We previously sang the praises of Icy Dockís MB559 external single hard drive enclosure, even giving it the coveted [H] Consumer Editorís Choice Gold Award. With their new MB561S-4S Quad Bay External Removable Enclosure, is Icy Dock still cool?
For computing professionals working with multiple, very large media files on a regular basis, most systems donít have the necessary internal storage capacity necessary. An external storage solution is almost mandatory. As hard drive capacities go up and their costs decline, having dedicated, non-upgradeable external drives makes little fiscal sense. The optimal solution is an enclosure that provides connectivity between itself and a host machine, supports a variety of hard drives, allows for the containment and cooling of those drives, and, most importantly, supports the ability to easily swap out and upgrade the hard drives as newer, higher capacity units become available.
We recently evaluated a Vantec NexStar LX NAS Hard Drive Enclosure, which provided both direct connectivity via USB 2.0 as well as network connectivity via an onboard FTP/SMB server, configured and maintained with a Web-based administration interface. The previous Icy Dock we evaluated was not intended as an NAS and hence had no RJ-45 port nor onboard servers. Instead, it was intended to be directly connected to a host machine via USB 2.0 or eSATA ports.
Icy Dockís new quad-bay enclosure works the same way.
The MB561, as stated on its product page, takes its industrial design cues directly from Appleís Mac Mini. The enclosure is simple and elegant in design, with a brushed aluminum casing, white plastic front and back, and white LEDs that light up to indicate drive activity. A major feature of this unit is its passive and active cooling regimes to keep the drives cool. Its ability to freely hot-swap drives is an attribute that is highly coveted by media professionals that need quick access to large amounts of data.