Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Review

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Introduction

Icy Dock is a company with over 10 years experience in design, manufacture and distribution of storage products and are one of the leading peripheral enclosure solution providers. Their product line-up is extensive with products ranging from hard drive racks, to enclosures and docking stations; suitable for both consumers and businesses they have a huge product line-up to suit your needs.

Today we are taking a look at MB662U3-2S 3.5” SATA Dual Bay RAID HDD Enclosure which is part of their ‘ICYRaid’ line of products. It is a two bay enclosure with a white and silver design on the body of the unit and is made mainly from aluminium but does have plastic elements to its construction. The unit has a USB 3.0 data interface to communicate with your computer/device.

 

Specifications and features

Drive Type : Standalone with horizontal or vertical positioning
Transfer Rate : Up to 5Gb/sec via USB 3.0 (Depending on hard drive speed)
Insert & Extract connection Via : Direct SATA hard drive connection
Power Supply : 12V/2A Power Adapter
RAID Modes : RAID 1 (SAFE), RAID 0 (FAST), BIG & JBOD
RAID Setting : Horizontal slide switch
Support HDD Capacity : Up to 4TB per drive slot
Structure : Aluminum Body with Partial plastic
Drive Cooling : 40mm Quiet Sunon MAGLev Cooling Fan with Adjustable Fan Speed Control & Aluminum Body Heat Dispersion
Drive Status Indication : LED Located on front panel
HDD Idling Indication : LED off
HDD Access Indication : Flashing White LED
RAID 1 Rebuilding Indication : Solid White LED
RAID Verifying or Confirmation Indication : Flashing white LED then turn off
Empty Bay / HDD FailureIndication : Solid red LED
OS Requirement : Windows XP/ 2003/ Vista/ 7/ 8Mac OS 10.2.8 & higher
Dimension (L x W x H) : 8.07 x 5.28 x 2.4 in
Weight : 1.83 lbs.

Features:

  • Solid aluminium construction
  • Screw-less design, no tools required
  • 40mm cooling fan with speed control

Packaging

The simple but effective design of the packaging shows the Icy Dock on a very clean looking white box. The front of the box features a large image of the product along with Icy Dock highlighting its built-in RAID support, 3TB hard drive support and two bay tool-less design. The same packaging is obviously used for the MB662U3-2S as the MB662USEB-2S-1.

One thing I noticed is the specifications state that the dock supports 4TB drives however the box states support for 3TB only, I am not sure if this is a misprint or if 4TB support has been introduced recently and the box is not yet updated to reflect this. We will test this in more detail further into the review.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Box Front

On the left side of the box we see three photos showing key features of the product; solid aluminium construction, screw-less design meaning no tools required and the built in 40mm cooling fan with speed control.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Box Left Side

The right hand side of the box features a large diagram of the dock showing the connections found on the back of the unit along with four images highlighting the four different RAID options which we will cover in more detail later.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Box Right Side

On the back we find a large specifications table for both the MB662U3-2S (the one we have) and the MB662USEB-2S-1.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Box Back

On the top of the box we find a large Icy Dock logo.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Box Top

I really like the design of the packaging. It’s very clean and well presented with photos being printed in gloss compared to the matt finish found on the rest of the print.

Inside the box is a soft plastic packing holding everything firmly in place.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Packing

Accessories

Inside the box we find a 3 pin UK two pin power cable with a moulded plug, two pin mains power adaptor, user’s manual and blue USB 3.0 cable. Both the mains adaptor and USB cable come in their own white boxes labelled with their contents.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Mains Adaptor Box

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S USB 3.0 Cable Box

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Mains Power Cable

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Power Adaptor

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S 2 Pin Mains Power Adaptor

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Power Adaptor Back

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Users Manual

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S USB 3.0 Cable

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S USB 3.0 Cable Ends

Closer look

Taking a look at the actual unit the first thing I noticed was the high build quality and full aluminium casing. It very much reminds me of an Apple product, with a very nice subtle but effective design and a good weight to reassure you of the quality. The aluminium body of the dock helps to dissipate heat due to its natural heat conductive properties. The dock isn’t very big and is quite compact with dimensions of 60 x 134 x 250mm (W X H X D) and weighing 829g.

The bottom of the unit has four clear rubber feet; this not only prevents the unit from slipping about but also serves to prevent vibration from being passed from the unit and its hard drives to your desk or surface where it resides. I do wonder if these will come off over time if you move the device a lot as they appear to be only stuck on.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Feet

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Rubber Foot

On the sides of the aluminium casing there is a coloured Icy Dock logo in the centre.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Side 1

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Side 2

On the back of the unit we see the 40mm Sunon MAGLev cooling fan which protrudes out compared to the other connections and switches. Next to it we see a small dial which is the fan control allowing you to adjust the fan speed in order to obtain the perfect noise to cooling ratio to suit you.

Below that we see a black horizontal switch allowing you to switch between the different hard drive and RAID settings on the unit; JBOD, BIG, RAID 0 and RAID 1. I will cover these different modes in more detail further in the review. Next to that we see the USB 3.0 connection to connect the unit to your computer. Further down is a recessed reset switch, kingston lock slot, power switch, power input port and mini switch panel to allow you to switch the LED indicator or power saving mode on or off.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Back

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Fan Speed Dial

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Back Connections

At the top we see two buttons to allow access to the two 3.5” drive bays.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Top

At the front of the unit we see the two white and silver hard drive covers which are made of plastic and fold down when released from the top. They are vented to allow cool air to enter the unit and pass over the drives when running. The two small dots on the front of the bays are LED indicator lights which reflect what the dock is doing. More about this will be explained further in the review.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Front

The overall appearance of the dock is fantastic. I love the design and the solid materials used in its construction.

