What do you do with your 5.25" bays

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Duo8, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. Duo8
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    Duo8 I don't like video games

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    I have 3 empty bays and am looking for some sort of cardreader-usb-headphones panel for it, but haven't found any.

    What do you do with yours?
     
  2. marksteele

    marksteele GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Cigarette Lighter Panel w/Cup Holder for 5.25-Inch Drive Bay

    Truly the best use for your unused 5.25″ bays (sadly you can't get them anymore)

    Edit: For the record I don't actually use it for anything other than starting a conversation about it.
     
    Last edited by marksteele, Jun 4, 2015
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  3. DinohScene

    DinohScene Dino for Hire

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    I got no desktop PC anymore, but I used one 5.25" bay for me iHAS drive.
    Other one for regular DVD burner.
    Nother, prolly card reader.
     
  4. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Mine has DVD drive, multi card reader with USB 2 port, and 3.5 + 2.5" HDD dock for hot swapping drives.

    I've also had front panel USB ports (also holds 2 internal 2.5" drives), LCD temperature monitor, and Xbox 360 flashing kit (front panel mounted) in the past.
     
  5. Fat D

    Fat D GBAtemp Maniac

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    I have a card reader in a 3.5" bay that used to be the location of the computer's floppy drive back when I still had a computer with a floppy drive in my case. When I had a floppy drive, I used a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter for said card reader. It does not have headphone jacks, but they usually come with a dual USB 2.0 mainboard header of which one port is used for the card reader, the other is broken out to a standard Type A jack.

    Card readers usually do not come with any audio jacks, since most modern cases have them built in already. But if you are like me and prefer to stick to your old 1990s workstation big tower you inherited, there are front panels available that break out audio. A lot of them are really crappy and basically consist of extension cords that are threaded out via a blank socket cover. Do not get those - those are not headphone jacks, they more often than not replace your speakers.

    Get one that is "HD Audio" or "Azalia" compatible - this is basically a spec for audio chipsets that includes, among other things, a standard connector for front panel audio. Pretty much all modern mainboards support this spec. It connects directly to your mainboard and basically gives you two extra audio jacks - one for headphones, the other for a microphone. These are independent of the backpanel ports you use for your speakers, but the PC can automatically switch between them when you plug in your headphones.

    There is an older specification which provides a similar connector. AC'97. The connector differs in a few key points, primarily that it is not an independent port, but taps into the stereo out for the front speakers. It is the front panel itself that either auto-switches or just passes the audio to both headphones and speakers in parallel. Some boards and front panels still support the AC'97 connector, but Azalia/HD Audio is generally superior.

    You are not likely to find a panel that offers both audio and card reader, but with three bays at your disposal, you can put the card reader in one (there are lots of 5.25" card readers out there, as well as 3.5" card readers that can be used with an adapter like I did) and the headphone panel in another. There are quite a few Azalia / HD Audio panels out there. I used to use a SilverStone FP32 with Quad USB 2.0, FireWire and HD Audio, but eventually, two of the USB ports broke, and nobody uses FireWire anymore. Or any other brand of IEEE 1394 either. There is a successor, the FP32-E, which removes the 1394 port and upgrades the USB ports to SuperSpeed-capable 3.0 ports. Both are 3.5" devices, by the way. For my new PC however, I chose a Lian-Li BZ-U02U3, which also throws in eSATA and fits in a 5.25" bay without adapters. And it looks like it might be compatible with the replacement front panel I/Os for their cases, but do not quote me on that. Since my board only sports a single two-port USB 3.0 SuperSpeed header, I used an adapter to connect the other port pair to USB 2.0 ports, and I am happy with the result. Five front USB ports, front eSATA, front Audio, front Card Reader. The CF port is broken, but that happens so ridiculously easy with almost all card readers that I use an external one for that anyway.

    Just a quick overview of my old and new computers:
    Case: 1 external 3.5" bay, 6 external 5.25" bays
    Old configuration: Floppy, blank, DVD-RW, blank, DVD-ROM, Card Reader (in adapter), USB/Audio/1394 (in adapter)
    New configuration: Card Reader, USB/Audio/eSATA, DVD-RW, blank, blank, blank, blank
    Yes, I tossed out the DVD-ROM as well. The new board does not have PATA anymore and physical media have lost too much importance to warrant spending both money and a SATA port on one.


    Notes:
    - HD Audio and AC'97 specify more than just the connectors, however the connectors are pretty much the only place where end users need to be conscious of it.
    - There are actually devices with both an HD audio port and a card reader. Just ask Google. When I bought mine though, I have read many negative reviews about them though, and they are usually not from reputable brands.
     
  6. G0R3Z

    G0R3Z Just Can't Be Bothered

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    One is a Disk drive I rarely use, maybe for the odd old game I might play every now and then. I also use it to burn backups sometimes. I also have a fan controller in the other of my two bays - so I can crank up my case fans in the middle of a game if my case is getting too hot. It also has a temp monitor.
     
  7. hbrickface

    hbrickface Newbie

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    Last edited by hbrickface, Jun 4, 2015