by Josh Shaman

Icy Dock Tray-Less 3 in 2 Backplane Review (MB973SP-2B)

The Icy Dock Tray-Less 3 in 2 BackPlane module allows users the ability to squeeze three 3.5" HDDs into just two 5.25" device bays. This enables users the flexibility to add more storage to their rigs than their cases would traditionally allow. The Tray-Less 3 in 2 is designed for anyone with extensive media capacity needs. Icy Dock is well-known for the build quality of their products and for producing updated accessories that meet consumer needs and demands, and this product offers a simple solution for users to simply install more storage.

This 3-in-2 offering may sound familiar; we reviewed the MB973SP-B in 2010. The core change in the 2B update is the inclusion of USB 3.0, something Icy Dock has been progressively adding to their line the last several months. 

The Icy Dock Tray-Less 3 in 2 Backplane is available from retailers now and carries a street price of around $100 and comes with three-year warranty.

Tray-Less 3 in 2 SATA Backplane Module Specs

  • User friendly tray-less design for hot-swap capability
  • Durable aluminum body for excellent heat dissipation and stylish finish
  • Supports SATA III (6 Gbit/s) Hard Drive
  • 80mm cooling fan that automatically adjusts the fan speed according to drive temperature
  • Fits 3 X 3.5" SATA HDD into 2 x 5.25" device bays
  • Built-in USB 3.0 ports for convenient data transfer across external storage devices
  • Dimensions: 146 x 85 x 210mm
  • Weight: 904g
  • Three year warranty

Design and Use

The front of the unit features a sturdy black metal bracket with ventilation. The rest of the body is produced with aluminum to aid in the dissipation of heat and to keep the unit lightweight. The rear of the unit also features the SATA connectors and power ports. It's on the front of the unit that users can access the USB 3.0 ports, turn on/off each drive individually by pressing in on the buttons, and adjust the fan from high to low or set it to automatic.

To utiliize the Tray-Less 3 in 2 SATA Backplane Module, users pull open a latch on the front of the unit. From there, users just need to slide their HDD's in to complete the install. Mounting the bracket into the two standard 5.25" bays is simple and quick. Icy Dock includes a set of screws for this process and the bracket has mounting holes on the sides. This type of mounting enclosure was designed for cases without hot-swap bays. From there, once the drives are in the correct position, the SATA and power connectors are easy to access.

For proper cooling of installed 3.5" HDDs, the chassis also include a large 80mm fan that provides more than adequate airflow without an excessive amount of noise. The fan is also user serviceable should it need to be replaced or repaired.

Conclusion

The Icy Dock Tray-Less 3 in 2 SATA Backplane Module provides users with a solid, tray-less module that allows users to cram three 3.5" SATA HDDs into two 5.25" bays, up to 12TB in two bays by today's standards. It also provides frontal access to its new USB 3.0 ports and allows users to turn off and on each drive individually. The street price is a reasonable $100 or so, especially given the included three-year warranty.

Icy Dock MB973SP-2B at Amazon.com

Discuss This Review