by Kevin OBrien

Icy Dock Dual Bay RAID Enclosure Review (MB662USEB-2-1)

The Icy Dock MB662USEB-2-1 is a simple two-bay enclosure designed to be used in RAID0/1, JBOD or Concatenation modes with 3.5-inch hard drives. The enclosure offers a quad-interface, allowing users to connect via FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0 and eSATA. In the box Icy Dock includes everything you need to get rolling (except the drives); power adapter and cables for each interface are standard equipment. 

The MB662USEB-2-1 is aimed at users who need either high transfer speeds or data redundancy through use of various RAID modes such as RAID0 and RAID1. By supplying either their own 3.5-inch desktop hard drives, users can customize the RAID array for their individual use. Those wanting a safe way to protect their data with a wide range of connections will enjoy the protection of RAID1 and the quad-interface compatibility. Those looking for high transfer speeds will like the RAID0 capabilities and the eSATA/FW-800 connections for fast data transfers.

Based around the Oxford 946 ARM chipset, the enclosure supports hardware RAID, which gives a big boost in speed or redundancy without impacting CPU usage on the host system. The MB662USEB-2-1 will be available starting December 7th for a suggested retail price of $185. It's worth noting that while many consumer-grade hard drives will work in this enclosure, Icy Dock recommends enterprise-grade drives, or drives that otherwise support TLER, which prevents the drives from falling out of a RAID array when they encounter an error. 

Icy Dock MB662USEB-2S-1 Enclosure Specs

  • Interface  - 1x USB2.0 + 1x eSATA + 2x FireWire 800
  • Cables Included - USB 2.0, eSATA, FW-800
  • Chipset - Oxford946
  • RAID Modes - JBOD, BIG (SPANNED), RAID0 (FAST), RAID1 (SAFE)
  • Drive Cooling - Sunon MAGLev Cooling Fan w/ Adjustable fan speed VR control
  • Dimension (L x W x H) - 8.1 x 5.3 x 2.4 in
  • Weight - 1.83 lbs.

Design and Build

The enclosure has an all aluminum body which not only looks good, but is sturdy and helps with heat dissipation. The two doors on the front are white plastic with aluminum accents and are released by latches on top of the enclosure. When empty the dorrs are a little wobbly, but once drives are loaded in the bays, the tension keeps everything locked into place perfectly. At the top of each door is an unobtrusive status LED, that's white when the drives are being accessed and red in the event of trouble. 

Around the back of the unit is the business end of the RAID enclosure, with the fan, power and mode switches, and all of the interface connections. As mentioned in the beginning of this review, the Icy Dock MB662USEB-2-1 features two FW-800 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and an eSATA 3Gb/s connection.

Performance

Setting up the RAID enclosure is very simple using a dial on the back of the case. With the unit powered off, turning the dial to the desired mode and switching the unit on are all thats required to get it up and running. After you partition and format the drive as you wish it is completely up and running.

The MB662USEB-2-1 was no slouch in the performance category. We filled the unit with two 2TB Western Digital RE4s and tested performance in both RAID0 and RAID1 modes over eSATA. Sequential write speeds in RAID1 measured 147.8MB/s read and 141.5MB/s write which is close to the performance of working with the drive directly over SATA. Speed using RAID0 measured 223.7MB/s read and 212.1MB/s write, which for external scratch space is excellent for video or photo editing. 

Conclusion

Icy Dock comes through again with another high-performance external hard drive enclosure. Sporting hardware RAID1 and RAID0 support, the MB662USEB-2-1 worked very well in testing, reaching speeds in excess of 223MB/s read and 212MB/s write with a pair of Western Digital RE4 hard drives over eSATA. With FireWire, USB, and eSATA the Dual Bay RAID Enclosure is compatible with most computers on the market, with a strong focus towards Apple systems given the Mac-esque design.

Overall the Icy Dock Dual Bay RAID Enclosure worked very well in our lab, was easy to setup, and even offered an attractive design that blended in with most desk environments. Given the size and weight we don't think it would be marketed towards travelers, but for enthusiast or business use on the go the drive would still work well in a mobile work environment as long as AC-power was available.

Pros

  • Fast with the right drive combo
  • Easy to setup
  • Durable look and feel

Cons

  • Drive bay doors could be more sturdy

Bottom Line

The Icy Dock Dual Bay RAID Enclosure (MB662USEB-2-1) offers great speed and compatibility with its quad-interface featuring FW-800/400, USB 2.0, and 3.0Gb/s eSATA.

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