The thing about computer HDDs is that until they die, they are always useful. Most enthusiasts have shifted their main operating system drive over to solid-state or some form of hybrid system where a small solid-state drive works in conjunction with a much larger mechanical drive. Even though Crucial is about to introduce us to the Tera Era of low costs SSDs (960GB for $600 model M500), the cheapest way to store large volumes of data is still through platter technology.
Hard drives or 'spinners' as I like to call them simply deliver the best bang for the buck when storing low access data. In the enterprise world, a common practice called tiered storage allows for data you don't often use to go on a slower HDD. Most reading this review have at least one spare HDD around the house or office, and more than a few of you have more than one idle HDD. Putting those drives in a system is often a nuisance, but if you spend a little time, the rewards pay off.
One of the pay offs is the ability to keep low access data off of your SSD. This increases the SSD performance and allows the drive to use more NAND spare as spare area, a process that increases the life of your drive and performance of it.
Icy Dock shipped us a very high quality internal bay component that is one of the best I've seen to date. First there is the quality - it is better than we expected, and even higher than what we've come to expect from Icy Dock. Next comes functionality, ease of access as a new benchmark. Finally, connivance, dual USB 3.0 ports in the front and power buttons for each individual drive to make hot swap installs easier than opening your computer case and plugging in cables.
The Icy Dock FlexCage MB973SP-2B is a triple HDD bay that fits in two optical bay (5.25") openings. This is just one FlexCage product among many offered by Icy Dock. The company has a long reputation for their HDD drive cage products and most are of very high quality. The MB973SP-2B is of premier quality, I can't stress that point enough, but hopefully you'll see it in our images today.
With three tool-less slide HDD bays and two USB 3.0 ports in the front and a user replaceable fan on the back, the unit has all of the bases covered. Even the sides of the unit are well thought out; the grooves are strategically placed to allow installation in a number of cases that normally block multi-bay products.
Let's dive in and take a look.