by Tucker Mindrum

Icy Dock TurboSwap 3.5" Tray-Less Mobile Rack Review

Ideal for applications such as medical and military systems, industrial PCs and servers,  the Icy Dock TurboSwap 3.5" tray-less mobile rack (MB171SP-B ) allows for the mounting of a 3.5" hard drive into a 5.25" bay while providing stability, thermoregulation, and lots of added features. 

IcyDock has designed the TurboSwap to retain all the advantages of the tray-less mobile racks but improving on their build quality, cooling efficiency, and equipping it with a shock absorbing functionality that promotes maximum stability.  In addition, the TurboSwap has rugged, all metal design making it idea for environments where bumps and bruises are a give in and can fit into virtually any standard 5.25” bay. The hot-swappable TurboSwap also includes individual drive power buttons so users can turn off their HDD without much effort, SATA III support, an ultra-slim 80mm cooling fan, and fan speed controls as well as optional screw holes for a 120mm cooling fan add-on. This extra fan may come in handy for users with resource-heavy workloads that create a lot of heat.

Supports half-height drive to full size drives, the Ultra-Flex shock absorbing kit (as mentioned above) stabilizes and absorbs vibration, which helps to increase reliability and longevity.  The ejection mechanism consists of all metal arms for durability and is very easy to set up.  For added security, Icy Dock has equipped with TurboSwap with a barrel locking mechanism to secure drives in place and to prevent theft or unwanted access to the drives. We’re one of the few companies that integrate barrel locks and keys in our devices which further increase security. This peace-of-mind is sought out by businesses, so this is definitely an attractive feature for here at StorageReview.

The TurboSwap ships at a price of $39.99 and carries a 3-year warranty.

Specifications

  • Drive Fit: 3.5" SATA 1.5 / 3 /6 Gbit/s hard drive
  • Drive Bay: 5.25" half height device bay
  • Host Interface: 7pin SATA connection
  • Transfer Rate: Up to 6 Gb/sec.
  • Power Input: 15pin SATA power connection
  • Structure: Full Metal
  • Drive Cooling: 80 x 80 x 10 mm cooling fan & metal heat dissipation
  • LED Indication: Power (solid blue) / HDD access (flashing blue)
  • Package Contents
    • Device
    • User Manual
    • 8 screws
    • 2 keys
  • Dimension (L x W x H): 145.8 x 41.25 x 173 mm
  • Weight: 458.8 g
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Use

The TurboSwap's all metal design gives it sturdy and durable feel. With the exception of the face plate (which is black), it has a metallic color with no branding. There is a fair amount of open space within the housing although the drive itself is very secure once installed.

Installation is straight forward; the drive simply slides into the bay and is pushed into contact with the SATA connection when the faceplate is latched against the drive. The faceplate can then be locked if security is an issue. If the latch is opened (by pulling the ejection tab) then the drive is pulled out slightly, making removing it easy. The metal brackets that hold the drive into place are supported by a flexible connection, providing shock absorption.

The faceplate of the TurboSwap has the barrel lock, ejection tab, vents, a fan speed control and a drive power button. The back of the device has the 15pin SATA power connection and 7pin SATA connection, as well as the power supply output to the fan and faceplate.

The device is kept cool with the 80 mm fan located under the drive (a 120 mm fan can be installed if additional cooling is desired).

Conclusion

The Icy Dock TurboSwap 3.5" tray-less mobile rack is definitely an easy method for mounting 3.5" hard drives into 5.25" bays, especially with its stability, thermoregulation, and drive longevity features. On top of being a rugged piece of equipment with its all metal arms, we also found the Icy Dock rack pretty easy to install: simply insert the device into a single 5.25” bay, secure it with screws, plug a 15pin power cable + 7 pin SATA cable, and you’re all set.

Icy Dock’s ultra slim 80mm fan (which is mounted underneath the rack) allowed for generous cooling during our tests and we are confident that it would sufficient for numerous use cases whether it’s running busy server or hardcore gaming.  The fan control functionality is also very useful, especially for those who need to control and monitor drive temperatures on an on-going basis. The TurboSwap is also reasonably priced, going for roughly only $37 on Amazon.com. Combine this with Icy Dock's usual three-year warranty, this comes as a highly recommended device.

Pros

  • Rugged design
  • Easy to use
  • Its Ultra-Flex shock absorbing kit allows for drive longevity

Cons

  • Some drives might be a of a bit of snug fit to install

Bottom Line

With its focus on stability, thermoregulation, and drive longevity, the Icy Dock TurboSwap 3.5" tray-less mobile rack offers a seamless method for mounting 3.5" hard drives into 5.25" bays.

Icy Dock TurboSwap 3.5" Tray-Less Mobile Rack at Amazon

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