June 9th, 2011 by Thomas Sullivan
Icy Dock SSD/HDD Conversion Kit Roundup
Icy Dock is perhaps the most prolific storage accessory company out there - case in point, in this review we look at a trio of 2.5" to 3.5" conversion kits. With street prices ranging from $15 to $30, the products are designed for almost any budget and interface need. On the high end is the metal SATA and SAS compatible MB982IP-1S. Icy Dock also sells a SATA-only metal version called the MB982SP-1S, although we don't cover it in this review. The mid-range MB882SP-1S-1B and entry-level MB882SP-1S-2B are SATA only and switch to black plastic to cut cost. They all simplify the issue of converting a 2.5" SSD or hard drive to the proper dimensions for mounting in a desktop or server.
All three kits support 2.5" drives up to 12.5mm in height, while the MB982IP-1S goes up to 15mm for 2.5-inch enterprise drives, and have appropriate ventilation and support screw-less drive mounting. Where they vary is pretty much around build quality and the mechanism that locks the drives into place. With all three converters next to each other, the differences in quality and features are readily apparent. While at first glance, three trays that all do roughly the same thing may seem a bit overkill, but with each step up or down comes a price move; Icy Dock wants to have an option available for every budget.
The flagship MB982IP-1S features an all silver-SECC body and an internal metal automatic screwless mounting mechanism for locking drives into place. It's also the only one that also supports SAS drives. This unit features a spring loaded top cover that when closed, covers the drive and pushes it forward at the same time. When closed the adapter feels very solid and ready for at least a moderate level of abuse - though that's not recommended.
In the mid-range is the MB882SP-1S-1B. Icy Dock switched to a plastic body here, but still used metal for the automatic drive seating built into the lid. Even though the body is plastic, the unit still feels secure - it just lacks the flair of the silver SECC bodied kit.
The entry-level conversion kit is the MB882SP-1S-2B and takes a different approach to mounting the drive inside. Instead of having a tension and pivot assembly built into the cover hinge, it separates it into a pivoting bar inside the unit. When you have the drive placed inside the adapter and slide it back into place, the cover hits the bar and pushes the drive at the SATA connector inside.
Getting past the basic functions of each drive SSD/HDD adapter unit, all models passed our basic functionality tests. We mounted each adapter into one of our bottom-mount NAS drive sleds and verified the screw holes lined up, that they were properly machined, and that the SATA power and data connection was put in the correct spot. We also double checked each drive in our Corsair Obsidian 800D Full Tower hot-swap sleds and verified proper functionality through the adapter. All worked exactly as intended.
At the end of the day Icy Dock offers more choices than many may want to solve the issue of installing a 2.5" drive in a 3.5" bay, but more choice is always a good thing. All three kits work well and were very easy to setup without even breaking out an instruction manual. A buying decision will likely come down to how often you need to insert and remove drives in these conversion kits. If not often, the basic unit is fine - scaling up to the metal MB982IP-1S if you're a heavy user.