[SOLVED] External drive connected to Mobo from within PC Case?

Jul 12, 2021
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Hello

I am interested in maybe connecting some External drives (meaning specifically – drives that are simply outside of the PC Case)… to my PC via cables that are connected directly to the motherboard and come out of the case somehow.

Please keep in mind - I’m most likely going to do this with HDD’s as they’re cheapest (even if I could connect m.2's etc)… but maybe some other type be it PCIE 3.0/4.0 or regular SSD?

Sounds like what I really need is a Power eSata (eSatap) to 3.5" HDD cable? Can you get these?
What would be the exact wording I should search for to find something like this (in particular regarding the HDD connection doing both power and data?)

Then I wouldn't need separate power cables too.
Ididn't know these existed until @kanewolf mentioned normal Sata Adapter Cards.... then I stumbled on the eSatap thing.

I'd rather just use the eSatap cable instead of a SATA adapter card - because I'm planning on putting a fan where the PCIE Slots are at the back of the case. Maybe if pushed I might be able to squeak that just in front of the fan as suggested below?


It would be interesting to know if there was a fairly cheap way to get a cable to go from PCIE 4.0 to SATA straight into the Internal HDD (out of the case) or something similar (even if it wouldn't be at PCIE speeds it'd still max out the HDD). I'd rather not have to fork out a lot to buy PCIE Adapter cards for PCIE or Thunderbolt etc unless I really had to.

I’m considering doing this to keep the transfer speed much faster than a USB 3/2 dock/enclosure would be; and to keep the PC Case as unobstructed as possible for better airflow (eg instead of filling it up with drives).


For reference I have a Be Quiet! Silent Base 802 (no window) – you can see a rotatable 3D image here…. Note the vertical PCIE Slots on the back.

https://www.bequiet.com/en/case/2049

The fastest USB my mobo/case has will be USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 with one at the back I/O and one of those will connect to the front of the case (though I can't quite tell if it is 2x2 or just Gen 2?

While these faster USB types will be better than just USB 3... their still not as fast as internal connections.

This is what my Motherboard says it has:

Chipset:

  1. 2 x USB Type-C® ports, with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support (1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal USB header)
    1. 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel
Chipset+2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Hubs:

  1. 6 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Chipset+2 USB 2.0 Hub:

  1. 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
However, the motherboard also says it has 2x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connectors - but again I can't find what type or max speed Thunderbolt that is? So that could be an option later if I wanted to pay a fair bit extra... but probably not for now.​



Note that I will already be using the 2x HDD bays under the PSU shroud.


If it will fit – I’m planning on maybe using a 140mm or 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan placed at the back of the case (jerry rigged externally if necessary) where the normal horizontal PCIE Slots are for better air flow.

If it will fit – I’m thinking maybe I could squeak the internal cables for the external drives through one of the Vertical PCIE slots… and just modify one of the metal covers to let the cable through but keep it closed up to keep dust out?

Failing that maybe I could just have the fan slightly ajar and squeak the cable just in front of the fan?


I’ll probably just have a few drives sitting on my desk next to the PC Case – so cables need to be long enough for that.

And yes - obviously I know you can get external HDD’s/SSD’s but that’s not what I’m talking about.



Either I’d put them in a regular enclosure or dock but modify them to use the internal cable… or I could just make some DIY enclosure to simply hold it (eg no special cable connections – just use the SATA or PCIE or whatever etc)

Do they sell regular enclosures or just cases with holes to plug things in for something like this?


I’d like to know what suggestions you have as to the best ways to do this?

Could I do this for any type of drive? Eg PCIE 4.0 NVME all the way down to Internal HDD’s?


I suppose it’s probably possible to buy some kind of cable to connect to a PCIE 3.0/4.0 NVME directly to an M.2 slot on my motherboard? If so – can you tell me what it would be called and details etc?

So what do you think, pro’s cons, suggestions, links/vids?



