I recently purchased two Dell Optiplex 380s. Dual core pentiums with 3gb of ram and windows 7 professional for $434 each. I was quite busy and needed to get them quickly for my Mom’s office. Normally, I prefer to build my own systems because I know exactly what I’m getting. But the Dells were the right price and easy to order. After I ordered the Dells, I also ordered four Western Digital enterprise drives (WD5003ABYX) to use for a mirrored raid in each system. I did check that the optiplex systems had space for two more internal drives. I also knew that I’d be buying a separate raid card to put in the systems. I didn’t order that ahead of time because I wasn’t exactly sure what slots would be present/available in the system.

Yesterday, I finally got to my Mom’s house to assemble things. I bought some cheap pcie raid cards the day before when I looked over the systems. And I saw there were two extra power plugs for my raid drives, so I thought I was all set. It was only when I started to install the drives that I saw that I could only install the second drive in the proper place if I used a screwless drive tray. Did Dell provide me with this tray? Did they mention anywhere in the ordering process that I might need it? Do they tell me know where I could get one easily? No, to all. So, now, I’m either going to just let the drive lay in the bottom of the chassis, or have to go on ebay or someplace to try and track down two of these things.

I’m not blaming Dell for this. They sold me an inexpensive system, which is what I wanted. I’m more angry at myself for falling for this again. It seems like every time I buy a prebuilt system, I run into these little issues that drive me nuts. When I build my own system, I always use cases from Antec, which usually come with everything I need. Does building my own system cost more? Yep, usually it does. I have to buy a legit copy of windows, which adds $130 to the cost. For this Dell, if they paid what I have to pay for windows (which I’m sure they don’t), it would mean that the cost of all the hardware was only $434 – $130 = $304. There’s no way I could build a system (that I’d be happy with) for less than that.

So, now attempting to come up with a hack for sticking this drive in the computer. I could break down and buy the tray on ebay, but that’s not fun. What would be fun would be to scan the tray I have and then use a 3d printing system to make myself another one! Unfortunately, I don’t have a 3d printer or scanner. So I’ll have to come up with something more mundane. Hopefully, it’ll be fun.