HOW TO replace DVD Rom with Internal 3.5" Hard drive


VIP Member
Jun 12, 2011
Baltimore, MD
HOW TO replace DVD Rom with Internal 3.5" Hard drive

Most of this is probably posted in various posts from around the internet. Wanted to try and combine it all into one post. I installed a 2TB 3.5" Hard Drive in my Falcon a couple of years ago. The Falcon 1022'd on me, so I decided to RGH my Slim corona and put the hard drive in there. I know that using a 2.5" drive would be easier, but once my consoles are hacked I never use the DVD-ROM anyway, unless I need to rip a copy of something using FSD3. So I choose to use a larger capacity and less expensive 3.5" drive.

In this post I'll cover what I did with the Falcon, and then show how I mounted in my my MW3 Slim. Numbers in the text correspond with picture numbers.


1. I dont have any pictures of mounting the hard drive inside the DVD ROM chassis. I did this awhile ago ad didnt take pix. Basically, you pick a DVD ROM to gut. Remove everything you need from the inside so that the hard drive fits in there. Make sure you keep the sliders and front plastic piece together so you can glue them in, so that the front Xbox Bezel can still be attached to the front of the drive, making it line up properly. Drill holes in the metal case to mount the hard drive. Make sure you have holes cut in there so that the data and power cables can get to the hard drive.

Some of the following pix should help you figure this out.

2. A picture of the 4 main things that need to be changed/modded. You can see the hard drive mounted inside the drive through the hole where the DVD magnetic holder was. The hard drive power cable I made from the stock dvd power cable and a sata power extension cable, soldered together. The slotted fan housing, and the motherboard with hard wired sata data cable. Yes, the cable was soldered and heat shrinked, I put e-tape over it to keep it together.

I made the power cable by soldering the 3 grounds from the DVD cable (pins 7,9,11) together to the 2 grounds on the sata cable, 5 wires, one solder joint. The one 5v wire from the DVD power (pin 5) to the red wire on the sata cable. Finally the two 12v wires from the DVD cable (pins 10 and 12), to the yellow sata power cable. The other wires on the DVD power cable can go away.

3. A picture of the hard drive in the chassis. You get the general idea of what to do. Everyone has their own way to mounting the drive. Mine was a little dirty, but with the covers on, you can't see a thing.

4. Another view of the hard drive and the slotted fan cover.

5. A better view of the fan cover. I had to cut the slot because the cables didnt clear the cover. I probably could have cover up with a better way to mount the drive to move the connectors farther away from the fan cover, but this is what I ended up with. Didnt effect chip temps at all.

6. I took a sata extension cable and cut one end off. I soldered the cable directly to the motherboard. You might also be able to take a hard drive chassis and use the plug in cable, but I like
this method. Be sure to match wires and grounds. It's 7 wires that need to be soldered. Keep in mind, most people who have soldered an extension cable like this can no longer use the built in hard drive connector, even with the 3.5" drive disconnected. Most people assume its the extra interference. Make sure you have the proper length set before you cut anything. It takes a hard turn at the fan area. As long as its in the right spot, it wont effect the fan performance at all.

7. Mounted in the chassis. Gives you a good idea where the sata data cable goes. Yes, the extra 40mm fan on the heatsink helps, wired directly to power supply 12v. Drops temps in CoD about 6-7 degrees Celcius. The tape on the CPU heatsink helps channel the air over more of the fins and concentrates some of the flow right at the tube.

8. Give you an idea of where things land once its plugged in.

9. The way the cables mounted inside the hole in the fan cover I actually had to slide them together before dropping them into the chassis.

10. Everything mounted inside the chassis.

11. Closeup of the cables coming out of the fan cover.

As I said earlier, you can probably come up with a better solution for mounting. Save some time and bother dealing with making room for extra cables. If I left anything out of this part or you want more clarification, let me know, and I'll add it to the post.

............ next up, Slim install.............


