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ICY DOCK 2.5in / 3.5in SATA DOCK with USB 3 and eSATA (MB981U3S-1S) Review


by Stuart Davidson - 22nd April 2013
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Icy Dock 2.5in/3.5in Docking Station Review (USB 3.0/eSATA - MB981U3S-1S)

Icy Dock 2.5"/3.5" Docking Station Review
(USB 3.0/eSATA - MB981U3S-1S)

Icy Dock provide consumers with a wide range of devices which allow installation of hard drives in both external and internal locations. A few months ago we looked at their internal drive bays which offered a wide range of options for 2.5" devices and then just a few weeks ago we covered the Icy Dock IcyRaid external storage device. Now with a completely different option we have one of Icy Docks hard drive docks on our test bench, complete with support for 2.5" and 3.5" devices as well as USB 3.0 and eSATA.

Packaging and Bundle

Packaging Bundled items

Icy Dock package the dock in a box which gives us a nice clear image of the product on the front along with various logos/information on the features. Inside as well as the main dock we find the power supply (needed for eSATA), manual and USB 3.0/eSATA cables.

The Dock and Performance

Top docking area Rear connections

An all plastic casing is used on the MB981U3S-1S and the majority of the device uses a matt surface. To the left is an eject button, in the centre we have a power button with activity LED and then there are two doors through which we can insert a 2.5" or 3.5" drive.

The base of the unit has four rubber feet and on the back are our eSATA, USB 3.0 and power connectors.

HDD docked

Setup of the dock is very simple. We just plug it in using the cable we wish to use (eSATA or USB) and if required, power. Then plug in a drive and turn on. Some systems may require a reboot for a drive to be seen via eSATA but USB 3.0 tends to be plug and play on every system. After being recognised drives function exactly like any other SATA/USB storage on our system.

Benchmark

In our testing we found eSATA to be the fastest solution, though did note some compatibility issues with 2.5" SSDs. Some newer models such as the Crucial M500 would not initialise in the dock but older models were fine. USB showed no compatibility concerns, even with drives which had issues on eSATA so there is always a fall back... not that 250/135MB/s is a disappointing performance anyway.

Overall a decent device which offers a simple to use alternative to internal storage. Ideal for backing up files on a drive which can then be removed easily and stored elsewhere.

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