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2.5 To 3.5 Adapter - Installing Laptop Drives Using a 2.5 to 3.5 Adapter

data power mount usb

How is a 2.5" drive different from a 3.5" drive?

The 3.5" form factor came about with the introduction of 3 1/2" floppy discs in the late 1980’s. While these drives were phased out several years ago, desktop hard drives still use this slot size. These use screws mounted on the sides of the drive.

2.5" drives are designed for use in laptops with a small form factor and top-mounted screw holes to allow easy mounting from the bottom surface of the computer.

While the power and data connectors are different sizes on 2.5" and 3.5" drives, they use the same voltage and transfer data the same way. This means that you can directly connect SATA 2.5" drives to SATA ports and IDE 2.5" drives to IDE ports on a desktop motherboard with the right adapters.

Why would I want to use a laptop drive in my desktop?

There are three reasons why you may want to consider this setup:

If your laptop dies you may be able to pull out the hard drive and connect it to your desktop computer, allowing you to backup files from it.

Laptop drives are designed for low power consumption and heat generation, making them ideal for use in media centers.

There is a wide range of Solid State Drives offered in 2.5" format. Unless you’re buying the biggest capacity drive out there, a 2.5" SSD drive will often be cheaper than a 3.5" drive.

What parts do I need to mount a 2.5" drive in my desktop?

There are two ways you can mount the drive:

A bracket, power adapter cable, and data adapter cable

An all-in-one solution that may be labeled as a converter, adapter, or heat dissipation block.

Here’s where it gets confusing: any of these parts may be labeled as a “2.5 to 3.5 adapter” even though they might be on of several parts you will need to install a 2.5" drive.

Cables can be bought individually, but most of the time they’re sold in pairs for connecting both power and data.
Check the ends: Short connectors are designed to be used with a regular SATA or IDE cable while longer cords have the right end to plug directly into the motherboard. Data cables that go to the motherboard will have male ends while cable to cable connectors will have a male end and a female end.

Some brackets have built-in fans with an in-line power adapter, connecting both the 2.5" drive and the fan through a single power supply connector.

An all-in-one adapter is a large, finned piece of metal that the drive mounts flush to, increasing surface area and improving cooling. These have built-in adapters, so you can mount the 2.5" drive the same way you would in your laptop. Together the drive and converter are the same size as a 3.5" drive and has the same mounting holes, so you can easily mount it in a 3.5" slot.

Can I mount a 2.5" drive in a 5.25" drive slot?

Yes. There are a few 2.5" to 5.25" mounts on the market, or you can use a 3.5" mount and then place that in a 5.25" mount. 5 1/4" drives use the same type of power and data connections as 3 1/2" drives. You should not use a 3.5" heat dissipation block inside a 5 1/4" heat dissipation block; If you are really worried about heat, mount the drive in a 3.5" block and place that in a 5 1/4" bracket.

Can I install a 2.5" drive internally using USB?

Yes, but there are some limitations. USB 2.0 transfers at a maximum speed of only 35mb/s, about one-third the speed of IDE and one-fourth that of SATA. This may be enough bandwidth for a laptop hard drive but SSDs will be crippled by this low transfer speed.

Why would you do this? The USB port acts as both a way to transfer data and power the device, freeing up both a connector on the power supply and a data connector on the motherboard. USB adapters are also more readily available at your local electronics shop, so this may be necessary if you need to get data off of a drive in a hurry.

If you choose to go this route you can avoid using an external USB plug by getting a direct motherboard header to USB cable and running it inside the case.

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over 5 years ago

If you google it with keyword "ssd bracket", you will find a "Stainless Steel" one, i guess it is really a good one. But how much the price?