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IcyDock MB973SP-B Tray-less 3-Bay SATA Hard Drive Bay Module
IcyDock MB973SP-B Tray-less 3-Bay SATA Hard Drive Bay Module  - PCSTATS
A hot swap backplane module like the IcyDock MB973SP-B is like a hard drive rack, except you don't have to fiddle with plugs and data cables when time comes to install or swap a drive. The disks are always at hand for removal and capacity upgrades. On top of that, forced cooling is built in to prevent excessive heat build up.
 70% Rating:   
Filed under: Hard Drives/SSD Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: IcyDock Dec 21 2010   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Hard Drives/SSD > IcyDock MB973SP-B

Data Connections & Conclusions

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 to you.

Conclusions on IcyDock MB973SP-B multi-drive:

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 build up.

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 drive.

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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Contents of Article: IcyDock MB973SP-B
 Pg 1.  IcyDock MB973SP-B Tray-less 3-Bay SATA Hard Drive Bay Module
 Pg 2.  Closer Look at Drive Bays
 Pg 3.  — Data Connections & Conclusions

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