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Computer Assembly Guide Part 4: How to Fit and Connect an Optical Drive, a Solid State Drive and a Mechanical Hard Drive

Every computer needs a device to boot from whether that's a CDROM, a HDD or an SSD and in this guide I'll show you how easy they are to install. This easy process can also be followed for adding additional drives to your machine.

Tip: Remember to follow anti-static precautions and at the very least, grounding yourself on a radiator or piece of earthed equipment before handling any components. Handle components carefully by holding only the sides of the PCB and not the contacts or components.

Boot devices are vital in your computers functionality, the hard drive stores an operating system for your computer to boot into such as Microsoft Windows 8. If your hard drive doesn’t have an operating system installed then your optical drive (CDROM Drive) will be the first boot device in which you’re going to use to boot from your Windows installation CD.

Step One: Fitting your Optical Drive

When installing your optical drive you firstly need to remove any blanking plates that are fitted on the front of your case (Fig.A), these usually just pop out but removal options may vary so I would suggest consulting your cases instruction manual if you’re having difficulty removing them.

Once removed simply slot the optical drive in via the front of the case (Fig.B) until flush with the front panel (Fig.C). Thanks to the industry standards that computer hardware conforms to everything should line up nicely inside the case.

With the optical drive sat flush at the front you should see the screw holes on the inside of the case line up, although you can fit four screws per side of the optical drive this is very rarely done. The top set of screw holes are to be used if your optical drive doesn’t fit flush using the pre-defined screw holes, however in this instance the optical drive sat perfectly using the pre-defined ones therefore you would only fit two screws per side.

Once the optical drive is secured inside the case, connect one end of your SATA data cable to the back of the optical drive (Fig.E) and then connect the other end to the motherboard (Fig.F).

Step Two: Fitting your Hard Disk Drive

Fitting your hard drive is as simple as fitting your optical drive, if not slightly simpler as you don’t have to worry about removing any covers of panels. The hard drive is fitted within the case in the 3.5” bays (Fig.G).

As you slot the hard drive into the case (Fig.H) you will have to line it up with the pre drilled holes in the case, these generally aren’t set holes and are elongated holes for flexibility and compatibility with different mounting options. Once you’ve lined the drive up you’re ready to secure the drive in place using two screws per side (Fig.I & Fig.J).

Once you have your hard drive secured inside the case it is a simple process of connecting the SATA data cable to the back of the drive (Fig.K) and then connecting the other end of the cable to the motherboard (Fig.L).

Step Three: Fitting a Solid State Drive

When fitting your solid state drive (Fig.M) into your case, you may or may not have the ability to fit a 2.5” drive natively. For this guide we’re going to assume you do not and use a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter bracket (Fig.N).

Simply screw the solid state drive to the bracket as specified by the bracket manufacturer’s instructions (Fig.O) , once secured to the bracket the solid state drive now has the same fitment and mounting options as a 3.5” mechanical hard disk drive.

Fitting the solid state drive is a very similar process to fitting a normal 3.5” mechanical drive; simply fit the drive and bracket into the 3.5” bay in the case (Fig.Q).

Once you’ve lined up the screw holes and secured the drive with two screws on each side (Fig.R), simply connect the SATA data cable to the back of the solid state drive (Fig.S) and connect the other end to the motherboard (Fig.T).

As I said earlier this same process can be used for adding additional drives, as many drives as your case and motherboard can handle.

The last thing we need to do with the optical, solid state and/or hard drive is to connect the power, that will be covered in our PSU fitting guide which will be added shortly.

Back to the The Complete Computer Assembly Guide