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    Default DIY: Adding SSD or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy


    Introduction - This article contains details on how to make best use of an optical bay caddy to extend notebook storage with a 2.5" SSD or HDD in place of the standard or slot-loaded optical drive. Included are links to buy the correct caddy plus some configuration items: hotswapping, setting spindown timeout on secondary HDD.

    Benefits of using an optical bay caddy


    • Inexpensive. Ebay caddy is only US$12-US$26 delivered worldwide.

    • Identical faceplate. Transplant your ODD's faceplate to an ebay Fenvi or some newmodeus caddies to achieve identical appearance to your current optical drive drive. 9.5mm ebay | 12.7mm ebay

    • Improve performance and extend battery life using a hybrid SSD+HDD system. A small, fast SSD hosts your os and apps in your primary bay. A 2.5" HDD in optical bay caddy, in battery-efficient spindown mode when inactive, provides a decent sized data repository.

    • 1TB/1.5TB/2TB of storage capacity using a combination of 9.5mm 500GB and 12.5mm 1TB 2.5" HDDs.

    • Hotswap versatility. Allows the optical bay caddy and optical drive to be swapped in/out as required if used with a primary SSD/HDD. Eg: Can access an optical drive when needed to say load software or watch DVDs, then hotswap back in the HDD in caddy to access your repository of multimedia or document files.

    • If prefer not to hotswap, can use an usb adapter/enclosure to allow either the optical drive or caddy to be used externally. Eg: PATA: 9.5mm & | 12.7mm | adapter, SATA: e-sata/usb cable or enclosure

    • Use SATA drives in older PATA-only systems. Latest 250gb-per-platter SATA HDDs are faster and cheaper per GB than 160gb-per-platter IDE HDDs and are well matched to ICH2M+ 83-87MB interface speed. SATA SSD a good performer over sata-to-pata bridge as astericksed here. SATA SSD/HDD can be transplanted in newer SATA systems in the future. Older notebooks can be resurrected as fileservers or media centers, conditional on 48bit LBA bios support to allow full use of > 137GB storage.

    • Can be better bang-per-buck than a system upgrade. When you consider how a primary bay SSD can provide day-and-night improvements in os and app performance improvements over a HDD.

    • Can provide lower running temperature of HDDs compared to using the primary bay [user reported]


    Optical bay caddy configuration matrix

    I/O
    Chipset
    Primary
    Bay
    Optical
    Bay
    Optical Bay Caddy Product Link
    Example link/caddy used
    ebay &newmodeus0
    ICH2-8M pata or
    sata1
    pata23 7.0mm sata-to-pata

    9.5mm pata#1
    sata-to-pata#01

    12.7mm pata
    sata-to-pata#0
    -

    9.5mm pata
    sata-to-pata

    12.7mm pata
    sata-to-pata
    HP 2510P 9.5mm sata-to-pata,pata/newm+ebay
    Dell M1330 9.5mm pata [slot]/newm
    Dell Vostro 1400 12.7mm sata-to-pata/ebay
    HP 8710W 12.7mm sata-to-pata/newm
    Clevo M570RU 12.7mm sata-to-pata/newm


    ICH9M or
    newer
    sata sata 9.5mm sata
    12.7mm sata
    9.5mm sata
    9.5mm sata
    12.7mm 9.5mm
    Clevo P150HMA 14mm/ebay
    Toshiba R830-835 9.5mm/ebay-Fenvi
    Alienware M14x 9.5mm/ebay-Fenvi
    Dell E6400/E6500 9.5mm sata/ebay &newm
    HP 2530P 9.5mm sata/newm
    HP Envy14 9.5mm sata/newm
    Sony Vaio Z12 9.5mm sata/newm
    Lenovo E420 12.7mm sata/newm
    Sony Vaio FW51JF 12.7mm sata/ebay
    HP 8730W 12.7mm sata/newm
    Dell XPS 1647 12.7mm sata [slot]/newm
    Alienware M17xR2 12.7mm sata [slot]/newm

    0 5% discount coupons on their facebook page. Their slot-loading products the same as others linked above minus the faceplate. Their 12.7mm product allowing the use of your optical drive's faceplate as shown here.
    1 SATA SSD performs best when installed in primary SATA bay. ICH8M: CAP.ISS shows if 1.5Gbps cap applies.
    2 if sharing PATA bus with primary bay drive, a master/slave jumper gives more config flexibility.
    3 sata-to-pata chip adds power consumption overhead. newmodeus(Sunplus)=0.8W, ebay (Marvell)=1W. The newmodeus caddy has issues with SSD TRIM - the ebay caddy doesn't. Intel ICHxM UDMA5/ATA100 PATA interface measured to give maximum read of 83-87MB/s. This post compares power consumption/performance for PATA and SATA-to-PATA caddies, benchmarks show great SSD/HDD performance.

    Product Link
    #0 can be modified to improve functionality: faceplate strength for hotswap ability, master pinmod, HDD LED.
    #1 rear connector unscrews to reveal JAE50 like shown here.


    Hotswapping the optical drive and 2.5" drive in optical bay caddy

    Hotswap! provides a Safely Hotswap Hardware system tray icon to simplify disabling the device prior to removal or scanning the system when inserted. Allows hotswapping in/out the optical drive and 2.5" drive in optical bay caddy if using a primary SSD or HDD. Hotswapping is supported by the ICHxM SATA/PATA interfaces. So can for example watch a DVD with the optical drive then swap in a 2.5" HDD to access your multimedia files or documents.



