I did a video about a $3 US mystery PC expansion card called the Athena Power 2.5″ backplane two years ago. A 2.5″ drive in a removable carrier that was accessible through the back of the expansion slot. Newegg still has that card in stock but no longer discounted and cost $30 US for that and a floppy-to-SATA cable. I needed a cheaper alternative and found a $7 US PC expansion card that can mount a 2.5″ drive.
Plugadget 2.5″ Mount Bracket for PC Slot
The Plugadget 2.5″ mount bracket for PC slot is available via a third-party seller at Newegg. The package arrived from China in two weeks. If you don’t mind waiting two months, you can buy the exact same item for less than half the price from Ali Express.
The plastic bag came with a glossy black plastic PC expansion card and a packet of five screws. Four small screws to mount the drive from the bottom or the sides of the card. A large screw to lock down the card if your case is missing a screw.
The bottom tab on the card is keyed for a PCIe 1x slot that can also fit a larger PCI or PCIe 16x slot. Take care when inserting or removing the card from a PCIe 1x slot. Unlike the larger slots, a PCIe 1x slot has a tight fit and doesn’t have much wiggle room.
Why Mount A 2.5″ Drive On A PC Card?
My FreeNAS file server booted from a pair of mirrored SanDisk Cruzer Fit 8GB flash drives for years. But FreeNAS is nearing end of life and its replacement is TrueNAS CORE. I’ll have to change the way I boot my file server since TrueNAS doesn’t work well with USB flash drives.
Level1Techs did a video about the troubles of installing TrueNAS Core on a USB flash drive.
- Taking forever to install TrueNAS on USB flash drive
- Timing out during the boot up process
- Destroying the USB drive from overheating
For me to install 2.5” SSDs inside my file server, I need a pair of mounting brackets.
Adding 2.5” Drives to An Old School Case
The NZXT Source 210 ATX case has eight 3.5″ drive bays and three 5.25″ drive bays. All the 3.5″ bays are in use and the 5.25″ bays are empty. If you watched my video about heat dead zones inside an old school case, 5.25″ accessories are too few and too expensive today.
If I bought a pair of the Athena Power cards and floppy-to-SATA power cables, it would cost $60 US. A pair of the Plugadget cards cost $14 US. The trade off on price is that I’ll have to take apart the case apart to replace a failed SSD. That shouldn’t be a problem since I lost only one USB flash drive after seven years of continuous use.