Icy Dock MB973SP-B SATA Backplane Module

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The MB973 measures 8.3 x 5.8 x 3.4" (L x W x H) and fits snugly in a pair of 5.25" bays. Slits run down the middle of each side to accommodate the guides most cases have for optical drives. The doors are made of fairly sturdy plastic. Ventilation holes in the front act as the rear fan's source of intake.

Each bay has a flip-out handle to prevent accidental opening. eSATA and USB connectors reside on the left side (they're just front ports, not related to the three bays) above a small switch to toggle the fan speed between Auto, Low and High.

There's nothing fancy on the interior, just some short metal rails on each side to guide drives into their respective backplanes. Drives stick a bit on their way in from the friction. Airflow might be an issue for this unit as the PCB is quite restrictive. Air can only pass from inside to the fan via five small holes at the back.

The MB973 ships with a standard 80 mm ball bearing case fan held on with steel bolts. It sucks air through the backplane module and into the case. Its 3-pin connector connects on the left side above the SATA ports. The fan can't be turned off from the front, but does disable itself when there aren't any drives turned on. A pair of 4-pin molex connectors are located on the opposite side to power the drives and fan.

When we positioned the backplane module so it was flush with the front bezel of the LanCool PC-K59 we noticed that two of the mounting holes didn't line up, preventing us from using the case's 5.25" locking tab.

When installed the molex power connectors are on the inside making them tricky to plug in. We advise connecting them before installation if the cables are long enough.

Each drive has a (too) bright blue status LED which can be depressed to turn individual drives off and on. The power buttons are childproof; they have to be pressed slightly deeper than normal to ensure that a drive is not accidentally turned off.

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