Icy Dock MB080U3S-1SB Blizzard & MB559U3S-1S Ultra Slim External Hard Drive Enclosure Reviewajmatson - August 20, 2012
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Price: $65 - $75
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With the amount of data being moved each day, everyone needs to have some sort of external storage for their needs. Whether it be a small thumb drive or a larger capacity hard drive, at one point your needs will require something to move data while you are out and about. Backups, file transfers, all of it require this type of movable media, but with the size of today's files smaller portable drives just will not cut it. In comes the full size external hard drives, but with so many choices how do you pick the right one for you? There are many external hard drives on the market but if you are like me, you would rather have full control over the size and features without being limited to pre-designed models. This is where external enclosures come into the picture allowing you to tailor the setup to your specific needs. Icy Dock has been in the hard drive accessories field for a long time and two of its newest products are designed to give you style, flexibility, and a feature set sure to get your full attention.
The two models we will be examining today are the Icy Dock MB080U3S-1SB Blizzard and the MB559U3S-1S Ultra Slim External Hard Drive Enclosures. Both models are designed for the larger 3.5 inch SATA I / II / III hard drives, with capacities up to three terabytes and more. Each one offers USB 2.0/3.0 and eSATA connections for extremely fast data transfers for those larger files such as movies, applications, and more. While similar, both have different selling points and features which set them apart as well. With active cooling, slim design, and more, how about we cut the chit chat and move on to what we all want to see; the designs and features that each one offers.
First up on the agenda today is the Icy Dock MB080U3S-1SB Blizzard. The Blizzard, as I will refer from this point on as, offers an active cooling solution to help keep those larger high speed drives nice and cool during operation. Unlike the Thermaktake Max 5G we reviewed here last year, which takes a side approach to the cooling solution, the Icy Dock Blizzard uses a forward facing cooling fan that pushes the outside air over the full length of the hard drive covering both sides for maximum efficiency, as you can see on the packaging. On the front of the box is a full size image of the enclosure showing its unique design, which I personally think reminds me of a jet engine intake that shows the true power that the fan has to offer. On the rear of the box are a list of the features and specifications of the enclosure along with a small image of how the drive is inserted. Flipping around to the sides there are images of the back with the ports and of the front showing how the fan looks and the different colors for the temperatures. Included with the Blizzard enclosure are the manual, feet that are screwed on, power cable, USB 3.0 cable, and the eSATA cable.
The Icy Dock Blizzard is one of the larger enclosures I have encountered. It stands a tall 5", is 5.75" wide and is 9.35" long. The width of this one is over three times the width of any other single drive external enclosure I have personally seen or owned. The Blizzard weighs in at 646 grams and is made from a metal frame and ABS plastic shell. From the front you can see the huge 80mm cooling fan that gives the enclosure the "Blizzard" name, which I for one can't wait to validate. At the top of the fan are two barely visible LEDs, a green one for power and a flashing orange one for hard drive activity. There is also a blue/red LED on the inside, which is barely visible and changes based on the temperature of the drive. One quirk I had was the blue LED was barely visible with any ambient light in the room and only if looking at it dead on. Any angle and you cannot view the blue LED. On the rear there is the fan switch for high, low, or auto, the LED brightness wheel, a USB 3.0 port, eSATA port, the power switch, and the power plug port. On the side of the drive there are two thumb tabs. To release the fan you push both in and it pops off.
With the front fan cover off you can see the actual fan close up. There are no markings on the fan what so ever so I was not able to determine the model of it. At the bottom of the fan housing there are two metal contacts that connect to power the fan module when assembled. A look into the inside of the enclosure shows the SATA connector and the backplane. To install a hard drive just line up the SATA connector to the inside and slide it into place. Then push the fan housing back on and gently push until the two thumb buttons click back into place. Then plug her in and have some storage goodness.
Now that the Blizzard is all unboxed and ready to go we can move over and take a better look at the MB559U3S-1S Ultra Slim External Hard Drive Enclosure.