3.5-inch Drive Bay

Zip and Floppy Drives

There are two types of 3.5-inch drive bays: internal and external. Internal 3.5-inch drive bays hold drives, like hard drives, that do not need to be touched from outside of the computer. External 3.5-inch drive bays hold drives, like floppy drives, that need their disks to be manually inserted from outside of the computer. Two popular 3.5-inch external bay drives are shown above. On the left is a Zip drive that is capable of storing 100 megabytes, (100,000,000 bytes), of information on Zip disks. On the right is a standard 3.5-inch 1.44MB, (1,440,000 bytes), floppy drive that stores considerably less information than the Zip drive. Due to the way information is stored on disks, disks always hold slightly less information than their maximum rated capacity. For example: a 1.44MB floppy disk will actually only hold 1.38MBs of information. Below is a picture of a 3.5-inch internal bay hard drive.

Hard Drive

Hard drives are sealed and contain disks that are not removable. For this reason, they can be hidden inside of the computer, never to be seen. This is why most hard drives are internal bay drives. The hard drive is where your files and programs are stored for everyday use. They are always there unless someone or something erases them. A few hard drives are removable, so they must be mounted in an external bay. Usually these drives are mounted in a 5.25-inch external drive bay, since they require a special casing that they can be removed from and inserted back into. Normally, computers will have one or two external, and two or three internal 3.5-inch drive bays. The hard drive shown below has been opened to reveal what's inside.

Hard Drive