VIP Member
Jun 12, 2011
Baltimore, MD
Re: HOW TO replace DVD Rom with Internal 3.5" Hard drive


12. At this point I had just finished glitching my Corona, and tested whether or not it would work in the Slim. Plugged the same DVD power cable to the DVD power connector in the Slim, and used a sata cable I had laying around and fired it up. Worked just fine. This is the 'Proof of Concept' picture.

13. The Phat DVD case and the Slim DVD next to each other. First issue, the Slim DVD doesn't have legs on it, the Slim DVD Rom is more like a PC DVD Rom. I checked an old PC DVD Rom but it was too long to fit properly in the Slim. You cant just cut off the legs of the Phat drive, since it will still have the 'bump outs'. I wanted to keep the Phat setup the hard drive was in, for future usage if needed, so I grabbed an old trashed Hitachi and started with it.

14. This is the shell of the Hitachi. Unlike the Samsung which has metal surrounding the legs, the Hitachi legs stick out of the chassis through holes, and you only have the screw tabs to deal with, once you remove the guts, in one piece.

15. Case after some modifications. Red circles show the holes for mounting the hard drive. I used the one bent tab for one hole. then marked and drilled the other 3 holes. Blue is showing the bump thing I flattened with a hammer, and the edge where I trimmed some metal off to make room for the hard drive cables. Green shows where I bent the tabs to make things fit better inside the Slim chassis.

16. Side view with hard drive mounted inside DVD case. Notice I'm using the Slim DVD data cable for this install. The Slim is nice enough to have an actual sata port on the motherboard for both the DVD and hard drive, no soldering required.

17. Top view of the hard drive in its new casing.

18. Bottom/rear view.

19. Side by side comparison of the Slim drive and modified Phat drive.

20. The old DVD to sata power cable was too sure for the Slim, since the power port is on the other side of the board. Made a new one, same wiring as the old one.

21. Took the rubber bumper off the Slim drive and placed in on the 'new' Phat drive. Didnt quite fit so I taped it on to make sure it didnt fall off. You see where the wires are run. The Slim DVD sata data cable plugs into the hard drive (90 degree end), and the 45 degree bend plugs into the hard drive data port on the motherboard. The DVD power cable runs under that over the the DVD power port. I chose to plug the original Slim hard drive sata data cable into the DVD port (labeled ODD-BLUE) on the motherboard. This way I can plug a 12 inch sata data cable into the other end, where the original black Slim hard drive slides in, and plug the cable out of the housing if I ever need to attach the DVD drive. Just power it with my DVD power supply/ejector I built. The original Slim hard drive power cable (blue wires) I just tucked up in between the ports.

22. The faceplate of the Slim has 2 alignment pins built into it to help aligh the DVD tray to the hole in the faceplate. My 'custom' hard drive enclosure didnt have those holes so I cut the posts off. In the picture you can see one is cut, and one hasnt been cut yet. Cutting these does not affect the stability of the faceplate. You might want to drill the holes for them, up to you. Just look at the front of the Slim DVD Rom to see how they are shaped.

23. Top of case and faceplate install with new enclosure inside. You can see what is exposed of the hard drive enclosure, this is where you attach the bezel of the Slim DVD Rom. I carefully pried it off the DVD Rom so I could attach it. After I took that picture, I took a black Sharpie and trace the edge of the hole on the enclosure.

24. Used double stick tape to attach the DVD bezel to the front of the enclosure. You can see the black lines around the edge where I traced the edges.

25. Sides and faceplate attached. The bezel is just the slightest bit off, but probably no more than it as stock. Definitely not enough to tell unless you look for it.

Thats about it for that. Works great. I recorded one of those 'yes this is real' videos and put it on youtube.

So, ask away. I'm sure I left something out. I've never done a tutorial like this before. As I said earlier, your method of mounting may be cleaner and better than mine. Just showing you an example to give you ideas.
Last edited:


Full Member
May 31, 2013
Re: HOW TO replace DVD Rom with Internal 3.5" Hard drive

Kudos! This looks awesome :D using things you've already got ^_^

The Sata-DVD power supply you've made, just on a side note could you use that to power the drive whilst flashing CFW?

