Over the last couple of years I’ve reviewed a fair selection of products from the Icy Dock catalogue, ranging from external drive enclosures such as the Blizzard and the MB559U3S SuperSpeed to a variety of SATA backplanes and drive bay adaptors including the FatCage MB155SP-B, MB971SP-B and MB994SP-4SB-1 Quad 2.5″ Backplane. Overall it’s a fair statement to say that they have a wide variety of angles covered and the tastes of many users fulfilled with their products, whether it be through the design or the functional capability. With so many items on offer, we are a little amazed to see that Icy Dock have once again come up with a new product and this time round the product is in principle a cooled multi-bay drive adaptor. Taking up three optical drive bays, the Black Vortex MB074SP-B is able to house four 3.5″ hard drives in an open air frame design, offering a quick and simple access to one or more drives whilst offering the benefit of active cooling through a front mounted 120mm fan.
Aside from a traditional 3.5″ hard drive, the Black Vortex is also compatible with a number of Icy Dock’s own 2.5″ to 3.5″ EZ-Dock and EZ-Adapter product ranges, allowing more than just a hard drive to be installed into the chassis. With so many drive bay adaptors and mounting solutions now available on the market from a number of vendors, the question stands to ask if we have enough options already available to cater every persons need, or does this unit really offer up the functionality that some users are after to mount and keep their drives cool.
Like any other Icy Dock product, the packaging is very informative with plenty of information about the cage on hand; detailing the units specifications, features and design. Inside the box things are a little more concise with a simple user installation guide and two sets of screws for fitting the brackets to each of the four drives and securing the framework into your chassis.
When it comes to drive enclosures, both of the internal and external flavour, there is, generally speaking, one name that always pops to mind and this is Icy Dock. For many years now they have been creating enclosures, mounts and backplanes in a whole heap of varieties – some of which we’d never have thought were useful. The backplane that I’ll be looking at today is just one example of a product that I’d look through their catalogue, see and skip past as it doesn’t immediately jump out to me as a product that needs much attention.
For the vast majority of home users, having a server at home is not something that would really shout out as being needed and on the whole, they are not, but with media streaming and file sharing become more common, some users are making the move to build their own. Naturally the obvious path, rather than buying one, is to build a system from common desktop components, using a mid tower chassis to house everything, but many chassis only offer internal drive bays and there can be few at that. For those that are keen on keeping things backed up or who want easy access to their drives without having to open the case, having a backplane is a simple solution that gives flexibility of access whilst adding additional 3.5″ space.
The MS155SP-B that we’re looking at today is a simple, straight to the point backplane. By simply mounting into the optical drive area, this backplane gives five additional drive bays that can be individually removed from the system in a hot-swap manner with ease.
Anyone that has owned an Icy Dock product of this type or have read my past reviews on some of their products will know that they like to keep the packaging and extras down to a minimum, after all there’s no need for a heap of paperwork, leaflets and other non-vital parts that typically ends up staying in the box.