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Cases without external drive bays

Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:29 am

Instead of bumping the thread below from a year ago I wanted to ask roughly the same question a year later and see if the answers have changed. I'm slightly expanding the question from are there any mid-tower cases without 5.25" bays to are there any cases without 5.25" or 3.5" external bays. In the original thread, no one knew of a single mid-tower case without a 5.25" bay. Today, as far as I can tell, there is still no mid-tower case without 5.25" bays. If you expand the question out to include all cases this is what I have found but maybe I've missed something.

There are 16 cases without a 5.25" bay. Most of them are small format mITX cases and really there are only about 8 but some come in different colors. There are two cases that don't have 5.25" or 3.5" external bays. Both these cases are mITX boxes that will hold 6 3.5" or 2.5" drives and 19" video cards. So some progress has been made. It would be nice of bayless cases were offered across the many form factors of cases and not just in very small mITX cases.

So the question is, what is the point of a 5.25" external bay? I'm expanding that to include external 3.5" bays as well. Even if you have some reason for them, is that reason niche and easily solved some other way? Is your reason common enough that almost no cases are offered without these bays?
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Re: Cases without external drive bays

Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:33 am

I use my 5¼" bay for my Blu-ray drive. My 3½" drive bay contains a memory card reader with additional USB ports.
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Re: Cases without external drive bays

Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:39 am

The point is to have spaces to put things, like optical drives, card readers, removable HDD caddies, fan controllers, tape drives, whatever have you. You don't -have- to fill them, but often you choose to fill at least one.

The more I look at it, the more I think "Well what else would they put there?". I mean, a standard ATX motherboard with a power supply above/below it takes up a decent amount of vertical space. You're as well having something potentially useful, like a 5.25 or 3.25 bay, rather than something not, like blank metal. There's no point for 90% of users to fill that space with HDD bays either.
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Re: Cases without external drive bays

Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:25 pm

Given that a case without an external drive bay is going to be useless or otherwise unattractive (from a practical sense) to most average consumers, a case manufacturer would have to have an extremely compelling reason not to include these features in it's design. ITX and other size-focused applications aside, a case exists to contain the system's components. Anything else is simply a motherboard enclosure.

Plus, versatility is just a good thing. Here's some of the things I've put into external bays over the years:
- floppies
- optical drives
- a mechanically-hacked ZIP drive
- fan controllers
- additional USB ports
- multi-function memory readers
- a slot-fed photo scanner
- a DAT drive (doubled as a backup storage device)
- an audio amplifier and volume control

Nearly all of those storage functions have been obsoleted by DVD, of course, but you still need a bay for that. Could you explain the appeal of a system that doesn't have external bays?
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Re: Cases without external drive bays

Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:33 pm

It's probably not what you're looking for but at work, we buy our PCs from a manufacturer who use Chenbro cases. Chenbro have a model which take mATX motherboards and half height expansion cards. They don't have 5.25" or 3.5" drive bays, instead they have slots for notebook style slimline drives. ... php?sku=53

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