Icy Dock's eSATA Enclosure

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The Icy Dock MB559US-1S is a sleek white and silver box that would not look out of place next to one of Apple's iMac's — or a custom built system in an Antec P150. The enclosure is fanless, and relies on convection cooling and conduction to the chassis to prevent the drive it holds from overheating. It can be placed either horizontally or vertically, but the vertical position is likely to be better for cooling.

White and silver — a good match for an Antec P150.

The enclosure sits on four tiny feet when in vertical position.

For vertical position, four feet with tiny rubber pads flip out of the bottom of the enclosure. The rubber pads are quite hard, but are surprisingly effective at damping vibration, perhaps because they do not allow the whole side to contact the surface it is standing on. The feet can be folded flush into the enclosure when the enclosure is being moved or used in a horizontal orientation. A small button on the back panel releases the feet.

Although Icy Dock advertises a "built-in security slot" that allows the enclosure to be locked in place, the lock does not secure the drive caddy inside, which can be removed from the enclosure without undoing the lock. Icy Dock does sell enclosures with Caddies that lock, but the MB559US-1S isn't one of them.

Left to right: A button to release the feet, security lock (Kensington),
power, USB 2.0, eSATA, and a power switch.

Aside from the button to release the feet and the security slot, the connections on the back panel are pretty much what you'd expect: Power (from an external power brick), the advertised USB 2.0 and eSATA connections, and power switch. The power switch did not function when both USB and eSATA connections were present, preventing the drive from accidentally being mounted twice via separate connections.

The enclosure with the caddy fully installed...

The Icy Dock is unusual in that it allows the drive to be easily removed and swapped with other compatible enclosures. It uses a caddy system that reflects the company's history in making internal enclosures — the kind found in servers and media labs. In addition to making the drives swappable, this simplifies installation because the drive can be installed in the caddy outside of the enclosure instead of taking the whole thing apart.

Inserting and removing the caddy is a simple matter: One gray button is all that is needed to release the drive, which pulls out easily. Replacing the drive is just a matter of ensuring that the lever (illustrated below) is fully extended before pushing the caddy back into place. The process should be familiar to anyone who has worked with drive caddies before.

...the grey switch allows a lever to pop out...

...which serves as a handle to pull the caddy out.

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