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You'll Never Guess Where They Put The Optical Drive

Take The Train: Lian Li PC-CK101, Built, Tested, And...Driven?

Given the unconventional shape of this case, it isn’t surprising that there's only room for a slim optical drive. That's certainly not something we can hold against Lian Li. However, most slim drives employ a mini-SATA power connector, and FSP's unit doesn't have one. Thus, right out of the gate, you're forced to buy an adapter for a few bucks. The expenditure isn't major. But using an adapter may create a problem; in our case, we needed to work around it.

Lian Li's installation guide recommends installing the optical drive from the front, after first removing the bay cover. Any slim disc drive should fit through the opening.

Getting the power and data cables to the front of the engine to hook them up is a minor hurdle. But if you use a SATA-to-mini-SATA adapter, make sure that it doesn’t come loose as you ease the drive back into the vacant bay.

In principle, this is fairly easy, though not completely foolproof. The optical drive mounting bracket held the bay cover in place, and it needs to be unscrewed first. The screws are too long for a typical optical drive though, and should either be replaced by shorter ones or used, but not screwed all of the way in. Otherwise, they can block the drive's tray or damage the drive itself.

Case in point, I wound up locking the drive tray by tightening the screws too hard. Luckily, I didn't harm the drive. With the screws only halfway in, however, there is some audible vibration as discs spin up. I wound up stabilizing the whole assembly with Super Glue.

With this advice in mind, mounting the drive becomes much easier to do correctly. On one side, two tiny pan head screws are used, while on the other side, two flat screws hold the drive in place.

The assembly guide makes no mention of this, but the bottom of the locomotive can be taken off completely after removing only four screws. Although I followed Lian Li's instructions to the letter, I think that dropping that bottom panel is the best way to get access to the optical drive.

Adapting the Adapter

Let’s revisit the SATA-to-mini-SATA adapter. Depending on make and model, it may not be a perfect fit. Keep an eye out for a narrow adapter. Your other option is to file/grind one side of a wider adapter to make it fit. I used a Dremel tool for this.

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