How To Build a Water Cooled Mini-ITX SFF PC w/ Ivy Bridge & KeplerFri, May 11, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Optical Drive Issues – Slimline Optical Drive Needed
The first issue that we ran into with switching out the top fan for a 140mm water cooler is that we wouldn’t be able to run an optical drive. A standard optical drive is 180mm or 6.7″ deep and that was just too large for this case. As you can see in the image above, a standard 180mm deep DVD burner actually blocks part of the fan. We scoured the web looking for the shallowest depth optical drive that we could come up with and the best we could do was the ASUS DRW-22D1S. It measures in at 146x165x41 mm (W x D x H), which means it is 6.5-inches deep. Obviously, that isn’t going to work either.
We didn’t want to give up our optical drive, so we went with a slim optical drive that is intended for use in notebook computers. This was a win-win situation for us as we can now use an adapter and fit our memory card reader and the DVD burner in a single 5.25″ drive bay. Since the Cubitek Mini ICE only has one 5.25″ drive bay, this is the only way to get everything we needed into this Mini-ITX case.
Here is a shot of the Samsung 8x Slim Internal DVD Burner SN208BB ($23.99 plus shipping) sitting in the StarTech Slim Optical & 3.5-inch Bay adapter ($26.99 plus shipping). It’s odd that the StarTech adapter costs more than the optical drive, but there aren’t too many choices and this adapter is made from really thick steel.
The price was worth it in the long run as we were able to go from 170mm (6.7″) deep to just 140mm (5.5″) and that is exactly the amount of space that we need to fit a 140mm water cooler inside our enclosure!
We need to point out that when you buy an OEM slim optical drive that it does not come with the mounting screws and the StarTech adapter also doesn’t include them. We were lucky and found some small screws that were a perfect fit in our treasure trove of left over parts.
It should also be noted that you need a special cable adapter to use a slim optical drive in a PC and for that we went back to StarTech as they carry Slimline SATA to SATA adapter cables ($9.99 plus shipping). As you can see there is quite a bit of planning involved to get a slim optical drive into a desktop, but when you are doing a special build it is worth the effort and extra cost. By the time you add up all the parts we have roughly $43 tied up just to mount a $29 optical drive!