Installation

The whole dock uses a tool-less design which is great for first time installation and upgrades. Just orient your drive correctly and slide it into the unit. The drives have a snug fit and remain securely in place thanks to the tight, well designed aluminium shell.

The front bay doors are linked to a HDD ejection system. Once you pull the door down, a catch gently pushes the drive off the connectors at the rear of the device to make HDD removal easier.

To install a drive you release the front bay door by pushing the catch at the top and the door drops down. You then orient your HDD accordingly to line-up with the SATA power and data connectors on the PCB at the back of the dock. There is a handy sticker to illustrate the orientation the hard drive should be in.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Backplane

You then just push the drive in as far as it will go then close the door to connect the hard drive to the connections. Repeat the process if you are installing another drive. When installing a drive the unit must be powered off as it doesn’t have hot-swap capability.

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Door Release

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S Drive Bays Down

 

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S HDD Install 2

Icy Dock MB662U3-2S HDD Install 3

Powering up the dock when plugged into a computer running Windows 7 it automatically detected the drives and device and installed the appropriate drivers. I then went into computer within Windows 7 after creating partitions on the drives through disk management and there the drives were. Plug and play installation which is always nice to see!

With the dock having two indicator lights on the front there are a number of different LED indications depending on what the dock is doing. Below is a table explaining the different LED notifications.

Drive Status Indication : LED Located on front panel
HDD Idling Indication : LED off
HDD Access Indication : Flashing White LED
RAID 1 Rebuilding Indication : Solid White LED
RAID Verifying or Confirmation Indication : Flashing white LED then turn off
Empty Bay / HDD Failure indication: Solid red LED

There is a small rear switch panel on the back of the dock which allows you to switch the LED indicators off if you want and to disable power saving mode. The power saving option on the unit allows the dock to intelligently power down drives when your computer is powered down or put to sleep, this allows you to save some energy. The drives will automatically spin back up when the computer is powered on. I would like to point out that the fan does remain spinning when the unit is in power saving mode. I really like the switch panel and I think it is a nice addition to the unit. Icy Dock have really thought about the consumer, giving them the choice as to what they would like.

Before powering on the unit you will need to select what type of hard drive configuration you would like, out of four different options; JBOD, BIG, RAID 0 and RAID 1.

JBOD – In JBOD mode both hard drives in the unit work independently.

BIG – When the unit is in big mode both drives combine to give maximum drive space.

RAID 0 – In RAID 0 mode both drives combine but stripe the files to give maximum speed and capacity. This raid level offers no data redundancy.

RAID 1 – When the unit is in RAID 1 mode the two drives in the unit are combined in a RAID 1 configuration meaning you get only half the space when using two identical drives. This is because data is automatically mirrored from the primary drive to the second drive giving you an identical copy of your data. This RAID configuration offers superb data redundancy.

Performance

I will start by covering the noise levels from the 40mm fan, Icy Dock give you the choice to adjust the fan speed to suit you. On its lowest setting the fan was silent producing a mild airflow. At around half fan speed the fan remained silent producing marginally more airflow compared to its lowest setting. Wacking the fan right up to its maximum speed produced considerably more noise turning the dock from silent to audible. I would personally run the unit at about half fan speed as it seemed to offer the best noise to performance ratio.

Test system:

  • Intel i5 2500K
  • Asus P8Z77-V
  • 8GB DDR3 Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 1.35v @ 1600MHz 9-9-9-24
  • Seasonic Fanless X460W
  • 128GB Samsung 830
  • Fractal Design Define R4 (1 x 140mm Rear, 2 x 140mm Front all at 7v)

The Icy Dock was plugged into one of the USB 3.0 ports on the rear I/O and tests were performed using Seagate Constellation ES.3 4TB hard drives (ST4000NM0033). I can confirm despite the packaging’s claim of up to 3TB support, the unit supported our 4TB drives without a problem.

Here are the results:

Sequential Read Write Tests

512K Random Tests

4K Random Tests

4K QD32 Random Tests

The aluminium body did a good job of helping to dissipate heat. Before I booted the unit up I took a reading of the aluminium body temperature; it was at 21.6 degrees. After all the testing and the unit been running for 2-3 hours solidly the body of the dock had heated up to 34.4 degrees; well over a massive 10 degrees increase showing how well the design works and the aluminium shell helps to dissipate heat.

Conclusion

Right, where to start. I really like the Icy Dock in so many ways; the design has been thought out and everything just works. The Icy Dock is aimed at users who want fast external storage, combined into a unit that is sleek, subtle and well designed and on all counts the Icy Dock delivers. It is compatible with both PC and Mac and even comes with a 3 year warranty for peace of mind.

From the start you really get a sense of the quality, the packaging is well designed with plenty of pictures. The unit comes tightly packed in the box with all the accessories in separate boxes; there is obviously an additional cost to doing this but it helps to provide a feeling of quality which is sometimes missed.

When you get to the Icy Dock itself it just oozes quality, the design is superb and very subtle and would suit most desk/office environments. Everything is easy to install and use and set-up is pretty straightforward. The LED indicators are a nice addition and help to provide a quick indication to the status of the device.

The performance is superb, RAID 0 is really where this device shines. That said, the other modes perform superbly too and it’s good to see Icy Dock putting the choice in the hands of the user to decide what they want.

I am suitably impressed by the Icy Dock MB662U3-2S. Taking a look at some online retailers it appears to be coming in around the £110 mark at the time of writing, which could seem a lot however thinking about the materials used and the performance, I don’t feel the price tag is unjustified, however I would have liked to have seen it below the £100 mark. As such I am pleased to award the Icy Dock our design award.

awards-design

 

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value
4.5

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