There are three SATA
data and two standard 4-pin molex power connectors on the back
of the IcyDock MB973SP-B module. Either SATA I /II/III hard drives
can be used with the product. You'll need to supply three SATA cables
to connect each of the SATA data connections to the corresponding SATA
headers on the motherboard.
It's a bit of a tight fit getting the SATA cables
engaged with the sockets, and being only soldered in place they are apt
to bend if too much force is applied to the cable end. The
red cable is for the front mounted eSATA port, the beige cable
for the USB jack.
The 80mm fan is screwed into
place but is removable for cleaning. In the likely event the instruction manual is
misplaced there is a sticker with all the pin-outs affixed to the
bottom of the unit.
Now let's wrap up this review and highlight some of
the aspects of IcyDock's product that are likely to be of most interest
Conclusions on IcyDock MB973SP-B
In the space of two
5.25" optical drives the IcyDock MB973SP-B module packs in three 3.5"
SATA hard drives, all hot swapable, all accessible without lifting a single
screw driver. It also features a front mounted eSATA / USB ports.
There's no need to open up a cramped computer, no HDD rails to fuss with,
and a fan ensures a modicum of airflow over your hard drives to prevent excessive heat
Just open up a bay door, slide a bare SATA hard drive in and close it. The SATA
drive is automatically connected and within a few moments should be accessible from the
desktop provided AHCI is configured for your SATA ports. As the electrical connections disengage, data flowing to
the drive is stopped, and power cut off.
The ICYDock MB973SP-B 3-bay hot swap hard drive module is such a simple device, but
until PC case makers start including SATA backplanes in every case you'll want to consider spending the $87CDN ($ 87USD/£0GBP)
the MB973SP-B commands. For anyone who
runs a RAID 1 arrays, it's definitely worth while.
Functionally the IcyDock MB973SP-B worked as it should
with every drive we tested it with, except
for a 2TB Seagate
Barracuda XT 6GB/s SATA III rated hard drive. The build quality of the unit
is generally fine, but in use we found the little catches under each plastic
door made opening the bays at times, tricky. Your finger needs to press in to
disengage it first, allowing
the door to freely open after. During our tests it was not uncommon
to find ourselves pulling on the door until it just clicked open. Hard drives slide in and
out of the 3-bay unit smoothly, ICYDock has used stainless steel in very specific
areas to ensure smooth running with any parts that contact the metal hard
The single 80mm cooling fan spins
quietly, while drawing a moderate amount of air over each hard drive
to help keep temperatures in check. The main issue you may encounter with the IcyDock MB973SP-B is
dust buildup over time. Given that air is drawn in through
the front of the unit into the computer case and the fact that
the openings are all quite small, it seems to filter out dust rapidly.
There is no denying that the IcyDock MB973SP-B is convenient
tool, particularly for anyone running a RAID array. However unlike previous
units PCSTATS has tested without any issues, and that frankly we've used
in RAID arrays and are quiet happy with, the fact that the IcyDock MB973SP-B was
for some reason unable to support our test 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT
6GB/s SATA III rated hard drive drive makes us wary of recommending this particular
model. Something's up and until we can get a firm
resolution from the manufacturer we'll have to hold back our recommendations.
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