ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB998SP-B and MB993SK-B Review - Space Efficient Hot-Swappable SATA
Installation and Testing
First a look at the front and rear of these two units:
From the front, we find all real estate occupied by 2.5" x 7mm hot swap bays. The trays are labeled - the 8-bay model had labels pre-installed, while the 3-bay came with a plastic 'tree' of the same 8 numbered snap-in labels, which I have installed here for comparison.
At the rear, we find a pair of low speed 40mm fans, surrounded by a pair of SATA power connectors and 8 SATA data ports. The rear of the smaller 3-bay unit reveals my only real gripe with either of them - why go with an older 4-pin floppy style power connector on a brand new SATA device? There appears to be more than enough room for a standard SATA power connector back there. While server chassis likely maintain at least one of these connectors, some current gen desktop-class power supplies might not. This would not be as much of an issue if there was an adapter in the box, but that is not the case with this particular model.
The 8-bay MB998SP-B uses the EZ-Slide Nano Tray, which is common to, and can be moved across other models within the MB998 series.
Due to the more restricted space available when cramming three 2.5” SSDs into a standard 3.5” bay, the MB993SK-B does not share the same tray design. Here ICY DOCK had to opt for a design that attaches at the sides of the drive as opposed to the bottom. For the moment, this tray appears to be limited to only this particular model.
Since these enclosures have a 1:1 SATA port at the rear for each empty bay, there is no real interface to speak of. This means that the information is passed directly to/from the installed drives. I ran a few quick tests on both units just to confirm no slowdowns or SATA 6Gbit negotiation issues. The tested drives went the exact same speeds both in and out of the enclosures, as expected. Sorry for the lack of pretty charts and graphs, but in this case, there is simply nothing to write home about - your internally mounted SSDs will perform just the same in these housings.
While on the bench, I snagged a pic of the bays ‘lit up’. Installed / powered drives get a corresponding green LED indicator that remains lit when idle and flashes at various speeds based on activity. This image from the ICY DOCK product page will give you a taste of the look when active.