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October 8, 2012

IcyDock MB996SP-6SB 6 in 1 SATA Hot Swap RAID cage Review

ICY DOCK is a privately held company with more than 10 years of experience in design, manufacturing, branding and distribution of Storage enclosure peripherals. By constantly improving upon its own new product release strategy, ICY DOCK has formed a standard, yet efficient, new product development procedure to ensure timely product delivery to the market.At ICY DOCK, we constantly offer state-of-the-art hard disk enclosures and removable storage kits which feature removable drive & hot swap capabilities and eSATA / SATA connectivity. We also specialize in BTO (Built to Order) branded products, OEM-branded and non-branded products for our “Tier 1” customers.
 

About the Product 

Today We are going to have a look at IcyDock MB996SP-6SB 6 in 1 SATA Hot Swap RAID cage , So lets see what this is all about ….

Utilizing the standard 5.25” bay form factor, the compact design allows the enclosure to be used in various applications, catering to a wide audience. The MB996SP-6SB excels for use in advanced RAID applications such as building dual RAID 5 arrays or high performance 4 drives in RAID 0 plus RAID 1 array for back up, all in a single 5.25” device bay. The MB996SP-6SB is extremely useful for powerful small servers, gaming rigs, home servers or HTPC’s due to its high capacity and space saving design. It is also perfect for users who needs non-RAID JBOD storage and save different contents in different drive locations. It supports wide-range of applications which is the true value of the MB996SP-6SB.

The 5.25” device bay has been a long standard in computer history. It started from the 90s legacy industrial PC cases all the way to today’s Micro ATX cases. The 5.25” bay has been widely used for optical drives such as DVD and Blue-ray, or with even a single 3.5” hard drive with mobile rack. However, it is almost impossible to use a single 5.25” bay to create complex RAID storage until the MB996SP-6SB Full Metal 6 x 2.5” SATA Hard Drive & SSD Backplane.

Features and General Specifications 

 

Some of the key features of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB are below , 

  • Fits 6 2.5” SATA HDD’s/SSD’s in a single 5.25” bay for high performance RAID applications.
  • Full Metal construction with aluminum body, to protect your drives.
  • Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT) – creates a safe environment for hard drives or SSDs.
  • Active Power Technology (APT) – individual led & cooling fan only powers up if there is a drive installed in the bay.
  • 3-Mode Fan Speed Control – adjust cooling settings (High, Low, or Off) for your specific needs.
  • Eagle-hook lock system keeps drives secured within the enclosure.
  • Switch between 4-pin and 15-pin power connection with included adapter.
  • Removable tray system for easy maintenance.
  • Supports SATA 6Gbps and hot swap.
  • IcyDock 3 Years Warranty

The specifications of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB are following , 

 

 

Unboxing and Packaging 

IcyDock MB996SP-6SB comes in a medium sized box with the picture of the drive dock on the front. On the left top corner 5.25″ is written just to let you know that it is installed in one of your 5.25″ bays . Also on the left bottom corner of the box . There are some small pictures which represent alot of features of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB  . Examples are , You can install 6 drives , It also support fan option for cooling , Also you can control the speed of the fan . Moreover it support SATA III6.0 Gb/s .

On the one side of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB  box , The picture of the back of dock is present . You can see that it have 6 SATA data ports to be connected directly to your motherboard . Also it is powered by 2 Four Pin Molex Power Connector . Also there is a small switch to control the speed of the fan or turn it off .

On the back of the box , The table of the specifications of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB  is given . So you can have a details look at the moment before purchasing . The packaging is pretty much standard . Nothing extra but lets see what is inside this box.

Once you open the box , You find the following accessories . It includes

– Manual And User Guide

– 2 x SATA to Molex Power Adapter

-Screws for mounting the Dock into your casing

-Screws for installing the 2.5″ HDD onto the tray of the dock

And finally the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB  itself . You can see there is  small diagram picture on the top of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB  . This shows you the SATA connection for each of the tray . So you don’t get confuses while plugging the SATA data cable .

Closer Look at the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB

Frankly speaking , When i was having conversation with the Member of the ICYDOCK company . He told me that they never comprised the quality of their products and i didnt believe them . But when i grab this thing in my hand . Believe me this is the best ever 5.25″ drive i have ever held . This thing is made from pure metal . Also the weight of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB is the proof of its quality .

On the back of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB , There are 6 SATA III 6.0 Gb/s connectors allowing you to use latest SSD/HDD for maximum performance and speeds . You can also do a RAID configuration if you want to . There are 2 four pin molex connectors for providing extra power to the drives . Also there is a small 40mm fan at the back to pull the air inside the dock .

The best thing is the hot swappable feature which is the most prominent feature of this dock . You have to push the small black button on the left of every tray in order to release the hook of tray from the lock and then just slide out the tray . After installation of the SSD/HDD  just slide and push the lever inside and it will lock itself in . Its just simpler . Another thing is that when the tray is out the fan behind the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB automatically shuts off .

Below is the picture of the one of trays of the dock . In order to install 2.5″ drive you have to remove the black plastic from the end of the tray . Then install the 2.5″ drive by the help of the screws included in the box .

Testing and Benchmarks Results

  • Intel Core i7 2600K CPU
  • ASUS P8Z68 Motherboard
  • Kingston HyperX Predator 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Memory
  • OCZ RevoDrive3 x2 Max IOPS 240GB PCIe SSD ( OS )
  • Seasonic 1250w Gold PSU

The drive we used for the testing of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB  is OCZ Vertex4 128GB SSD . This SSD is SATAIII 6.0Gb/s  and we will be doing same old benchmarks which we do to test SSD in the first place just to see that the performance is effected or not .

 

 

 

 

 

In the End  ( Conclusion )

It was very fun in testing the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB , We are very amazed to see the quality of the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB . The full metal construction gives it a sturdy structure and also provides a lot of protection to the 2.5″ drives . Moreover , Its compact design allow it to be installed in one 5.25″ bay . From Packaging to the testing we have no problem with IcyDock MB996SP-6SB .
The best thing we like about the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB is that although its still a RAID cage but the speeds we got at the benchmarking are very close to the the results of the tests without the SSD installed in cage . This means that there is no chance for bottlenecking . The speed of the drive remain same as it is before . This is a very good sign of the quality of the product . I have seen many Storage Cage which reduces the speed for no reason . So Lets Sum it up .

 

We are pleased to announce that the IcyDock MB996SP-6SB receives award at TechTipsnReview for following magnificent features which Extreme Built Quality ,Best Performance/Speed ,Space for more Drives ,SATAIII 6.0Gb/s

 

 

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