Icy Dock MB973SP-B SATA Backplane Module

Storage
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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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Our overall experience with the Icy Dock MB973 was very positive. The build quality of the unit is quite solid and drives feel very secure upon insertion. The included fan is barely audible in Auto mode, but if you're unhappy with it, swapping it out for the fan of your choosing is not much of a hassle. The higher manual speeds are fairly loud, but thankfully you probably won't ever need to use them. We were concerned about the restrictive PCB limiting the amount of airflow passing over the drives, but it seems that only a minimal amount is required to keep drives adequately cooled. The fan can't be disabled manually from the outside, but it does shut down automatically when there aren't any drives powered on. Conveniently, each drive has its own individual power switch, which can be very useful if your OS does not provide power down functions for multiple drives. Our criticisms of the MB973 are minor. The LEDs are a bit too bright (the same can be said about the majority of LED-equipped PC accessories) and the small metal tabs that guide the drives into the backplanes cause drives to stick somewhat upon insertion.

The MB973 is well constructed, works just as one would expect, and does so quietly with a very low noise level. If you're in the market for a quiet, actively cooled multi-bay externally accessible hard drive rack, we can recommend it without any hesitation. Its street price is US$75~$80, which is about on par with similar products from their competitors. For users who only require occasional/temporary access to a limited number of bare SATA drives, a single bay unit like the Antec Easy SATA is a better choice.

Our thanks to Icy Dock for the MB973SP-B sample.

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