Installing a sata optical drive in a Mac Pro – Part 1:
As with any how to guide, it’s best to read this one all the way through first before starting it. There are a couple of things I found out at the end which you can hopefully avoid. Also, this guide assumes that you have a medium level of experience with mac hardware.Â Any photo in this guide can be clicked on to see a much larger version.
To get started you’ll need your new sata optical drive, a 90-degree sata L-L cable (seen below), a phillips screwdriver, and someÂ patience. I picked up the components at Fry’s. If you want to source it online you can try Mac Guru’s, just make sure to get one that is long enough. My cable was 3 feet and I had plenty of length to spare. My drive is the LGÂ GGW-H20L. It is a Super Multi-Blue optical drive that reads basically every disc format including Blu-ray and HD DVD and also burns Blu-ray RW’s and RE’s. Since it reads HD DVD you can bet that this one won’t be on the shelves much longer. If that is functionality that you want, you better pick one up soon.
You will need a 90 degree L-L internal Sata connector. Â The 90 degrees refers to the end of the connector seen in the picture on the right, where the cable extends out from the connector at an angle rather that straight out. As you’ll see in a minute, this makes the cable work better in this install.
Don’t confuse this with the shape of the actual connector plug. There are L connectors and I connectors. Â “L” and “I” refer to the shape of the plug. The plug on the left has “L” shape and is an internal sata, the one on the right has an “I” shape and is an external sata, or eSata, plug.
1. First remove the side panel door and familiarize yourself with all the components. Click to enlarge the picture below and locate the unused Sata connectors. Notice that these two sata connectors are hard to reach because they are under the front fan kit. It is possible to plug something into one of these ports directly but it’s extremely difficult and you’ll end up cursing andÂ throwingÂ things. To gain access to them easily we’ll need to remove the fan kit. It is held on by two screws, one under the hard drive carriers and one under the heat sink cover.
2. Hard drive carriers – Remove the first two hard drive carriers by pulling them straight out. They will be a bit snug.
3. Heat sink cover – Next remove the heat sink cover by pulling up on the end that is closest to the motherboard. In my Mac Pro this part snapped right out. I’ve seen some systems where this part was tighter and didn’t snap out so easily. Some tutorials show that you have to remove the memory first, then the memory tray cover, and then the heat sink cover. If you areÂ having problems getting this part out butÂ want to avoid all of that – skip to #4 and remove the upper fan kit screw first, pull the upper part of the fan out away from the motherboard a bit and it will loosen the heat sink cover. Â Then you should be able to snap it out.
4. Front Fan Kit – Unscrew the front fan kit screws, starting at the top.
The bottom screw is located near the bottom of the Mac Pro. Be careful when removing this screw not to drop it.
Pull the fan kit out. Please ignore the fact that this photo already shows my sata cable in there. I had originally attempted to do this without removing the fan kit but found that too difficult to get the cable to plug in.