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Step 3: Replace The Optical Drive With The OptiBayHD Caddy

Install A Hard Drive Or SSD In Your Notebook's Optical Bay
By , Achim Roos

After installing Windows on the SSD, the notebook is almost ready to use again. But we still have to put the hard drive-equipped caddy into the optical drive bay, where it will serve as a storage device for bulk data.

7. After removing a single screw, the optical drive of the Dell Latitude D630 can be pulled out easily:

Matching size: The OptiBayHD caddy (top) and the optical drive of the Dell notebook (bottom).

8. After inserting and securing the OptiBayHD caddy, your notebook is good to go. Who would guess that there is now a hard disk behind the side panel?


The OptiBayHD caddy represents an easy to way to upgrade a notebook with an SSD without having to pick solid-state or mechanical storage. By using the two technologies in parallel, you're able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

But what about the optical drive? Increasingly, they're only used to install software or, occasionally, play a game from. You're pretty safe getting everything loaded and then swapping it out. And because the caddy simply slides in in place of the optical drive, it's easy enough to swap back in case you need to load an app or want to watch a Blu-ray movie. That's one good reason to install the SSD internally and leave your user data on a hard drive in the caddy; even if you pull it out, you're still able to boot and run your most important applications.

At about $68 (plus international shipping) the caddy isn't exactly cheap. However, you might find it worthwhile, especially as SSDs come down in price. Cheaper 64 GB drives start in the $100 range, and those numbers are sure to drop as lithography advances and density increases. We used Samsung's 830, but any 2.5" drive will work for this project.

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  • 1 Hide
    thehidecheck , January 26, 2012 3:21 AM
    Lol, this reminds me of the floppy disks of yore. Still, there is alot of utility in this, I see it having a good future.
  • 9 Hide
    phamhlam , January 26, 2012 4:14 AM
    I thought about doing this. It gives you the speed of a SSD and the space of a HDD. When you need your DVD drive, slide it back in or just use a USB one. I ended up selling my laptop and getting a desktop haahaha.
  • 0 Hide
    Xajel , January 26, 2012 4:33 AM
    I think having a 128 - 256 GB mPCIe SSD will be much easier to have :D 

    + it will give you the ability to have another HDD for large storage if you can't life with just 128 or 256GB :) 
  • 0 Hide
    mswezey , January 26, 2012 5:01 AM
    I've already done this 2 months ago! Best thing you can do for a laptop!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 26, 2012 5:58 AM
    But what about heat? As far as I can see there are no venting holes or I might just be mistaking. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , January 26, 2012 6:00 AM
    Great idea ... I like it.

    Can you run some tests on the drive please?

    Compare it to the main drive for speed?

  • 2 Hide
    serhat359 , January 26, 2012 6:01 AM
    I also thought about this but it's just too expensive!
  • 0 Hide
    Pyree , January 26, 2012 6:40 AM
    But what about heat? As far as I can see there are no venting holes or I might just be mistaking. :) 

    Have that set up on my laptop. SDD in the normal HDD bay, HDD in OD bay. No issue on heat for HDD. HDD about 38-40c on load.
  • 0 Hide
    ivyanev , January 26, 2012 8:33 AM
    Isn't eSATA usb 3 and other ports designed to accommodate external hdd? I agree that external isn't as convenient as build in ,but can be used in several laptops.
  • 5 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , January 26, 2012 9:32 AM
    Lmao I did this back in 2006, the dell drive bay in your pic is one of the multibay drives used in the first ever XPS and the i9100.

    Hears another newsflash, you can also replace the optical drive with hot swappable extra battery's for extra power time! :o 
  • 4 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , January 26, 2012 9:37 AM
    insane prices on toms hardware and confusing article.

    ICH2-8M chipsets: uses sata or pata
    ICH9M or newer: uses sata
    ODD sizes: 9.5mm or 12.7mm

    you can also put 1.8" drives if you get a 1.8" to 2.5" adapter.

    There's 2 types of ODD to HDD adapters:
    -Adapter only
    -hotswap capable ones that allow the odd caddy to slide

    "At about $68 (plus international shipping) the caddy isn't exactly cheap" o'really? toms is trying to rips us off.
    here way more cheaper and dozens of models:

    and even cheaper:

  • -1 Hide
    Yuka , January 26, 2012 11:23 AM
    I've been looking for one of those for my Asus N3 fro quite some time now 8(

    I really think that using that space you could fit even more with custom "bays replacements". We still waste space. Also, making it into a real hdd bay could be great as well.

  • -5 Hide
    bennaye , January 26, 2012 12:26 PM
    1. Cut a hole in the box.
    2. Put your junk in the box
    3. Make her open the box.

    And THAT'S the way you do itttt~ It's my SSD in a box!
  • -2 Hide
    hunshiki , January 26, 2012 3:06 PM
    Because Lenovo's UltraBay is made so poorly, that it won't fit any computer.
    Just check the reviews at Lenovo:
  • -1 Hide
    jhansonxi , January 26, 2012 4:46 PM
    I think this is a great idea for enabling software RAID 1 on a notebook. That would help performance and provide redundancy. With software RAID on Linux you can remove one drive and still boot so it is possible to swap the CD/DVD drive back in, use it, then swap it back out and let the RAID resync.
  • -1 Hide
    hunshiki , January 26, 2012 5:04 PM
    It's a laptop, can get stolen easily. I think having Wuala, Crashplan, or any secure sync service is a better idea to prevent data loss. Also, never forget to have an encryption if you have business-sensitive information.
  • -2 Hide
    freggo , January 26, 2012 5:27 PM
    That's a great idea. Will have to check it out. Can definitely breath some new live in older Laptops.
  • -1 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , January 26, 2012 6:22 PM
    hunshikiBecause Lenovo's UltraBay is made so poorly, that it won't fit any computer.Just check the reviews at Lenovo: [...] MIGR-73170

    it fit's. there's specially design odd converters for's a special 7-8mm thing. it's very rare but it does exist. probably cheap on ebay.
  • -2 Hide
    mrkdilkington , January 26, 2012 8:24 PM
    Just bought one of these off ebay for $15.
    Also what effect does this have on the battery?
  • -1 Hide
    masterofevil22 , January 26, 2012 8:26 PM
    Why didn't I think of this??

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