Review Index:
Feedback

ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB998SP-B and MB993SK-B Review - Space Efficient Hot-Swappable SATA

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: ICY DOCK

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

ICY DOCK has made themselves into a sort of Swiss Army knife of dockable and hot-swappable storage solutions. From multi-bay desktop external devices to internal hot-swap enclosures, these guys have just about every conceivable way to convert storage form factors covered. We’ve looked at some of their other offerings in the past, but this week we will focus on a pair of their ToughArmor series products.

View Full Size

As you can no doubt see here, these two enclosures aim to cram as many 2.5” x 7mm form factor devices into the smallest space possible. They also offer hot swap capability and feature front panel power + activity LEDs. As the name would imply, these are built to be extremely durable, with ICY DOCK proudly running them over with a truck in some of their product photos.

Read on for our full review of the ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB998SP-B and MB993SK-B!

Specifications

View Full Size

View Full Size

Packaging

View Full Size

Simple brown box packaging here. No need for much padding as the cages themselves are all-metal construction.

View Full Size

Both enclosures come with instruction manual and mounting screws (the trays are not tool-less). The 3-bay unit comes with a pair of keys for the front panel lock. The 8-bay unit does not feature a lock as there is simply no room left on the front panel for such an addition. More detail on what is included (and what isn't) on the next page.


May 4, 2016 | 07:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Did you do any extensive testing of SSDs in these? I had no end of trouble with another model of ICY DOCK dropping drives in such a way as to cause the whole machine to hard lock. (Both mirrored and non-raided drives.) I had to replace the unit with a 4 bay Super Micro that worked flawlessly.

May 4, 2016 | 07:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Super Micro's offerings.

http://www.supermicro.com/products/chassis/mobileRack/

May 5, 2016 | 07:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The offerings in those are a bit different, mainly the size the bays take up. The Icydock product in the review takes up less space than those in those links.

May 4, 2016 | 08:42 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I put a couple of hours on both of them without issue. Since there is no real logic in these, dropouts might have been caused by a weak / long SATA cable or controller. I've seen that sort of thing with other docking solutions in the past.

May 4, 2016 | 09:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hopefully they just improved these models over past models. I guess I didn't feel the need to go through all the troubleshooting steps but the setup didn't start working until I took the ICY DOCK out of the equation. The same drives and cables worked properly with another enclosure but the ICY DOCK didn't work with different cables.

May 5, 2016 | 07:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Have you tried contacting Icy Dock tech support? They helped me out when I had an issue with one of their products and stand by their warranty.

May 4, 2016 | 08:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hell yes!

May 5, 2016 | 12:58 AM - Posted by Hakuren

I have couple of those 8 bay filled with SSDs. Couldn't be happier.

If you want to use fans, replace the default set with something less noisy. Standard fans spin up to 4800 rpms, used 2800 rps Noiseblockers as a replacement.

May 5, 2016 | 01:31 AM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Are we at the point where we can use 2.5" HDD's in things like this for a home server? It sure would let me use a much smaller case.

May 5, 2016 | 09:21 AM - Posted by rhekman

That was my first thought as well. I'd be curious as to the heat, power, and noise from 8 2.5" HDDs fully loaded. For a home server, the sequential performance for a set of RAIDed drives in an enclosure like this would certainly exceed gigabit ethernet and might be a nice option. Unfortunately the overall capacity and capacity per dollar both land somewhere between SSD and 3.5" HDD pricing. Also 2.5" HDDs still seem to be optimized for laptop use -- I haven't seen a "NAS" drive in that form factor.

Which is a shame. I recall Google has proposed a new form factor for spinning disks optimized for mass storage that used smaller platters but more of them. The closest match appears to be 2.5" drives in the thicker 15mm variants, but those come with high enterprise price tags and usually SAS connections.

May 5, 2016 | 01:54 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

For some reason I thought 2.5" drives had reached larger capacities but it looks like they top out at 2TB and cost about 50% more than their 3.5" counter-parts. I guess I'll just continue dreaming about using something like this filled with SSDs.

May 5, 2016 | 10:51 PM - Posted by MRFS (not verified)

Before you purchase the 8-bay unit,
take a look at the Reviews at newegg.com .

We bought one recently, and that newegg review
was correct about the "squeeze" you can expect
with the SATA power connectors:

the "straight-in style" power connectors are
highly recommended. Under the "fair use" doctrine,
I'll just quote that one important paragraph,
because we also confirmed the following "Con"
(and we already had the "straight" style):

Carney K. writes:
"Cons: Poorly thought out SATA power connectors. Quite a few power supplies on the market use the daisy-chain style SATA power connectors. This is only (easily) compatible with the straight style. The problem with a daisy chained connector is the extra width required since the cord enters and exits the SATA connector at an angle. Adding insult to injury, after plugging in the first connector, you have to twist the cable 180 degrees, and flip the connector another 180 degrees since they did not position the keyed edge in the same direction for both SATA power connectors. Also, the fans block the full-seating of this style. Just something to beware of on an otherwise great product. If you have the daisy-chain style SATA power connectors from your PSU, you may want simple extensions or adapters to avoid the acrobatics."

And, I would also add that you should also
install all cabling while the 8-bay enclosure
is OUTSIDE the chassis: this is so, because
the fan wires create a pretty tight situation
around the SATA ports, and you'll be able to
see what's going on much easier while the
enclosure is outside the chassis.

Aside from the above, our 4 new Samsung 850 SSDs
are humming along nicely, and this upgrade
means that our 12GB ramdisk is saved and restored
about three times faster than our four aging
15,000 rpm Hitachi SAS HDDs (also in RAID-0).

May 16, 2016 | 11:21 AM - Posted by bigmike678 (not verified)

sigh, if only ssds were around the price per gigabyte of hard drives you could have an amazing RAID array in a very compact form factor

oh well, i can wait

July 13, 2016 | 02:43 PM - Posted by Elliott (not verified)

Has anybody done stress testing with 8x HDDs in there? I think the drives might all overheat, since this is so dense.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.