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ICY DOCK MB663UR-1S

Are you always in the situation where the flash drive you just purchased is not large enough? If so, the ICY DOCK MB663UR-1S, an internal and external enclosure for 2.5” SATA hard drive, may just be your solution. This enclosure is a great tool for those who need to carry a large amount of data that do not fit in a flash drive or for those who need to retrive information from their laptop hard drive. Check out our review and see more detail pictures of the unit and our take at this internal/external enclosure.

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INTRODUCTION

Did you ever have a laptop go bad and you forgot to backup the precious data?  Professional data retrieval could cost a significant amount of dollars.  A simpler solution would be to purchase a 2.5’’ external/internal storage enclosure which would allow you to connect the hard drive to a desktop for data retrieval.  For a retail price of approximately $20, it would be an invaluable investment when it comes to data rescue.  Here at Bjorn3D, we have previously looked at ICY Dock’s 2.5 IDE internal/external enclosure and today, we are going to take a look at ICY Dock’s 2.5’’ SATA internal/external enclosure.

FEATURES

  • Host : Plug & Play USB 2.0
  • Drive Fit : 1 x 2.5″ SATA
  • Device Fit : 1 x 3.5″ device bay
  • User friendly Screw-less design just plug in the hard drive and play
  • Light weight aluminum body for cooling of storage drive cartridge.
  • Portable external storage capability
  • Push & eject for quick extraction of cartridge
  • Cool white LED for drive access indication.

SPECIFICATION

 

THE COMPANY

 
ICY DOCK is a privately held company with more than 10 years being devoted in design, manufacturing, branding and distribution of Storage enclosure peripherals. By keep improving its own new product release process from previous toil experiences, ICY DOCK has formed a standard yet efficient new product development procedures to satisfy timely requirement from the market.
 
At ICY DOCK, we constantly offers state-of-the-art design of hard disk enclosure and removable storage kit with features such as the currently launched a series of removable drive & hot swap capabilities and eSATA / SATA connectivity products. We also specializes in BTO (Built to Order) of branded, OEM-branded and non-branded products for “Tier 1” customers.
 
Headquartered in City of Industry, California, ICY DOCK becomes a global peripheral enclosure provider with manufacturing facility located in Zhang-Zang, China since 1997. Restrictively followed ISO9001 proved manufacturing process standard, ICY DOCK delivers high quality standard products at competitive price which provides our customers an excellent opportunity to be successful in the competitive US marketplace.  
 
As one of the leading peripheral enclosure solution provider, we will continue to commit ourselves in supplying our customers the best performance per dollar products. “Your demand is our command” is the key to ensure our success in the business world.

MB663UR-1S

The ICY DOCK MB663UR-1S comes in a neat retail plastic packaging where the enclosure is clearly visible from the outside of the plastic.  When the packaging is opened, you will see an accessory box in addition the enclosure.

The MB663UR-1S has gone through some redesign from the IDE enclosure we have reviewed.  Despite the fact that it still contains an internal and external enclosure as one unit, the new MB663UR-1S is all made with brushed aluminum and the docking station is fully covered, unlike the opened frame we have seen with the IDE variant.  The brushed aluminum looks quite nice, much like the cases for many laptops such as MacBook Pro.

On the front, we see an eject button for ejecting the internal removable enclosure and a plastic cover for the enclosure when the portable enclosure is removed to avoid any dust going into the case.  Unfortunately, the folks at ICY DOCK also has removed the lock that prevents the internal enclosure from being injected from the frame that is found on their IDE model.

The exterior housing is slightly larger than the 2.5’’ SATA hard drive and on both sides, we see screw holes where it will be used to mounted to the 3.5’’ hard drive slot inside the case.

 

On the back, we see a power cable and USB header for hooking up the unit to the motherboard.  It’s unfortunate to see the headers are loose pins rather than bundled.  The power connector uses four pin molex from the PSU.  The cables are fully sleeved till about couple inches from the connector.

 

Putting the 2.5” SATA hard drive(top) against the internal(middle) and the external(bottom) enclosure, you can get a sense of the sizes of the enclosures. 

The removable enclosure is where the 2.5’’ SATA hard drive will be installed.  It’s a really slender design, a tad thicker than the 2.5’’ hard drives, although much longer than a 2.5’’ due to the PCB board on the back of the enclosure.

We see that the removable enclosure looks fairly elegant with the aluminum body covering the majority of the surface and the front, left side and back are covered with white plastic.  The aluminum body will serve to dissipate the heat generated by the hard drive. 

Furthermore, on the right side, there are air holes to further assist cooling.  On the back of the removable enclosure, we see that ICY DOCK has attached a USB cable to the enclosure which is great as it avoids the need to carry the USB cable with you.  The cable tucks neatly inside the enclosure but it’s slightly on the shorter end.  I think it would better if ICY DOCK would design the enclosure with a slightly longer USB cable attached to the enclosure and make it retractable.  In addition, there is a mini-USB connector where it connects with the internal docking station or can be used with the included USB cable for data transfer.