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2


VIP Member
Jun 12, 2011
Baltimore, MD
Thats exactly what I built it for. I took an old external hard drive power supply, a 3.3v regulator off of a scrap Phat motherboard, and a 3 way switch and wired them up. Once the drive is powered up, flip the switch one way to send a 3.3v signal to the eject pin, and the other side of the switch sends a ground signal to it. Some drives require 3.3v, some need ground. When the switch is centered, there is nothing sent, just an open circuit. I used it on all the Phat drives for flashing and ripping. Havent tried it on my Slim drive yet.


VIP Member
Dec 14, 2012
while this is cool...... it is pointless, having to take the system appart to rip a game........ especially since you can get a 1TB laptop drive for $100 and that was 4 - 5 months ago, which means that they probably have bigger you can get now.


VIP Member
Jun 12, 2011
Baltimore, MD
who says I have to tear it apart to rip a game? As I said, there will be a SATA data cable in the hard drive hole for doing so. Also, I have other 360's in here that can rip just fine, that have both DVD and HDD built in.


VIP Member
Jun 12, 2011
Baltimore, MD
So from what i have read you cant use the DVD-ROM SATA port you still need to use the SATA port from the HDD ????
Correct. The DVD Data port on any x360 will only function with a DVD ROM
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VIP Member
Aug 5, 2011
What about heat issues? I havent installed my 3.5 hdd inside because the added heat generated by the hdd can compromise the integrity of the mobo, maybe? I have an external setup, I ran a 20in sata wire from the side loading bay of the slim, and connected a external 12v power source to the hdd. What are if any consequences of doing this? I know its clean and its tight but the longevity of the console may be demished.


VIP Member
Jun 5, 2010
I like the detailed step by step guide, good sh*t bud.

**side note** as i was typing this i am outside smoking, and a ton of snow just slid off the roof onto my head, just thought id mention lol.


Noob Account
Mar 30, 2014
Re: HOW TO replace DVD Rom with Internal 3.5" Hard drive

first of all, what a nice tutorial! Congrats!

Just wondering what if instead a 3.5" hdd we use a 2.5" hdd with a laptop's caddy board? You know, that kind of enclosure used to replace laptop's DVD drive with a 2.5" hdd... I have one of these in my laptop and it works great... I don't really know how it works but if it work we should be able to use the DVD SATA port for the caddy and still have another 2.5" hdd in the other one. Would be great, isn't it? 2 internal HDDs!

A picture of a hdd caddy


Senior Member
Aug 9, 2013
Step 20. for the slim which wires will I be using off the DVD side to join to the hdd power?


VIP Member
Jul 21, 2012
Harrogate, North Yorkshire , uk
I think it's the same as the phat so

I made the power cable by soldering the 3 grounds from the DVD cable (pins 7,9,11) together to the 2 grounds on the sata cable, 5 wires, one solder joint. The one 5v wire from the DVD power (pin 5) to the red wire on the sata cable. Finally the two 12v wires from the DVD cable (pins 10 and 12), to the yellow sata power cable. The other wires on the DVD power cable can go away.


Noob Account
Jan 15, 2011
I have a RGH slim and I want to put an big hdd inside.

What I try: open xbox, unplug DVD, switch old hdd with a new one and try to start. Press to start and green led only blink nothing happened. Try with 3 hdd the same.

After this plug the DVD and RGH start with all 3 hdd (the 3,5 need to be power up ofc but I need a way to start it without DVD.

Question: How I start xbox RGH without DVD ?

Thanks a lot.

Thanks a lot for all your works.


VIP Member
Jan 10, 2012
Start it normal, it should work.To disable the ROL led from blinking, use smcnoblink located in J-Runner/Settings/Advanced XeBuild Options/JTAG and GLITCH common option when you create the XeBuild image.