Note: Before installing any HDDs in the front cage, it’s a good idea to remove the cage and plug in the VFD power cable. Its only accessible with the HDD cage fully removed!
The HD160 enclosure can mount up to four 3.5′ internal drives; three in the removable drive bay and one above the optical drive. I wouldn’t recommend mounting a high-speed, hot HDD on top of the 5.25′ bay because it does not get much air circulation for cooling. A lower speed drive that runs cool should be OK.
As mentioned earlier, the U-shaped top section of the unique, removable drive bay is bolted to the base of the drive cage with four small machine screws. The two front screws are rather hard to reach, especially when it comes to putting them back in. (A captive-grip or magnetic tip screwdriver is almost a necessity here.) Each HDD rests on a pair of foam rubber pads and locating pins at the base and is secured with two screws (inside rubber grommets) at the top.
In hind sight, I wish Zalman had designed the drive cage so that the bottom and sides were all one U-shaped piece, with a flat top plate, instead of the other way around. That would make the four screws easily accessible at the top instead of difficult to reach at the bottom.
The single 5.25′ drive bay is provided to mount an optical drive of your choice. The HD160 comes with an aluminum trim piece that is designed to fit on the front of an optical drive tray with double-sided tape.
To install the trim piece you must first remove the plastic front (most just snap on or off) and then mount the drive into the 5.25′ bay. Position the drive so it just makes contact with the drive eject button, but still leaves room for the button to work. Remove the backing from the double-sided tape and insert the trim piece thru the front opening and press against the drive tray to attach.
Once all the peripheral devices were mounted, I installed the motherboard (with the CPU, CPU cooler, and RAM already inserted). The board lined up perfectly on the pre-installed standoffs and all of the expansion cards also lined up perfectly with the rear slot openings.
Routing all the various cables proved to be relatively easy as there is a lot of space in front of the power supply and room to run cables underneath the card reader. The VFD power adapter plugs in between the motherboard and main ATX power cable. As I mentioned earlier, I personally don’t like having to use adapters and more often than not will break out the soldering iron and make direct connections. (The VFD power adapter taps into the +5VSB line and a common ground to provide power to the display and IR receiver when the HTPC is turned off.)
After the main system was hooked up and tested, I installed the rest of the expansion cards: HDTV tuner, PVR tuner, and sound card. Time to rock-n-rollâ€¦ 🙂