    Setting standby idle standby timeout to improve battery life

    hdparm allows control of individual drive standby timeout periods to spindown the HDD if it's idle to conserve power. This would be recommended if running a primary bay SSD and optical bay 2.5" HDD at the same time. The commands below are easily added to a batch file to run in Windows startup folder.


    • Download hdparm for Windows.

    • Identify the drive you wish to operate on:
      hdparm -i /dev/sda
      hdparm -i /dev/sdb
    • Set a batch file to run in startup with standby time of your choice, example 1 min. Refer to the -S parameter in the hdparm commandline options. hdparm can also be used to set drive transfer mode, eg: 'hdparm -X udma5 /dev/sdb'
      hdparm -S 12 /dev/sdb &REM set standby timeout=1min
      hdparm -y /dev/sdb &REM standby the drive now

    Versatility: using 9.5mm caddy in other 9.5mm/12.7mm optical bay systems

    The newmodeus 9.5mm SATA-to-PATA/PATA caddy slides straight into a 12.7mm PATA optical drive bay. A great way of sharing data at full speed between hosts, without having to setup a network or be limited to USB speed. Can then hotswap the caddys between multiple systems. The SATA version likely to offer same versatility.

    Adding a 1.8" SSD/HDD in a 2.5" drive bay

    1.8-to-2.5" adapters allows a 1.8" SSD or HDD to be installed in the optical bay caddy or 2.5" primary bay. SATA adapters shown here. PATA adapter is available on ebay for a few dollars.

    Quirks applicable to Sandy Bridge HP Probooks/Elitebooks using Insyde BIOS

    How to enable Upgrade Bay Hard Drive boot: so can hit F9 and boot off an optical bay caddy HDD or SSD.

    Quirks applicable to PATA optical drive interfaces (ICH8M or older)

    1. Some system's bios sets the pata optical interface into slow UDMA2 mode. See nbruser's software and/or MBR workaround.

    2. Some system's bios sets the timings to use 33Mhz rather than 66Mhz timings. Notably HP 2510P which then caps write performance to < 30MB/s. See software workaround. Consider too hardwiring the caddy Pin 34 (-CBLID) to GND to set "80-pin cable mode" which uses 66Mhz timings.

    3. Phoenix bios directs boot to optical caddy HDD. See software workaround.

    4. Some Toshiba systems whitelist the HDD in a sata-to-pata caddy. See here

    5. May need to do a slave_mod & to get an ebay caddy running as slave. Mod works with the topda branded ebay caddy.

    Followup

    If using an optical bay caddy to extend system storage, please post some details as examples. Eg:

    - which caddy you are using, eg: ebay or newmodeus
    - the look, feel and performance of the caddy. Photos against the chassis compared to original optical drive
    - any gotchas or tips and tricks
    - any mods, eg: on/off switch on the sata-to-pata caddy to conserve power if using it with a SSD.

    Note I have no commercial affiliation with any of vendors whose products are highlighted in this article. This information is provided to assist others in creating a great bang-per-buck storage expansion/performance upgrade.
    Last edited by User Retired 2; 8th September 2012 at 09:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    Interesting.
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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    Great guide - I've always been interested in using the optical bay for a hard drive, especially if I move to a smaller SSD. This way, I can keep the HDD for movies, music, etc.
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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    The hotswap software is very useful, now I can switch from my 500GB HDD to my DVD drive without restarting.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    Interesting indeed, looks like the newer ICH9 and ICH10 I would guess get full speed due to a SATA interface for the optical drive correct?

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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    this is really GREAT I never thought in a thing like this. great find!

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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    Quote Originally Posted by ViciousXUSMC View Post
    Interesting indeed, looks like the newer ICH9 and ICH10 I would guess get full speed due to a SATA interface for the optical drive correct?
    Confirmed to be correct with the ICH9M equipped Lenovo T400/T500. It can do full uncapped 3Gbps on their primary and optical bay SATA interfaces.

    I will elaborate more on this below as it's important to know if you have a capped primary bay SATA interface to see full streaming performance with the latest SSDs capable of 220MB/s+ (OCZ Vertex, G.Skill Falcon, Intel X25-M), which are otherwise capped to ~140MB/s on a 1.5Gbps interface.

    I/O Chipsets and their 1.5Gbps/3Gbps SATA interface

    ICH5/6/7/8M have both a PATA and a SATA interface on the chipset, with PATA used for the optical drive and either SATA or PATA for the primary drive. Since around ICH6M the trend has been to use a SATA primary drive with the deviations like the HP 2510P and Dell D420/430 ultraportables using a 1.8" PATA primary bay interface instead.

    ICH9M and newer use a SATA interface for both the primary drive and the optical bay.

    ICH8M and newer are SATA-II 3Gbps transfer capable, a drawcard to upgrade from ICH5/6/7/M's 1.5Gbps maximum. You can check if your ICH8M or newer chipset is 1.5Gbps bios capped by viewing the the CAP.ISS value as shown here. If you find you are capped, the could request a bios upgrade from the system manufacturer.
    Last edited by User Retired 2; 21st July 2009 at 01:28 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Rich!;

    Incredible guide, nando4, thanks for posting.

    I will bookmark it for later use.
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    Default Re: DIY: Adding SSD and/or HDD storage using an optical bay caddy

    Is this compatible with the Nvidia 9400M chipset?

  10. #10
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    Default Letter!;

    Quote Originally Posted by Phinagle View Post
    Is this compatible with the Nvidia 9400M chipset?
    It should work.
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