Icy Dock ToughArmor Lite MB607SP-B 4-Bay 5.25-inch Enclosure Review
The ToughArmor Lite MB607SP-B
Add Four External 2.5-inch Drive Bays to your Case
The Icy Dock ToughArmor Lite MB607SP-B is a rugged quad-bay 2.5″ SATA 6Gbps hot swap drive cage that occupies a single external 5.25-inch bay. Built entirely of metal, this product brings Icy Dock’s ToughArmor MB994SP-4SB-1 down to a lower price, and is “built with cost effective structure without sacrificing anything in the way of strength,” according to the company.
Another difference is that the power input is a standard SATA connector with the MB607SP-B, supplying power to up to four 2.5-inch SATA or SAS drives ranging from 5mm to 15mm height. Hot swap is supported, and a single 40mm cooling fan with a 3-Mode fan speed control is integrated to keep things cool (and the fan can be switched off if you are using SSDs).
In this review we will take a quick look at this rugged metal storage solution and check out its performance, as well as noise levels from its active cooling fan. We will also check out the MB703M2P-B Ezconvert M.2 to 2.5″ SATA SSD adapter, a low-cost tool-free enclosure sent along with the drive cage for testing.
Full Metal 4 Bay 2.5″ SAS/SATA SSD& HDD Backplane Cage
- Model Number: MB607SP-B
- Color: Black
- Support Drive Size: 4 x 2.5″ SSD / HDD
- Compatible Drive Type: SATA / Single channel SAS (SAS host required)
- Number of Drives: 4
- Max Drive Height: 15mm
- Drive Bay: 1 x external 5.25″ drive bay
- Host Interface: 4 x SATA 7-pin
- Power Input: 1 x 15-pin SATA power connector
- Transfer Rate: SATA 3.0 up to 6Gbps / SAS 3.0 up to 12Gbps
- Support HDD Capacity: No Limitation
- Drive Cooling: 1 x 40mm fan
- RAID Function: N/A
- Structure / Material: Full Metal
- Support Hot-Swap: Yes
- Drive Security: N/A
- Product Dimension (L x W x H): 142.4 x 146 x 41.3 mm
- Product Net Weight: 847g
- RAID Status LED Indicator: None
- Drive Activity LED Indication:
- Drive power: solid green
- HDD access: flashing green
- Package Contents: 1 – Device, 1 – user manual, 1 – ID Plug, 28 – screw
- SATA Connector Insertion Rate: 10,000
- Humidity: 5%~65% RH
- Operating Temperature: 0°C to 60°C (32°F to 140°F)
- Storage Temperature: -35°C to 70°C (-31°F to 158°F)
- Compliance: CE, RoHS, REACH
- Warranty: 3 years
“ToughArmor Series: Enterprise Full Metal Cages, approved & used by Tier 1 companies”
The ToughArmor MB607SP-B
The Icy Dock MB607SP-B is constructed of metal throughout, including the drive trays. It is sized to fit into any standard 5.25-inch external drive bay, and with a depth of 142.4 mm (5.6 inches) there should be no clearance issues in most cases. This cage uses standard SATA connections for each drive and is powered by a single 15-in SATA power cable.
Ejecting a drive requires no tools, and is accomplished by first pressing a lever on the left side of each sled to release front panel, and then simply pulling the tray out. There is no lock for the drive sleds with this design, but Icy Dock offers version with locks as well (ToughArmor MB994SK-1B).
The EZConvert MB703M2P-B
The EZConvert adapter that Icy Dock sent along with the drive enclosure is a simple enclosure that converts an M.2 SATA SSD to a standard 2.5″ (9.5 mm high) form factor. It is a deceptively simple design with a completely tool-free approach right down to the drive length adjustment – a bracket that can slide to accommodate drives from 30 – 80 mm (2230 – 2280).
With the drive in place the case closes with a snap, the entire process taking only a few seconds. Certainly the convenience factor is very high with this design, which feels robust though it is made of plastic. The rear of the adapter also offers a punch-out section for further ventilation should you require it.
Installation and Testing
Installing the MB607SP-B is the same process as any external 5.25-inch drive, and once in place it’s simply a matter of connecting power and data cables. Having installed four identical 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gb/s SSDs in the drive trays we slid them in place and got started with a quick performance verification.
As this drive cage is simply passing the SATA connection from each drive directly through to the ports on the rear there should be no performance impact, so we simply ran a quick throughput benchmark on each of the four SSDs. These 480GB Corsair Neutron XTi drives should hit a maximum of 540 MB/s in sequential reads, and the ATTO disk benchmark showed this to be the case.
The MB607SP-B supports hot-swapping the drives, and since this passes through a direct connection from each drive that functionality will require enabling it on the motherboard or controller. I enabled hot-swap for each of the drives in the setup for the GIGABYTE Z390 motherboard used for testing, and hot-swap worked as expected.
As this enclosure includes a fan, I did a quick noise test with the side panel of the case removed. While the CPU fan did prevent a true test at idle, I can at least report that at the low position the 40 mm fan that ships with the MB607SP-B was inaudible over CPU idle fan noise (a Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition).
Moving up to the high position the fan could be heard over the CPU cooler, and registered 36 dBA from a distance of 12 inches (again, with the side panel removed). When using SSDs the fan is unnecessary, and I kept the speed controller in the off position throughout testing, other than the fan noise test.
Pricing and Conclusion
The SATA/SAS enclosure we tested is but one of a full line of drive enclosures for a variety of form-factors and interfaces from Icy Dock, with a sizable selection in the 5.25-inch category alone:
We found the Icy Dock ToughArmor Lite MB607SP-B to offer solid construction and trouble-free operation, accomplishing its objective as a rugged external 4-bay enclosure for 2.5-inch hard drives and SSDs. The drive trays are solid, the backplane connection seems robust after repeated use, and overall this is an impressive product for those that need such a solution. At a list of $94.99 (we’ve seen it as low as $80.99 on Amazon) it does have a premium price, but part of this cost is the rugged all-metal construction, and you are getting a very high quality product for that premium.
The EZConvert MB703M2P-B SATA M.2 to 2.5-inch drive enclosure adapter similarly offered a combination of good design and reliability, and while its current selling price of $14.29 on Amazon is about $5 more than similar solutions we’ve used it does have the benefit of being a very simple to use tool-free design – and with plenty of ventilation.
Ultimately we were impressed with both products, and our only difficulty was in finding a case that still supports external 5.25-inch drives! This will not be much of an issue in the enterprise market, but consumer desktop enclosures have followed the sinister trend of eliminating external bays for a few years now. After locating a case with such “legacy” support (a RIOTORO CR480) I quickly realized how much I missed these drive bays, and how useful they can be.
A drive cage like this Icy Dock ToughArmor MB607SP-B makes it very convenient to manage a collection of SSDs, allowing for fairly easy drive swaps in a form-factor more permanent than a desktop drive docking station. If you have considered adding such functionality to your system this is a great solution – and one well worth keeping a case with external bays on hand.