was anchored to the metal plate of the case (you can see the example in The imagen up). This method was not only unsafe by anchoring it only on one side, but it also did not prevent vibrations or noise.
Alternatively, and we also see this in some modern boxes but generally in those with a small form factor, we can find anchor points for 3.5-inch hard drives directly on the body of the box itself, which can be both above the power supply bezel as well as behind the motherboard.
To install a hard disk in this way, we will generally find holes on the opposite side that will allow us to insert the screws, having to screw the hard disk manually. This method has quite a few disadvantages, such as the discomfort of mounting or that it generally “eats” the case vibrations and transmits them to it, thus increasing the noise level; the counterpart is that it saves a lot of space and aesthetically it can look quite good as you can see in the image that we have placed above these lines.
The various disc trays
The most common and widespread method of mounting hard drives in the PC case has long been through the use of racks that incorporate removable trays. To mount the hard disk you have to remove the tray and then anchor the unit to it; we generally find different racks that normally have space for three disk units each and give the box a certain modularityAs you can see in the image above, these racks or boxes are generally removable and interchangeable in position, allowing us to choose how many we want to put in the box to remove those that we do not need in order to improve space or cooling.
However, you should also know that there are different types of trays, mainly two:
- Tray with screws and rubber washers: this method is similar to the one we have explained in the first instance in this article, and involves having to screw the hard drive to the tray through the rubber washers, leaving the unit suspended to avoid vibrations. In lower quality boxes, the manufacturer has a tray with simple holes to pass the screws and dispenses with the rubber washers.
- Tool-free installation tray: This type of tray is usually made of flexible plastic and has a protrusion that coincides with the anchoring holes of the hard drives, so that if we first insert one side of the disc and then slightly bend the tray, we can make the anchors enter on the opposite side. It is a very comfortable method and is generally also combined with rubber washers to avoid vibrations.
As an alternative, we also have a method of mounting the hard drives with pins. This method consists in that there is no tray as such but simply its sides, and the installation process is as simple as putting a pin on each side of the hard disk drive by matching the holes with the protrusions (usually metal and on washers rubber) and then insert the unit in the corresponding rack.
And what about 2.5-inch hard drives?
So far we have talked about the methods to install a 3.5 ″ hard disk, but we do not forget the 2.5 ″ drives that, today, are even more frequent because they are the format used by the vast majority of SSD SATA 3. In this case, to install this size of drive directly in the box you need adapters, although as there are 3.5 ″ anchor points directly in the box (such as behind the motherboard for example ) it is also common to find spaces for 2.5-inch drives, and the installation process is the same.
In the same way, in the tray methods almost all of them have holes to be able to screw a 2.5-inch drive into it, although in this case as a general rule there are no installation methods without tools but they must be screwed yes or yes (In the case of SSDs, nothing happens because they do not vibrate).
In some boxes, generally large and / or high-end, we can even find racks for complete 2.5 ″ drives, as is the case for example in the Corsair Crystal 680X.
This, however, is not frequent, and in fact the most frequent method to install a 2.5-inch hard drive or SSD in modern PC cases is either to use the 3.5 ″ trays themselves thanks to the extra perforations. that incorporate, or install them in specific anchor points behind the metal plate for the base plate or above the trim of the power supply that many modern boxes already incorporate.