External Storage Guide
First Looks: Icy Dock MB971SP-B DuoSwap 2.5/3.5-inch SATA Hot Swap Drive Caddy
Is that a Cassette Tape Deck in your PC?
The Icy Dock MB971SP-B DuoSwap 2.5/3.5-inch SATA Hot Swap Drive Caddy is a HDD/SSD docking enclosure that fits into a spare 5.25-inch drive bay of your PC chassis. It only supports SATA drives and takes in one standard 3.5-inch drive and a standard 2.5-inch one. You can also use a mix of HDD and SSD drive types as required. At first glance, the drive caddy resembles a cassette tape deck that was commonly found in motor vehicles till they were replaced by the ubiquitous CD player.
|Dimensions and Specifications||
|Front Panel Indicators and Buttons||
Installation of the Drive Caddy
This drive caddy fits into a single 5.25-inch bay of a PC chassis. It installs easily just like adding an additional optical drive to your system. With its bundled mounting screws, you can secure the drive caddy onto the drive bay of the chassis. For our review, we paired the Icy Dock drive caddy with the Corsair Obsidian Series 550D casing.
The drive draws power from the system through its 15-pin SATA power connector and has two dedicated SATA connections for each of the drives. Take note that there's no active cooling for the bay and there are just a few perforations on the caddy's rear. For standard HDDs and SSDs, we think this shouldn't be a problem, but if you're going to slot in an old five-platter 7200rpm hard drive, we believe it can get fairly warm fast. The same caution applies if you plan to plonk in a 10,000rpm drive. However, if your case is the sort which has active cooling either at the back of the drive bays (such as the NZXT Switch 810) or in front (like the Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P60), then there shouldn't be a cause for concern even with high performance drives.
The Icy Dock MB971SP-B DuoSwap 2.5/3.5-inch SATA Hot Swap Drive Caddy supports most HDDs and SSDs; however, when a 3.5-inch HDD is installed, the drive can only support 2.5-inch SSDs which are up to 9.5mm in height. The good news is that most 2.5-inch drives conform to the 9.5mm height requirements and better yet, some of the latest crop of drives are even designed for 7mm height. In any case, if you're curious what's the maximum height limit without the 3.5-inch drive bay occupied, it supports a single 2.5-inch drive up to 12.5mm tall.
The drive caddy conveniently extends the SATA connectors from the motherboard or expansion card to the front of the chassis, with support for SATA 6Gbps. During our hands-on with the caddy, we noted that extra caution must be taken when ejecting the 2.5-inch drive. Our SSD drive literally spat out from the caddy upon depressing the 2.5-inch drive eject button.
The Icy Dock DuoSwap 2.5/3.5-inch SATA Hot Swap Drive Caddy makes it easy to hot swap both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch HDDs or SSDs in a desktop PC - provided that your motherboard or add-in storage card supports such a function. The drive caddy is of decent build and does not have any hazardous sharp edges. The dust covers are a nice touch but unlike the rest of the unit, they are rather flimsily hinged to drive caddy. If you prod it too much, the dust cover can easily come off and it's quite a hassle to put it back in place.
Actual installation and usage however, is a cinch. It installs easily as long as the PC chassis has a spare 5.25-inch drive bay. The installed drives seat flush with the front of the caddy and ejecting them is facilitated by dual ejection physical ejection buttons (one for each drive type). However, caution is advised to when ejecting the 2.5-inch drive as these units are very light and the force applied by the ejection mechanism does give it enough inertia to send them flying out. This can definitely scare you if you're not careful on the ejection process with your hand ready to catch the drive.
Lastly, its lack of active cooling may be a concern for some; however, this shortcoming can be easily overcome with a good fan layout within the PC chassis to promote smooth ventilation.
Overall, This caddy did the job it was designed for decently. While some might prefer a device with better styling, appearances are debatable as this Icy Dock DuoSwap hot swap drive caddy is definitely functional and straightforward to use.