Before simply following the directions below on mounting the hard drive, pay attention to where you put it. Technically, you can put the hard drive in any free bay of your case, but there are a few considerations:
- Hard drives generate heat, especially the drives with the higher rotation speeds. Therefore, it is best to place these drives as far from other hardware as possible. Give them room to breathe.
- If it is necessary to install a drive cooler, make sure you have room for it.
- Some cases give room under the power supply to install a hard drive. Bad idea. A power supply is like a magnet, and magnets and your data do not go together. Don’t install a hard drive anywhere near the power supply. Keep your hard drive near the front of the case.
Okay, lets install the actual drive:
- Determine which drive bay to install the hard drive into. In most cases, the hard drive usually goes into a 3.5″ slot toward the front of the case, near the bottom. These bays do not have a corresponding opening to the front of the case simply because there is no reason to see the hard drive from the front. Some cases use a removable drive rack to hold the hard drive. If your case uses this type of setup, remove the rack now.
- Slide in the hard drive. If you are using a removable drive rack, just push the drive into the rack so that the screw holes line up. If your case has the drive rack as part of the chassis, then just lift the drive into the case and line up the screw holes on the drive with the drive rack. Be sure the drive connectors face toward the back of the case.
- Fasten the hard drive into place using your screws. This is easy to do on removable racks. In non-removable racks, tightening down screws on the far side of the hard drive can be a problem, because the screws are not highly visible and thus it is hard to get to them with a screwdriver. It can take a little creativity to get at them. Most cases which have this problem have little holes where you can stick the screwdriver through and tighten the screw beneath. If the screw is not in there, I’ve even had to do a controlled drop of the screw onto the hole and then use the screwdriver to position it into the hole. It can be a real feat to do it sometimes, and this is one reason some manufacturers went to the removable racks. If you have a magnetic screwdriver that can hold the screw, this might be less of a problem for you.
- If using a removable drive rack, you can now install the rack back into your case. Some racks are fastened into place using a simple thumb lever. Others need to be screwed in.
- If you have any other hard drives which you are installing as you build your PC, then repeat the 4 steps above for the other drive.
- Attach the power cable. Choose an unused power lead from the power supply and plug it into the power plug on the hard drive. The plug will be keyed so that it will only go in the correct way. SATA power connectors are thin and black; they are obviously different from other white Molexes.
- Attach the ribbon cable to the hard drive. The ribbon cable goes from the primary IDE controller of the motherboard to the drive, usually labeled IDE1. Make sure the red edge of the ribbon cable is aligned with Pin 1 on the drive ribbon connector. If you can’t see Pin 1 marked, then it is almost always the pin closest to the power connector. If you place the cable on backwards, you may get strange errors that make your new drive sound like it has died already. As for the cable itself, usually you have two plugs closer together on one end of the cable and then a third plug on the far end of the cable. The far plug plugs into the motherboard. Of the two remaining cables, there are no requirements as to which plug to use on which hard drive. If you are only installing one hard drive, just use whichever one of those plugs reaches the drive best without stretching the ribbon cable out. If you are installing two hard drives, then plan it out so that you can use both connectors in whichever order works best. With SATA the ribbon cable goes to an SATA controller. Start with SATA_1 and move on if you have multiple drives.
If you are opting for a SCSI drive setup, then there are a few minor variations from the procedure above. First, you need to install a SCSI controller into one of your expansion slots (unless your motherboard has an integrated SCSI controller). Then proceed:
- You need to set any switches or jumpers that need setting on the new drive. In SCSI setups, each device gets its own SCSI ID, numbered 1-7. #7 is usually given to the adapter card. You may pick, then, any other unused address. You may need to take into account any little quirks in your adapter, such as special likings to other addresses that could cause problems a little later. You’ll need the manual for this one.
- Check for the correct termination. In SCSI setups, the adapter can hold up to seven SCSI devices. These devices are hooked up in a chain, usually with the adapter at one end and another device at the other end. This ending device must be set to be the terminating device, therefore ending the SCSI chain and making a complete electric circuit. In some cases, the adapter is in the middle of the chain, therefore you must terminate at both ends of the chain. You may need to consult the manual for any special termination techniques particular to your brand of drive. In general, a certain jumper setting will enable internal termination on the drive itself, eliminating the need for a special terminating plug.
- The procedure for actual installation is the same as the procedure above for IDE drives.