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Just about two months ago, we have completed a review of Icy Dock MB662USEB-2S; an incredible dual-bay FireWire 400/800 eSATA & USB Raid 3.5" HDD enclosure and today we are going to bring you another existing product from Icy Dock; MB994SP-4S. Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is not an external HDD enclosure but an internal multi-bay HDD RAID cage; able to support up to four 2.5" SATA/SSD/SAS HDDs.
ICY DOCK is a privately held company with more than 10 years being devoted in design, manufacturing, branding and distribution of Storage enclosure peripherals. By keep improving its own new product release process from previous toil experiences, ICY DOCK has formed a standard yet efficient new product development procedures to satisfy timely requirement from the market.
As one of the leading peripheral enclosure solution provider, we will continue to commit ourselves in supplying our customers the best performance per dollar products. "Your demand is our command" is the key to ensure our success in the business world.
* Fits 4 x 2.5" SATA I / II / III and SAS HDD/SSD.
* Accommodates Drives with up to 15mm Height.
* Fits 4 Drives into a Single 5.25" Device Bay.
* Status LED on Front for Each Drive.
* Full Metal EZ Slide Mini Tray System with Full Cage Design.
* Small Form Factor Perfect for IPC, Servers, and Small Form Factor Cases.
* Front, Rear, Top, and Bottom Ventilation Slots.
* Dual 40mm Fans with Active Power Technology.
* Heavy Duty Full Metal Construction.
* Support SATA 6Gbps.
* Top Cover for the Tray Adds Extra Drive Protection.
Package & Contents
Icy Dock MB994SP-4S comes with a pretty simple packaging but it is protected well by a bubble bag. Most of the important specifications of Icy Dock MB994SP-4S are written clearly at the back of the box such as weight, dimension, HDD interface and etc.
Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is a simple HDD RAID cage hence it only bundled with some installation screws and a user manual. The user manual comes with universal language as all the installation guides are described with diagrams. 3-year warranty is given for Icy Dock MB994SP-4S which is good enough for such simple device.
A Closer Look on Icy Dock MB994SP-4S
Icy Dock is specializing in external HDD enclosure and internal HDD cage for both consumer and enterprise sectors; either in single bay or multiple bays. Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is a quad 2.5" HDD RAID cage which is not only able to support SATA HDD but also SAS HDD for high availability and performance.
Does it sound amazing when you hear the quad HDD supportability of Icy Dock MB994SP-4S? This is even awesome when Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is only consuming a single 5.25" drive bay of the chassis. This has to be done precisely and Icy Dock has done it pretty well since they are pretty strong in such field.
Maximum HDD capacity per drive for Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is 1TB; 1.5TB is the highest capacity for 2.5" SATA HDD at this moment but it is very costly and not commonly available. Besides the traditional 2.5" mechanical SATA HDD, Solid State Drive (SSD) is also supported by Icy Dock MB994SP-4S as well. Status LED is available on the front panel for each drive to indicate its activity.
Icy Dock MB994SP-4S comes with full metal EZ slide mini tray which simplifies the installation; hot swappable. The EZ slide mini tray could be released and pull out by pressing the button of its right side. These EZ slides are interchangeable with other Icy Dock's products such as MB991IK-B; good for those are having multiple systems with Icy Dock internal drive cages.
Each of the Icy Dock MB994SP-4S‘s HDD tray comes with independent EZ slide mini tray and these trays are built with durable metal for longer lasting and able to give additional protection on the installed HDD; able to absorb certain level of vibration and shock. Screw is the bridge to fasten the HDD on the EZ slide mini tray but tool-less installation method is still much preferred.
The most common HDD interface in consumer industrial is SATA and Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is able to support the latest SATA technology; SATA III which gives up to 6Gbps. Icy Dock MB994SP-4S does not come with built-in RAID controller hence RAID controller must be provided by the system; unlike external RAID HDD enclosure where RAID controller in built in.
Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is equipped with active ventilation system for better reliable performance. There are dual 40mm fans with active power technology; only operate if HDD is installed on it. At the rear panel of Icy Dock MB994SP-4S, there are two Molex connectors to power up four HDDs but individual SATA port is available for each installed HDD for delivering the best throughput.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Installation for Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is pretty simple and straightforward where the enclosure or HDD cage of Icy Dock MB994SP-4S has to be mounted in a 5.25" external bay of a chassis. This should not cause any compatible issue with any chassis since only a single 5.25 external bay will be consumed. Lastly remember to connect the SATA and Molex connectors of Icy Dock MB994SP-4S to the system.
As we mentioned previously screws are required to secure the HDD on the EZ slide mini tray; this is quite simple as well. No screw is required for our setup as Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is compatible with the rail kits of our rig (Maelstrom) which is even simpler. The installation process could be considered done once the EZ slide mini tray is slotted back to the Icy Dock MB994SP-4S.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3/Gigabyte G31M-ES2L
Heatsink: Noctua NH-C14
Memory: Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR2 8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX260+
PCIe: Aten IC320U USB 3.0
Casing: In Win Maelstorm
HDD Cage: Icy Dock MB994SP-4S
PSU: OCZ ZX 850W
Optical Drive: HLDS DVD RW +/-
Controller: Aerocool Touch 2000
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Operating System: Window XP Pro SP2/Win 7 HP
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Basically Icy Dock MB994SP-4S could be considered as a HDD enclosure or housing where it should not have any physical impact on the HDD performance at all except the cooling ventilation; hence no synthesis benchmarking result will be shared here. Anyway we have tested Icy Dock MB994SP-4S with both 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, the performance results are as good as direct connection with our rig; no performance lagging at all.
The only measurable benchmark on Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is its cooling efficiency and Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is equipped with pretty good ventilation system where both of the 40mm cooling fans are working perfectly; noise is fairly audible. Furthermore the active power technology is available on Icy Dock MB994SP-4S; (left or right) fan will only be operated when any of the HDD is installed on the specific (left or right) location. What we could think of to further improve the performance and value of Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is to have a built-in RAID controller as an advanced version so that it could solve the RAID controller limitation for those older/entry systems. Lacking of 2.5" HDD storage in a desktop can be easily solved with Icy Dock MB994SP-4S where no additional external HDD docking station is required which is costly and have limitation on performance.
There is no doubt that Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is a unique and exciting product since it can accommodate up to four 2.5" SATA/SDD/SAS HDD at the same time with only consuming a single slot of 5.25" external drive bay of a chassis. 2.5" HDD is seldom being used in desktop system due to higher cost than 3.5" HDD and its limited supportability by most of the desktop chassis. However Icy Dock MB994SP-4S has just broken the impossibility by supporting quad 2.5" HDD at the same with; ideal for those are looking for frequent & complicated data transferring, data back up. Last but not least Icy Dock MB994SP-4S costs less than 60USD which is a real good deal compare with its ability.
+ Quad 2.5" SATA/SSD/SAS HDD
+ Support SATA III with throughput 6Gbps
+ Solid & durable enclosure
+ EZ slide mini tray
+ Hot swap & simple setup method
+ Dual 40mm fans with active power technology
+ Only consume 1 x 5.25" bay
+ Value of money
+ 3-year warranty
- Security lock is a bonus
Thanks to Icy Dock for providing this sample for us to review.
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