How would I use old 5.25" optical drives in a PC with no 5.25" bays?


I’m going to buy a new PC for my parents. They have a couple of 5.25" internal DVD drives in their current computer that they still use, so I was going to take those out and put them in the new PC.

However, I’ve noticed that no one sells a PC with 5.25" drive bays anymore. How would I get those to work in a new PC? Can I just sit them externally on a desk and use some sort of USB adapter?


I think if you look around you can still find a computer case with at least two 5.25" drive bays. Another solution is to use external USB enclosures, but these are becoming more difficult to find. You could also use USB adapters, but personally I would not want to permanently connect drives this way.


I did find an Acer model PC with two 5.25" drive bays, although that will cost around $750. That Acer seems to be the only one still available with 5.25" drive bays. I can get a similar Dell without 5.25" drive bays for $550. Hard to justify an extra $200 just for those drive bays.

I have used USB adapters with internal IDE hard drives before, and they didn’t seem to work that well. They were OK for small transfers, but I remember when I tried to transfer a lot of files that took several minutes, the transfer would frequently get interrupted after a few minutes, as if the USB connection was getting reset for some reason. I’m afraid that might happen in the middle of trying to burn a DVD.


Maybe you could buy a custom made PC and choose a computer case yourself? I have used an IDE/SATA to USB adapter in the past and it worked well while it lasted. But again I don’t consider this a good permanent solution.


How would the USB adapter be different from an enclosure?


I don’t like to have bare drives lying around outside the PC case. And with an adapter it’s easier to have a cable disconnected or even a drive to fall by accident.


Vantec, Bytecc, and OWC still make external 5.25" enclosures which have an internal USB3-to-SATA bridge board. I still see new stock of the Vantec and Bytecc on the shelf at Micro Center. Expect to pay US$50 - $60 depending on source.


Here is another drive enclosure.
This one can be either USB 3.1 or eSATA.

Personally, I would use an SATA drive and the eSATA enclosure, but it depends what you already have.