Icy Dock MB559US-1S Review

Along with my other recent hardware purchases, I bought an Icy Dock external disk drive holder to serve as my new backup mechanism – along with a Western Digital 1TB disk drive.  This is a quick review of the hardware.

The delivery box comes in very attractive clear plastic packaging, and one senses that the box itself will be well protected.  I know that we should care less, and perhaps ideally it would have been shipped in nice recycled brown card; but I have to admit I do have a sense of happiness when I see something where even the packaging seems to be attractive and well thought-through.

The IcyDock packaging

The MB559US-1S model has USB2 and eSATA interfaces, and to my surprise, comes with both USB and eSATA cables, and an eSATA PCI external bracket for connection to a free internal SATA connection point – assuming you have one on your motherboard.  Note though that the power supply cable has a two-pin plug, presumably for an american audience, and I had to change that to a UK 3-pin plug.  The power supply cable to the drive box itself was one of those unusual multi-pin DIN jobbies – which I assume is because it has to supply multiple voltages to the drive.

Accessories in the Box

Fitting the disk drive into the single caddy provided is straight-forward, and simply requires removing a shipping bracket which appears to be designed to hold the arms of the caddy in place.  As the ‘caddy’ is simply a front-plate and two arms that run down each side of the drive, the electronics of the drive are exposed when the drive is removed. This was a surprise to me, and although I expect it is standard these days – with SATA and SAS type interfaces – I am more used to (and more happy with) caddies that fully enclose the drive. If I ever get around to finding more caddies, I’m not sure how happy I’d be to have a drive sitting around on a shelf, as I used to do with my old caddy system.

The IcyDock Back Panel

I started using the drive with a USB connection, which was OK, but I wanted the extra speed from the SATA connection.  Unfortunately, the supplied eSATA bracket had a (internal) SATA cable on it that was about 2cm too short for me to fit it into my P5E motherboard (which has the SATA connections on the far-side of the mobo, and in an orientation that takes the cable further away from the backports)!  Frustrating, but it would be fine on any motherboards with SATA ports that were more central in the board and came out perpendicularly to the board itself.  I resolved the problem by simply not screwing the backplane in place, and leaving it loose (which may not be a Good Thing if you care about RF interference etc.).

Note that the drive-bay requires a 3.5″ SATA disk drive with the SATA port in the standard position. Presumably most are; but theVelociraptor drive does not as it is really a 2.5″ drive in a 3.5″heatsink. Not a problem for me on this occasion, fortunately.

A 3.5 inch drive in the caddy

I’ve not had the urge to try hot-swapping the disk or anything like that (one issue being the availability of replacement caddies), but overall I am quite happy with this hardware.

Pros:

  • Well built and well-presented;
  • Flexibility of USB 2.0 or eSATA connectivity;
  • Quiet – the drive is somewhat sprung in it’s mounting, and there is no fan (the case is aluminium).

Cons:

  • US power plug;
  • Supplied eSATA backplane has too-short a cable;
  • Exposed HDD electronics when drive is removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>