Icy Dock Blizzard HDD Enclosure & EZ-Dock Docking Station

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Icy Dock Blizzard HDD Enclosure & EZ-Dock Docking Station

February 6, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Blizzard MB080U3S-1SB HDD Enclosure EZ-Dock MB981U3S-1S HDD Docking Station
Icy Dock
Street Price
US$60 US$45

The storage accessory market has many cheap products built by nameless/faceless OEMs, resold with cosmetic tweaks under umpteen brands. They are good enough for those looking for the bare minimum — utilitarian equipment that does what it's designed for and nothing more. Icy Dock devices are a bit more expensive than the usual rabble but more extra goes into their products, whether it be in build quality, aesthetics, or features.

Icy Dock Blizzard (MB080U3S-1SB)

Hard drives enclosures are designed for adding semi-permanent external storage to a PC or NAS/router. They are usually composed of an interface adapter and a metal or plastic casing to protect the drive from outside elements like errant hands/feet, unruly pets, and curious children. The 2.5 inch models can be powered through a USB, FireWire, or powered eSATA cable, making them great for portable operation. The Icy Dock Blizzard belongs to the larger 3.5 inch variety, supporting full sized desktop drives that require AC power. Higher-end models come with a fan which isn't a bad idea if the drive used is to be left on 24-7 but there's more to the Blizzard than that.

Blizzard unboxed.

This is one of the most unusual looking enclosures on the market. It's a single bay model equipped with an 80 mm fan positioned at the front, blowing across the entire drive. Most actively cooled enclosures place the fan on the side, which limits cooling but has minimal impact on the overall dimensions. Furthermore, the Blizzard's fan is placed at an angle, giving it an odd diamond shape at the front while the rear is substantially thinner. The fan has both automatic and adjustable speeds and there's a brightness dial at the back for fan LEDs, which come in two colors, blue for normal operation, and red when/ if the drive temperature exceeds 50°C. To top it all off, assembly is completely tool-less Our sample version of the Blizzard supports both USB 3.0 and eSATA (the MB080USEB-1SB has eSATA, USB 2.0, and FireWire) and ships with thick cables measuring about a meter long.

Icy Dock Blizzard MB080U3S-1SB: Specifications
(from the product website)
Model Number MB080U3S-1SB
Color Black
Drive Fit Single 3.5" SATA I / II / III hard drive
Host Interface 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port
1 x USB 3.0 port (USB 2.0 compatible)
Transfer Rate (max. bus speed) Up to 3Gb/s via eSATA
Up to 5Gb/s via USB 3.0
Up to 480Mb/s via USB 2.0
Drive Cooling 80mm fan
Fan Speed Control High/ Low/ Auto
HDD Access Indication Flashing orange LED
Power Indication Green LED
Over Heat Indicator Red ambient LED light (when temperature reach 50° C)
OS Requirement Windows XP/ 2003/ VISTA/ 7/ 8
Mac OS 10.22.8 and higher
Power Supply 12V/2A power adapter
Structure ABS shell with metal frame
Dimension (L x W x H) 237.5 x 126 x 146 mm
Weight 648g

Icy Dock EZ-Dock (MB981U3S-1S)

Hard drive docking stations can be used just like an enclosure but it's a more transitory solution that doesn't afford the drive any physical protection. The advantage is the ability to swap drives in and out very quickly which makes it especially convenient for IT professionals. At SPCR, we find docking stations extremely useful for quickly installing system images onto drives used for hardware testing. These devices work with both 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drives, which isn't always the case with enclosures.

EZ-Dock unboxed.

The EZ-Dock lacks the many bells and whistles of the Blizzard. For a docking station it is quite attractive, decked out in glossy black with smooth contours. The dock is seemingly encased in an outer shell that affords some protection to the release mechanism. It gives the whole unit a sense of extra stability though it might actually be sturdier overall with a unibody design. Like the Blizzard, it connects through both eSATA and USB 3.0 with one meter long cables. An alternate variant, the MB981U3-1SA trades eSATA connectivity for old school IDE support.

Icy Dock EZ-Dock MB981U3S-1S: Specifications
(from the product website)
Model Number MB981U3S-1S
Color Black
Drive Fit 2.5" / 3.5" SATA 1.5 / 3 / 6 Gbps hard drive or SSD x 1
Connection Interface SuperSpeed USB 3.0 & eSATA
Transfer Rate Up to 5 Gbps via USB 3.0
Up to 480 Mbps via USB 2.0
Up to 3 Gbps via eSATA
Structure ABS
LED Indication Device Power & Drive Activity
LED Display Color Power: Amber; Drive Activity: Amber flashing
Power ON / Off Power Button
Dimension (L x W x H) 150 x 79.7 x 92mm
Weight 361g

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