Mac Pro 5th hard drive installation

I’ve been filling up hard drive space pretty quickly recently with all the HD video that I’ve been editing along with the Alissa and wedding pictures. As such, I’ve been looking for more storage as well as how to archive old stuff that I don’t need to access much.

Thankfully, the Mac Pro has four hard drive slots. Unfortunately, I really want five slots to have one system drive and four data drives setup as a Raid 10. So, originally, I was considering getting an external SATA enclosure taking advantage of the extra SATA ports on the Mac Pro motherboard. But then, I found that you can actually use the space in the optical drive bay to add a fifth hard drive.

Here’s an easy off-the shelf solution, but it’ll cost you $69. And here’s a guy who made things work with some spare parts and creative thinking.

I basically did the same thing the guy did but I didn’t have any spare parts lying around so I was able to do it “right” by buying new parts that would fit without modification.

Here’s my parts list:
2x$109: Seagate 500GB hard drive (These were made in Thailand vs. the ones I got from newegg which were made in China… no idea if it makes any difference.)
$4.99: 18″ SATA cable (right angle on one end, straight on the other… should have gotten the 24″ one.)
$2: Molex to SATA power adapter (I actually forgot to buy this initially and had to visit to my friendly Cosmic Computer to pick one up.)
$3.99: 3.5″ to 5.25″ drive bracket

So basically, instead of spending the money on an external enclosure, I was able to install the hard drive for an extra $11 in parts. Plus, the big benefit is that I don’t have to deal with another enclosure that requires power and a cable. Simple=good.

If I was really smart, I would have gotten the 24″ SATA cable because the 18″ one was a bear to get in. (Tip: if you screwed up and got the 18″ one, first thread it through from the SATA port to the drive bay after removing hard drives #1 and #2. Then attach it to the new hard drive and replace the optical drive assembly before attaching the right angle side to the SATA port.)

Here are some pictures that show how the SATA cable was routed:

Looking from the rear of the case towards the front, here’s the view of the SATA ports:

Here’s a closeup of the right angle SATA cable connected to one of the two free ports:

Here’s a view of the SATA cable routed behind the fan shroud. This is looking where the #1 hard drive would normally be. You can see the cable routing goes by the #1 SATA connection.

Here’s a view of the cable as it leaves the section in the above picture into the area where the 2 optical drive bays are normally located:

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5 Responses to Mac Pro 5th hard drive installation

  1. Mike says:

    nice setup. Too bad it’s MACtel and not a Wintel 😉

  2. dirk says:

    Just tried this.
    Too bad bootcamp nor windowsxp see this 5th disk.
    I use the 4 internal for booting osx and raidz.
    Maybe I will have to move osx boot disk to this 5th position.
    Itwasn’t easy getting the esata connector on.

  3. Ryuji says:

    I see you used a female Molex power to SATA adaptor. Where is the power available? Did you have to split with a Y from the optical drive?

  4. jason says:

    It’s been so long, I don’t remember for sure. But I did not need to do anything special. I think it must be from one of the optical drive bays.

  5. Ryuji says:

    Thanks- I’ll try it and figure it out anyway 🙂

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