by Josh Shaman

Icy Dock 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Review (MB153SP-B)

The Icy Dock Hot-Swap 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Module enables users to fit three 3.5" HDDs into two 5.25" device bays. This device is a good representation of what Icy Dock is known for - a considerable line of drive adapters and storage enclosure peripherals for users who want to make the most of their PC's space. Icy Dock focused particularly on gamers and media enthusiants when they designed the Hot-Swap 3.5" Backplane as it enables users to utilize Hot-Swap capabilities for convenience in performing maintenance and upgrades.

The Icy Dock Hot-Swap 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Module is available now and carries a street price of $65. This makes it comparable to the Icy Dock Tray-less 3 in 2 Backplane model which runs close to $100.  The tray-less model has a more unified form factor and doors that are smoother on open and close. Also, its metal fit-and-finish is a step-up - it feels smooth and polished while this tray version looks and feels more industrial. When it comes down to it, both models offer solid value though.

Icy Dock Hot-Swap 3.5" HDD Backplane Module Specs

  • Hot-Swap Capabilities
  • Front and rear ventilation slots
  • Supports SATA III (6 Gbit/s) Hard Drive
  • 80mm cooling fan for maximum air flow
  • Fits 3 X 3.5" SATA HDD into 2 x 5.25" device bays
  • Fan is replaceable with aftermarket fans that use 2 or 3 pin connectors
  • Dimensions: 146.4 x 85.8 x 200.4mm
  • Weight: 912g
  • Three year warranty

Design and Use

The black metal bracket, like others on the Icy Dock cages, has a sleek but rugged design. It also provides ventilation below the silver handle that swings out to aid in tray removal. The rest of the unit is solid metal, and the back features a large 80mm cooling fan providing efficient cooling. Users can also opt to swap in their own preferred fan.

To begin the drive installation, users slide their drives into the trays by first utilizing a blue push-button spring on the front of the Icy Dock. Users will have to apply a bit more pressure than we'd like; the latches feel a bit stiff. Users can then pull out the trays and mount their drives with the included screws. When pushing the trays back into the module, users need to slide the drives all the way into the bay before closing the silver latch.

Once mounted, we noted that even aggressive swinging of the bracket back and forth doesn't wiggle the drives inside, thanks to the pressure applied by the spring. From there, mounting the bracket into two standard 5.25" bays is simple and quick. Icy Dock includes a set of screws for this process as well, and the bracket has mounting holes on the sides. This type of mounting enclosure was designed for cases without hot-swap bays to enable much easier drive swaps and wiring.

Conclusion

The Icy Dock Hot-Swap 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Module is a solid space-saver that allows users to squeeze three 3.5" SATA HDDs into two 5.25" bays. The unit has some compelling features including indicator lights for each drive and capability for users to easily remove a HDD for maintenance or an upgrade. The street price is reasonable at $65, especially given the included three year warranty. Users with a bit more spendable cash looking for a tray-less model involving fewer screws might be interested in the Icy Dock Tray-Less 3 in 2 Backplane Module.

The Icy Dock Hot-Swap 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Module allows for simple enough installation. Noted above, the build feels tough and the unit has a good practical design for users who are looking to add storage and/or flexibility to their machine.

Icy Dock MB153SP-B at Amazon.com

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