Thank you for your help
 
Last edited:
Dec 30, 2021
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You have two simple options considering you want to add 3.5 HDDs: 1) add a PCI-e eSATA card and try to find external cases that still use this connection 2) buy a RAID-compatible USB 3.0 external case (Orico has some cheap models) and connect the case to the PC via USB, saving the PCI-e connection for something else. Other creative solutions can be more expensive. An external 7200rpm HDD must have an addicional 12v source with 3A and 36W. Most available are 2A and 24W resulting in a power bottleneck sometimes.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hello

I am interested in maybe connecting some External drives (meaning specifically – drives that are simply outside of the PC Case)… to my PC via cables that are connected directly to the motherboard and come out of the case somehow.

I’m considering doing this to keep the transfer speed much faster than a USB 3/2 dock/enclosure would be; and to keep the PC Case as unobstructed as possible for better airflow (eg instead of filling it up with drives).


For reference I have a Be Quiet! Silent Base 802 (no window) – you can see a rotatable 3D image here…. Note the vertical PCIE Slots on the back.

https://www.bequiet.com/en/case/2049


Note that I will already be using the 2x HDD bays under the PSU shroud.


If it will fit – I’m planning on maybe using a 140mm or 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan placed at the back of the case (jerry rigged externally if necessary) where the normal horizontal PCIE Slots are for better air flow.

If it will fit – I’m thinking maybe I could squeak the internal cables for the external drives through one of the Vertical PCIE slots… and just modify one of the metal covers to let the cable through but keep it closed up to keep dust out?

Failing that maybe I could just have the fan slightly ajar and squeak the cable just in front of the fan?


I’ll probably just have a few drives sitting on my desk next to the PC Case – so cables need to be long enough for that.

And yes - obviously I know you can get external HDD’s/SSD’s but that’s not what I’m talking about.


I’m most likely going to do this with HDD’s as they’re cheapest… but maybe some other type be it PCIE 3.0/4.0 or regular SSD?

Either I’d put them in a regular enclosure or dock but modify them to use the internal cable… or I could just make some DIY enclosure to simply hold it (eg no special cable connections – just use the SATA or PCIE or whatever etc)

Do they sell regular enclosures or just cases with holes to plug things in for something like this?


I’d like to know what suggestions you have as to the best ways to do this?

Could I do this for any type of drive? Eg PCIE 4.0 NVME all the way down to Internal HDD’s?


I suppose it’s probably possible to buy some kind of cable to connect to a PCIE 3.0/4.0 NVME directly to an M.2 slot on my motherboard? If so – can you tell me what it would be called and details etc?

So what do you think, pro’s cons, suggestions, links/vids?



Thank you for your help
USB 3.1/3.2 can have high transfer speeds. Standard SATA drives can use an eSATA card. Some eSATA cards use a motherboard SATA port and "convert" it to an eSATA port.
 
Jul 12, 2021
177
4
85
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Since you say HDDs there is no benefit in an interface faster than SATA. Save the PCIe for a device that can benefit from it.
For HDD's that's true, but as I said I might want to use some m.2's or even old style SSDs as well. The only thing I'm certain I want to do right now is at least 2x HDD's.

Would a cable from PCIE straight to HDD provide power?


Cheers
 
Jul 12, 2021
177
4
85
0

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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For HDD's that's true, but as I said I might want to use some m.2's or even old style SSDs as well. The only thing I'm certain I want to do right now is at least 2x HDD's.

Would a cable from PCIE straight to HDD provide power?


Cheers
Address one at a time.
HDDs would go through a different interface than external NVMe drives.
(and external NVMe is pretty pointless)

And no, a PCIe SATA adapter does not provide power to the drives.
 
Dec 30, 2021
36
4
45
4
You have two simple options considering you want to add 3.5 HDDs: 1) add a PCI-e eSATA card and try to find external cases that still use this connection 2) buy a RAID-compatible USB 3.0 external case (Orico has some cheap models) and connect the case to the PC via USB, saving the PCI-e connection for something else. Other creative solutions can be more expensive. An external 7200rpm HDD must have an addicional 12v source with 3A and 36W. Most available are 2A and 24W resulting in a power bottleneck sometimes.
 

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