Icy Dock Enclosure: Assembly & Results

Icy Dock Enclosure: Assembly & Results

Assembly

Before assembling the Icy Dock, we did a quick check of its acoustics to make sure it was suitable. With the cooling fan on low speed, it was quiet enough for us to proceed, but the quality of the sound wasn't great. The fan was a little growly, but it also rattled because of how it was mounted; the plastic holder was rather loose and wiggled around quite easily. To deal with this issue we performed another ghetto mod, inserting a few pieces of cardboard to make it a snugger fit.


A few strips of cardboard makes the fan rattle go away.


A Caviar Green mounted in one of the sleds.


Four drives ready to go.


Fully assembled and turned on. White LEDs indicate which drives are active.

Test Results

To test the Icy Dock, we installed four drives from our SFF home server build (2TB Caviar Greens) into it and left it running for various periods of time at different fan speeds. We checked the hard drive temperatures by periodically connecting it via eSATA to the Puget Serenity SPCR Edition v.2.

Measurements
Fan Speed

(time elapsed)
HDD Temps
SPL@1m
AC Power
Empty
Low
N/A
18~19 dBA
3W
Auto
N/A
28 dBA
Filled
Low (one hour)
35~38°C
20 dBA
30W
Low (three hours)
39~42°C
Auto (one hour)
35~39°C
29 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.

Despite the obviously limited airflow inside the Icy Dock, it managed to keep all the drives inside at 42°C or lower after three hours of operation, even with the fan speed set to low. It was also very quiet measuring only 20 dBA@1m, no more than our SFF server build. Setting the fan speed to automatic resulted in a hefty increase in noise but with no significant thermal difference. Vibration was only a minor issue and the enclosure did not exhibit the resonance effects encountered with the unmodified Lian Li PC-Q08.



Turning up the fan speed from low to auto is not worth 9 dB increase in noise level.

Audio Recordings

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

Speed & Summary

We also managed to get fairly good performance using the eSATA interface. Copying a 38GB file from the enclosure to an internal drive (both Caviar Greens) took about six minutes and 30 seconds with an average speed of 101MB/s. For all intents and purposes it was as fast as have both drives inside the same system.

Fast, quiet, cool, easy to use, the Icy Dock MB561US-4S is a strong backup device for a middle-of-the-road home server with only one weakness, its US$200 street price. However as we stated earlier, there are a few more affordable alternatives on the market that should perform similarly, though we cannot vouch for their acoustics.

Find the right multiple-bay external storage enclosure at the best price with the SPCR Shopping Engine.

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.