Do you have more hard drives than drive bays? Icy Dock may be a good solution. Icy Dock’s model MB453IPF takes three 3.5" hard drives and fits them in the space of two 5.25" slots. The adapter supports both SAS and SATA, so you can get one for your SATA drives today, and then just swap them for SAS later, or mix and match them.

The Icy Dock has ATX power plugs on the back, six SATA/SAS connections, and control and status indicators. The front has a green and red light to indicate when the drive is being used. There is also a fan attached to the back, which is easily removable with just plastic clips to holding it in place.

The enclosure fits in the case with no problems. There are grooves on the side of the enclosure so that it will fit into bays designed for optical drives.

Wiring it up was an annoyance. The plugs were all on the inside towards the motherboard. This could make the wiring shorter and easier for air circulation. With the fan sticking out it is hard to get the wires into the plugs on the other side. Once I removed the fan, it was better, but I still then had to reconnect the fan after the wires were in place.

The drives are screwed into trays that allow them to be easily removed and replaced. There are four screws for each drive, similar to a computer case. The drive just slides right in.

To remove the drive, flip the latch down and pull the other latch out. Drives slide back ous out. As with any hot swappable hard drive, wait 30 seconds or more after disconnecting it to remove it so that the drive has time to stop spinning.

To really experiment with the Icy Dock, I tried killing one of the drives in each of the sets of three and then reconstructing it. This tests the write speed to the drive. The speed that it reconstructed both drives ended out being the same, the Icy Dock seems to not hurt drive performance.

The hard discs in the Icy Dock were consistently 2-to-3 degrees higher than the standardly placed drives, but individual results may vary.

Icy Dock works great, and allows for easily replaceable drives with better cooling. It can be a pain to install sometimes, but it’s worth the effort.

About The Author

Bradley Ouellette is a Blast staff writer who's been with us since the bitter beginnings when we were an attic and basement operation on Mission Hill.

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