July 3rd, 2012 by Mark Kidd
Icy Dock MB994SP-4SB-1 4 in 1 SATA Backplane Review
The MB994SP-4SB-1 is Icy Dock’s latest quad-bay 5.25” bay RAID cage, successor to the MB994SP-4S we reviewed. The backplane hosts up to four 2.5" 6Gbps SATA drives and provides SATA connectivity. The MB994SP-4SB-1 represents an evolution of previous Icy Dock designs, adding a fan power switch to provide more cooling flexibility in environments that use both hard drives and SSDs as well as dropping the power input to a single connection.
The addition of a fan control switch means that the MB994SP-4SB-1’s dual 40mm cooling fans can be deactivated when using SSDs that don’t generate the same amount of heat as mechanical hard drives. This device also uses Active Power Technology, meaning it only powers up if there are drives installed. Another change from the previous generation is that the MB994-SP-4SB-1 only requires a single power connection rather than the dual sources we needed for the MB994SP-4S in 2011.
The MB994SP-4SB-1 is the same size as a standard 5.25” desktop CD/DVD drive and takes up one 5.25” device bay, making it appealing for gaming PCs, RAID systems, and supplemental server storage.
The MB994SP-4SB-1’s all-metal construction improves heat dissipation and durability, but does come at the cost of a 1.77 pound weight without any drives installed. As with its predecessor, Icy Dock has maintained high standards for fit and finish -- the MB994SB-4SB-1 slides smoothly in and out of 5.25” bays and offers no sharp edges.
The MB994SP uses Icy Dock's EZ Slide Mini Trays, accommodating both 9.5mm and 12.5mm drives and offering compatibility with other Icy Dock enclosures, including the single-drive MB991IK 2.5” mobile rack. It includes ventilation on the front, rear, top, and bottom with an LED for each tray to indicate drive status.
Icy Dock’s line of 5.25” backplanes retains its emphasis on usability, durability, and interoperability with the latest MB994SP-4SB-1. This cage builds on the previous generation of Icy Dock cages and enclosures by focusing on utility and offering small enhancements like its fan power switch and the reduction to one power connection.