Icy Dock's eSATA Enclosure

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September 26, 2006 by Devon Cooke

Icy Dock MB559US-1S
eSATA / USB2.0 External Drive Enclosure
Icy Dock
Market Price

It's been well over a year since the standard for External SATA — eSATA — was announced, but devices that use the standard have only recently begun to find their way onto retail shelves. The main use for eSATA is external storage, as eSATA offers the same 3.0 Gbps interface speed as SATA — effectively eliminating the performance gap between internal and external drives. It has other advantages as well. Unlike USB or Firewire devices, eSATA drives are recognized as regular drives in the BIOS, which means they can be used to boot Windows. Why would you want to boot Windows from an external drive? External drives can be located away from the main system, cooled independently, and buried in a pile of cushions if necessary.

Enter Icy Dock, a company that specializes specifically in drive enclosures. With such a specialized lineup, it's in their interest to keep up with the latest technology, so it's no surprise that they are one of the first companies to offer an external enclosure with an eSATA interface. And, if your system isn't new enough to support eSATA, they also throw in an adapter that converts an internal SATA header into an eSATA header mounted in a PCI slot. A USB 2.0 connection is also included, just in case the drive needs to be plugged into a system that does not support eSATA.

The enclosure accepts standard SATA desktop drives, so all of the latest drives are supported. Drives are loaded in removable trays that are compatible with several other Icy Dock models, making it possible to hot swap multiple drives or to use the same drive with several different enclosures.

Note that the review sample is one of two similar models. There's also the MB559 which offers Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces.

Very slick.

A plethora of cables: 1m long eSATA, eSATA-to-SATA adapter, USB, and a fanless power brick.

FYI: eSATA on left is much more secure than SATA on right.


ICY DOCK MB559US-1S (from Icy Dock's web site)
Model Number
Host Interface eSATA + USB2.0 combo
Drive Fit 1 x 3.5” SATA I / II
Drive Type Standalone with horizontal or vertical positioning
Transfer Rate 3 Gb/sec. via eSATA
480 Mb/sec. via USB2.0
Insert & Extract connection Via 15 pin direct hard drive connection
Structure Aluminum body w/ partial plastic
Drive Cooling Aluminum heat dispersion w/ top ventilation panel
Indication Device Power & Drive Activity
Color Mini White
OS Requirement Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP
Mac OS 9.0 or higher
Dimension (L x W x H)
194 x 142.6 x 42.6 mm
Weight 1.10 lbs

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