To be honest, I can't recall many good experiences
using removable hard drive racks, particularly the single slot kind. PCSTATS has
tested a few of these devices over the years and they've all worked, but just
about every one has eventually been pulled and set aside for one
reason or another. You probably have a similar pile of unused hardware too. What
is it about the luxury of removable hard drive racks that is so geekily
alluring, but so short lived?
Installing a removable hard drive rack necessitates a little PC on PC tinker time,
so it's best to have a phillips screwdriver handy before beginning. Dropping
the hard drive into its aluminum or plastic removable shell and remembering
to not loose that futile key is about all it takes though.
Removable hard drive racks allow the drive to be pulled from the bay of the computer in a matter
of seconds, should the need arise. It most often never does. This is most likely
why removable hard drive racks fall out of favour so quickly; once installed
there is nowhere to remove the hard drive caddy too. Wouldn't it be great
if we could pull out that removable hard drive rack from the PC, and instead
of sliding into another computer, pop it into a portable external hard drive chassis
that can go anywhere?
Well, lucky for us Icy Dock have introduced just such a
product. The Icy Dock MB452 is an external eSATA and USB2.0 hard drive enclosure
whose removable drive caddy is compatible with the companies PC mounted MB122SKGF system. The removable serial ATA hard drive
caddy's are interchangeable with each product family, allowing internal and
external drives to be swapped in a few moments.
||IcyDock MB452 External HDD Enclosure
Installation Guide, Screws, Keys, eSATA cable, USB2.0
cable, AC power adaptor.
Of the data transfer standards used by the external
hard drive enclosures, eSATA is the best by far. The Icy Dock MB452 supports
External SATA, and USB2.0 which is 100 times more common, but slightly slower.
In our specific case, with an Icy Dock MB122SKGF installed in the computer case and one MB452 sitting
on the desktop we've got a system of removable hard drive enclosures which make
it practical to have removable hard drives in the first place. Pull the SATA
drive out of the computer and drop it into the external enclosure, and vice
versa. Regardless of what computer the external hard drive enclosure connects to
(notebook, desktop, server, etc) the data is portable and always within easy
reach. The internal hard drive removable racks are basically limited to full
desktops, servers and mid-tower cases, so it kind of begs the question why
these two seemingly important components were ever sold separately in the past,
In this review PCSTATS will be looking at the Icy Dock MB452 external
SATA hard drive enclosure and its removable drive caddy. The unit is black in
colour with some nice aluminum detailing and vibration reducing rubber feet;
multiple units can be stacked one atop the next, or it can be stood on
its edge on rubber feet. The HDD caddy is made of aluminum, supports serial
ATA I and serial ATA II hard drives only.
At the rear of the external chassis is a small 40mm to help draw
warm air out the back and keep an active hard drive cool. The chassis is
vented along the sides as well, but since the hard drive is full enclosed
in the aluminum caddy this is all rather pointless in our opinion. On
the front of the HDD caddy are a pair of status LEDs.
The Icy Dock MB452 is powered by an AC adaptor, and comes with a set of keys,
one 6 foot shielded USB cable and one 42" long shielded eSATA cable. The
unit must be plugged in to operate, neither eSATA nor USB deliver enough power
to support a hard drive. IcyDock include everything a user will need to set
up the M122SKGF, aside from a Serial ATA hard drive of course. The installation
guide is a one page affair, but detailed enough to be useful.
Two Things To Remember
There are only two things you need to be aware of when
using the Icy Dock MB452; first the caddy must be fully in the slot and locked
before it will power up. Serial ATA is hot swappable, so this is a bit annoying
although understandable. Second, and this is the one thing likely to cause any
user the most trouble with the Icy Dock MB452 is that you have to tell it which
mode to operate in.
A small sliding switch on the rear of the MB452 chassis determines if it
connects through eSATA cable or USB2.0 cable. If you get the cable and setting
mixed up, the MB452 will not work once it powers up.
Next up we'll go over getting
the Icy Dock MB452 running, and talk about the differences between eSATA and SATA.