MacUpgrades - Guide to Fitting a SATA Optical Drive in a 2006 - 2008 Mac Pro

This guide refers to products we no longer sell, and is kept for information purposes only.

Models of the Mac Pro Workstation from Apple before the 2009 revision use an IDE connector for their CD/DVD drives. We have had difficulty in sourcing IDE units that function in these machines.

Fortunately Apple included spare SATA connectors on the logic board so it is possible to fit a SATA optical drive and run a SATA data cable to it from one of these ports. Power can be supplied via an adaptor from the IDE-type power cable intended for the bay.

Once fitted the drive works fine, and will read, write, play video and audio, author disks and boot the machine as you would expect. The only issue is that the procedure for force-ejecting a disk by holding down the mouse button on startup does not function - normal ejecting via software, or via the dedicated eject key on some keyboards, or by holding down the F12 key on the keyboard all work fine. But the mouse button on startup technique (which can be useful with a machine that has suffered a hard drive crash) will not, and you would need to access the optical drive and press the manual eject button if you need to remove a disk without an operating system on the Mac Pro.

  1. This is the SATA optical drive supplied in our kit.

  2. These are the SATA / SATA cable and the Molex > SATA power cables that come in our kit.

  3. Remove the side door of the machine using the release on the rear of the machine.

  4. Remove all the hard drive bays from your machine and place to one side, simply pull the drives towards you. This will make the routing easier.

  5. We will now remove the graphics card, your card may vary - it may not have the black power leads for example. This card is a Radeon 5870 which has two power connections. Remove the black power leads (if you have them)

  6. Undo the two screws holding the graphics card in place and remove the PCI blanking plate.

  7. Remove your graphics card (and any other PCI cards that are installed), the PCI express release tap can be fiddly to reach with an upgraded card, there is a small release tab which you pull upwards to release the card.

  8. Remove the graphics card from the machine and place to one side.

  9. Locate the black fan assembly holding screw (this is under hard drive bay number 2), use the included long-handled phillips magnetic screwdriver to remove it.

  10. Next remove the heat sink cover, by reaching in and lifting the cover off and out.

  11. This reveals the heat sinks and the location of the next screw to undo.

  12. The last screw holding the fan assembly in place is next to the heat sinks at the bottom of the fan assembly. This is a metal phillips screw. Undo using the supplied long-handled magnetic screwdriver..

  13. Once the screw is removed, pull the fan assembly outwards.

  14. This shows what you should now see.

  15. Now locate one of the two SATA ports on your motherboard. These are below hard drive bay number 2 near the airport card.

  16. Now to remove the existing optical drive, which is obviously located at the top left of the machine

  17. Gently pull on the optical drive housing (signet ring removal at this point entirely optional - Ed).

  18. Pull the housing until it is approx. half way out.

  19. Disconnect the IDE ribbon cable and the power connector from the old drive.

  20. Once done remove the whole enclosure from the machine.

  21. Undo the 2 phillips screws from each side of the optical drive and put to one side.

  22. Here are the two optical drives compared. The old one (IDE) at the top, and the new one (SATA) at the bottom.

  23. We will now need to remove the front lip of the new optical drive to allow the unit to eject properly. Hold the new drive and look at the front, you will see a small round hole. Using a paper clip or a tiny Phillips screwdriver insert into the hole to eject the mechanism a fraction. Then pull on the tray until it is fully extended.

  24. Grasp the superdrives tray in both hands and use your thumbs to press the front lip upwards. this requires a reasonable amount of pressure to do so.

  25. The front lip will come away in your hands.

  26. Then gently press the optical drive tray closed. You should then have a drive that looks like this:

  27. Insert the drive into the optical bay enclosure. Making sure that you have it the right way round.

  28. Re attach the 4 phillips holding screws to each corner of the drive.

  29. Put the enclosure to one side. We will now run the SATA cable from the motherboard. Take the SATA cable from our kit and locate the RIGHT angled end. This will be the end we connect to the board.

  30. Attach the cable to the logic board. This will result in the cable pointing upwards.

  31. We will now route the cable up the back of the case into the space for the optical drive enclosure. Note the large bundle of wires to the left of the connection for hard drive number 1. With care gently guide the cable up through the gap so that it go through into the optical drive space above.

  32. Once it is poking through take hold of the cable and gently pull the slack from the cable through.

  33. This is the result we are looking for at the board end.

  34. This is the cable pulled all the way through into the optical drive bay.

  35. Now take the power adapter cable from our kit.

  36. Connect the adapter to one of the existing 4 pin power leads in the optical bay space.

  37. Push the SATA cable to the back of the case inside the optical drive space.

  38. Take the pre assembled optical drive enclosure and begin to insert it into the space in the machine. Take care to keep the new cables out of the way of the enclosure.

  39. Once the enclosure is about half way in connect up the SATA power and SATA data cables to the new drive.

  40. Push the remaining cable into the enclosure to keep them out of the way. Push the whole enclosure into place.

  41. Ensure that the enclosure sits flat with the case.

  42. Now to re-assemble. Start with the Fan assembly. Push this gently into place and check it is flush.

  43. Using the magnetic long handled screwdriver put the black fan assembly screw in and tighten.

  44. Next re-insert the silver screw into the bottom side of the fan assembly. Using the magnetic screwdriver will prevent the screw from dropping into the case.

  45. Put the heat sink cover back in place, ensure that it is flat.

  46. Re-install the PCIe graphics card and any others you removed earlier. Don't forget to reconnect power cables if you have them.

  47. Re fit the PCIe blanking plate holder.

  48. Re insert your hard drive caddies, and re-fit the door to the machine. Restart as normal and test.