INSTALLATION

 

Aligning the included key to the left side of the enclosure will eject the front panel of the internal removable enclosure.  With the front panel opened, users would be able to slide in the 2.5’’ SATA hard drive.  Then, pushing the hard drive all the way to the back of the enclosure and the hard drive is installed.  There’s no screws needed to secure the hard drive to the enclosure.  This bothers me slightly since the hard drive is being held onto the enclosure by the SATA and power connector, it may not be held tightly enough.  I do applaud ICY DOCK simplifying the installation process but given the fact that hard drives are very sensitive to bumps and vibration, I would prefer to have a way to better secure the hard drive to the enclosure.

Ejecting the hard drive from the enclosure is just as easy, although it took me awhile to figure it out as I didn’t see any eject button and since the enclosure cannot be opened.  It is after checking with the manual that I found the solution.  Simply turn to the back of the enclosure and insert the same key that was used to open the front cover and it will eject the hard drive from the enclosure.

As we mentioned earlier, the USB headers are not bundled, so be sure to line them up to your motherboard’s pinout.  After connect the headers to the motherboard, hook up the power adapter, and screw the internal frame, the enclosure is installed.

 

TESTING

System Configuration

Processor

Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo

Motherboard

EVGA nForce 680i SLI (BIOS P30)

Memory

Team Group TXDD2048M800HC4DC-D

Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda Barracuda 7200.10 SATA ST3400620AS (16MB cache) 

 Western Digital WD2500KS-00MJB0 SATA (16MB cache)

Graphics Cards

Foxconn 8600 GTS

Sound Card

Creative X-FI

Operating System

Windows XP SP2

I installed the Seagate ST96023AS (60GB, 7200 rpm, 8MB cache) to the ICY DOCK MB633UR-1S and test it against ICY DOCk’s IDE version of the enclosure, MB448UR, paired with the Toshiba 8026GAX (80GB, 5400rpm, 16MB cache).  Do keep in mind that the result is highly dependable with the hard drive that is used.

RESULT

HD Tach

Feature/Specification

 ICY DOCK MB663UR-1S with Seagate ST96023AS (internal)

ICY DOCK MB663UR-1S with Seagate ST96023AS (external)

 ICY DOCK MB448UR with Toshiba 8026GAX (internal)  ICY DOCK MB448UR with Toshiba 8026GAX (external) SanDisk Curzer Micro (512 MB)
Burst Speed
37.5 MB/s
35.4 MB/s
35.1 MB/s
35.1 MB/s 10.7 MB/s 
Average Read
33.3 MB/s
33.3 MB/s
29.6 MB/s
 29.5 MB/s  9.9 MB/s
Random Access
15.2 ms
15.2 ms
18.2 ms
 18.3 ms  10.3 ms
CPU Usage 
5%
4%
5%
 3%  2%

Both hard drive based storage unit by ICY DOCK offer similar transfer speed and they have much better transfer throughput than the flash drive.  They average about 35 MB/s read speed.  The hard drive based do have slightly higher CPU usage than the flash drive based and also have slightly higher access time than the flash based storage.  Once again, we see no difference in the internal versus the external enclosure.  This is expected as either way, the enclosures are using the USB to transfer the data. 

CONCLUSION

The ICY DOCK MB663UR-1S is a very nice tool for those who need to retrieve information from their SATA 2.5’’ laptop hard drive or for users who need a larger storage space than the flash-based drives can offer.  The ability to use the enclosure as internal and external has expanded the enclosure’s function.  The design of the MB663UR-1S is very elegant and sturdy and the folks at the ICY DOCK have thought of everything with their product, going as far as including a carrying case and extra USB cables.

Despite the good design, there are two flaws with the MB663UR-1S.  First, the unit does not offer a way to secure the hard drive to the enclosure.  I do appreciate the ease of installation with the MB663UR-1S but I still prefer having the hard drive screwed onto the enclosure for a better protection against vibration.  Second, I am slightly surprised to find that ICY DOCK does not take the advantage of SATA’s ability to hot-swap and make the internal enclosure SATA as this would greatly offer the transfer speed for the drive.  ICY DOC could even go a step further by designing an eSATA variant of the enclosure to offer a much better transfer speed than the USB version.  I understand having the USB on the external enclosure as most system still lacks eSATA but the internal would definitely be benefited if it uses the SATA rather than the USB.  (I did spoke with ICY DOCK and they said that the SATA drive is on the plan and should be release soon.)

Overall, the enclosure is a nice product.  It offers the versatility of using the storage as either internally or externally as a portable storage.  If you need a portable unit to carry a large file size, the ICY DOCK MB633UR-1S would definitely be a good product for you.  At the retail price of $48.99 (Newegg), the ICY DOCk MB633UR-1S is slightly more expensive than the similar enclosures from other manufactures.  Although most other enclosures are only able to use as either internal or external enclosure unlike the MB633UR-1S’s dual functionality, it’s ultimately a buyer’s decision to determine whether or not it’s worth the extra $20 price difference for the dual functionality.

 

The ICY DOCk MB663UR-1S will receive a score of 8.5 out of 10 for its stylish design and versatile functionality.

 

Pros:

+  Functions as both internal and external enclosure in one unit
+  Easy installation
+  Stylish look
+  Nice bundle accessories
+  Aluminum body for heat dissipation

Cons:

-  Pins are not bundled
-  More expensive than others
-  No locks
-  A better way to secure the hard drive would be appreciated

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