by Charles Jefferies

Icy Dock MB994SP-4S 4-in-1 SAS/SATA Hot Swap Backplane RAID Cage Review

The Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is a four-bay hard drive cage that fits in a single 5.25” device bay. It accommodates four 2.5-inch hard drives with up to 15mm height, including 15,000RPM SAS drives. It is actively cooled via two 40mm fans and has a full metal construction.

A full list of the drive’s features is as follows:

  • Fits 4 x 2.5" SATA I / II / III and SAS HDD/SSD
  • Accommodates Drives with up to 15mm Height
  • Fits 4 Drives into a Single 5.25" Device Bay
  • Status LED on Front for Each Drive
  • Full Metal EZ Slide Mini Tray System with Full Cage Design
  • Small Form Factor Perfect for IPC, Servers, and Small Form Factor Cases
  • Front, Rear, Top, and Bottom Ventilation Slots
  • Dual 40mm Fans with Active Power Technology
  • Heavy Duty Full Metal Construction
  • Support SATA 6Gbps
  • Top Cover for the Tray Adds Extra Drive Protection
  • MSRP of $59.99.

Design and Build Quality

The MB994SP-4S is the same size as an internal desktop CD/DVD drive and takes up one 5.25” device bay. The construction is all-metal and has the weight to prove it, weighing a hefty 1.77 pounds without any drives installed; it feels as solid as a brick. The exterior is painted black while inside parts are gray. Fit and finish of this backplane is excellent; there are no unfinished or sharp edges.

The front of the MB994SP-4S (above) shows the drive cages. The drive cages have a mesh front so air can pass through, sucked across the drives by the rear fans. There is a tiny green status light in each cage, which indicates it has power; it turns an amber color when there is drive activity.

Pushing in the tab on the left side of each cage swings out the metal front piece, which acts as a handhold to remove the drive cage.

The back of theMB994SP-4S is where the SATA/SAS connectors are located as well as the 4-pin Molex power connectors and the two 40mm fans.

In Use

Installing the MB994SP-4S was just like installing a regular desktop optical drive – simply slide it into a 5.25" device bay. I had to move some cables around to get two 4-pin Molex connectors up top; once that was done it was a cinch to attach the SATA cables.

Installing 2.5” drives into the cages is also easy; it requires four screws (16 are included). Then, simply slide the cage into the enclosure and push the metal piece in to lock it. Only a small amount of pressure is required to push the drives in. The drive cages slide in securely – there is no wiggle room. Also see our review of the ICY Dock SATA 2.5” Rack for 3.5” Drive Bays – it uses the same drive trays. My only complaint about the MB994SP-4S is that there is no way to lock drive trays in for security purposes.

The two 40mm fans push a respectable amount of air out the rear. The fans are quiet and did not add any noise to my desktop over and above what my cooling fans were already producing.

Conclusion

The Icy Dock MB994SP-4S is an innovative way to expand a desktop’s storage capabilities. Some desktops only fit a couple of standard 3.5” drives, which is a problem for those requiring a lot of storage. With the MB994SP-4S, up to four 1TB 2.5” drives can be added with no external add-ons.
The MB994SP-4S has excellent build quality, is easy to install and swap drives, and has good cooling. Other than the fact that drives cannot be locked in for security, it is a no-compromises device and I give it my full recommendation.

Pros

  • Great way to add extra storage to a desktop
  • Easy to install and use
  • Supports 9.5mm, 12.5mm, and 15mm SAS and SATA drives
  • Actively-cooled
  • High-quality metal construction

Cons

  • Drives cannot be locked in for security purposes

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