This article first appeared in HWM Jan 2012.
The Icy Dock MB981U3-1SA is a USB 3.0 docking station for 2.5/3.5-inch hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs). The unique feature of this docking station is its detachable adapter, which offers additional support for legacy IDE HDDs. With the adapter attached snugly to the bottom of the docking station and using the two-piece top slot, the station supports 2.5 and 3.5-inch SATA drives up to 3TB in storage capacity.
The size of the docking station is akin to that of a bedside alarm clock and the station has a lightweight feel as it is made mostly of hard plastic. The drive docking slot is covered by a retractable dustcover, and there’s also a large eject button so that you can avoid manually pulling out the drive during removal.
For IDE drives, you've to turn the docking station upside down and remove its adapter. Upon removal, the adapter can be used as a portable solution for both your SATA and IDE drives, while the outer shell of the docking station is left behind on your desk. The docking station as well as the adapter draws power from the mains through the bundled compact AC adapter. For 3.5-inch IDE drives, power is drawn over a 4-pin jumper cable on the adapter; USB power is enough for the smaller 2.5-inch drives. The USB 3.0 connectivity of the docking station ensures speedy data transfer rates of up to 5Gbps, while retaining compatibility with older USB 2.0 interfaces. The power buttons on the dock and adapter also double up as status indicators.
The Icy Dock MB981U3-1SA is an ideal computing accessory for your data archival needs and if your year-end spring cleaning efforts uncover any spare HDDs with SATA or IDE interfaces, they can be put to good use with this docking station.