Icy Dock Blizzard HDD Enclosure & EZ-Dock Docking Station

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Summary of primary HDD testing tools:

Key Components in HDD Test Platform:

Drives Used in Testing:


Note: As the EZ-Dock exposes most of the drive in open air, it has no effect on the noise or the temperature of the drive. Thus environmental measurements were restricted to the Blizzard alone.

Due to the nature of the device, the Blizzard is likely to be placed near one's person so we tested it for noise at the ISO 7779 standard seated user distance of 0.6m. The hard drive used in testing was the Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB which produced an idle and seek noise level of 17 [email protected] and 18~19 [email protected] respectively in our original open hard drive test setup. This translates to approximately 21 dBA and 22~23 dBA respectively at 0.6m.

Icy Dock Blizzard: Baseline Noise Measurements
HDD only (no fan)
Idle: 22~23 dBA
Seek: 29 dBA
Fan only (no HDD)
Low: 29 dBA
High: 35 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 0.6m at diagonal angle from the center of the device.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

According to our measurements, the enclosure's fan produced 29 [email protected] on the low speed setting and 35 [email protected] on the high setting. Though the noise level was a bit high, the sound generated was generally smooth though lower in pitch than most case fans spinning in open air, probably due to being enclosed in a tight space. Also, the low speed setting emitted the same level of noise as our test hard drive when seeking, making them a perfect complement for one another. We were unable to observe the automatic setting ramping up the fan speed; apparently the drive simply didn't get hot enough under our testing conditions.

When the drive was idle, there was a negligible acoustic difference between the drive sitting out in the open and inside the Blizzard. Seek activity was much louder however and the enclosure had a noticeable increase in vibration as well. Cooling and ease of assembly were taken into consideration but like most enclosures, no thought was given with regards to dampening vibration.

Icy Dock Blizzard: Operational Measurements
HDD State
SPL @0.6m
AC Power
29 dBA
31~32 dBA
Fan set to low.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.
Ambient temperature: 20°C.

In operation, our test hard drive ran a very cool 28°C when idle and there was only a 5°C increase after prolonged seek activity with the enclosure's fan set to low speed. The noise produced by the fan and drive added up correctly but the sound was slightly different than in our baseline tests. Somehow the drive and fan interaction created a low pitched hum that wasn't observed previously. For an actively cooled 3.5" enclsoure, we didn't find it particularly loud.

Much of the noise difference between the drive at idle and during seek was in the lower frequency range of 70~120 Hz, undoubtedly caused by vibration.

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