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ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB491SKL and MB492SKL Drive Cages Review

ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB491SKL and MB492SKL Drive Cages Review
Solid, rugged and reliable, we take a look at new ToughArmor MB491SKL and MB492SKL drive cage solutions from ICY DOCK.
By: Tyler Bernath | Enclosures/Externals in Storage | Posted: Dec 9, 2015 2:40 am
TweakTown Rating: 87%Manufacturer: ICY DOCK

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ICY DOCK has been around just over a decade and in that time has quickly become a well known reliable brand. Their product portfolio covers a full range of external solutions ranging from single bay to quad bay devices along with industrial solutions found in the ToughArmor lineup.

 

Both the MB491SKL and MB492SKL are built specifically for industrial SFF systems that require solid drive security. Each of these units uses heavy metal construction that is considered flame resistant while the drive trays utilize metal key locks to prevent unauthorized access. Internally, support for SAS and SATA is present while externally we have an SATA III connection sporting locking latches on both the data and power connections.

 

MSRP of the MB491SKL is set at $44.99 while the dual bay MB492SKL comes in at $54.99, each of these devices carries a three-year warranty.

 

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Packaging for each of these drive cages are brown boxes with quite a bit of marketing information surrounding. To the far right each has its QR code if you want more information on these solutions.

 

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The scope of delivery includes keys and mounting hardware for each of these devices along with reading materials to get you started.

 

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The front of these units each house a metal lock on the edge of the trays in addition to a metal thumbscrew to further secure. Slots are placed on the fronts to help with airflow, and the dual bay solution has its bays numbered on the right.

 

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Looking at the connectivity for these cages, the single bay model houses a standard SATA and DATA power connection that appears to allow simple hookup with breakout cables. The dual bay model while using the same type of connection for the 1st Bay also uses a standalone SATA plug for the second drive.

 

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Above, we have the drive trays for these cages. On the left, we have the single bay cage that appears to cradle the drive top and bottom while on the right we have the dual bay system that are more of a sled system.

 

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To make sure we had no loss in performance while using these ToughArmor solutions, we ran a baseline with our MX200 from Crucial.

 

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The results for the MB491SKL showed no loss in performance in both sequential reads and write, and the same can be said for random performance.

 

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Moving to the dual bay solution, we again were pleased to see no loss in performance while having our drive installed in this cage.

 

If you have owned drive cages from ICY DOCK in the past, you will certainly be interested to know that the quality of these solutions hasn't changed. When you purchase either of these two models, you will still receive a substantial investment in steel construction, solid locks with both anti-vibration and EMI grounding. With that said its safe to say the build quality is top notch as are the materials used and in addition to the locks on the trays I found it quite nice to have spring-loaded thumbscrews as well.

 

The performance was as expected; we lost no performance with either of these solutions when compared to our direct SATA III connection. Sequential started with a baseline of 560 MB/s and when placed inside these solutions we reached 557 MB/s while write performance started and ended at 505 MB/s.

 

Overall, as one that has used many solutions in the past from ICY DOCK, I am quite happy with how well these cages are put together. Top to bottom the construction in both materials and workmanship is great, the functionality is flawless, and the added benefit of a SAS/SATA connection is welcomed.

 

 

 

Tyler's Test System Specifications

 

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance85%
Quality including Design and Build92%
General Features90%
Bundle and Packaging84%
Value for Money86%
Overall TweakTown Rating87%

The Bottom Line: ICY DOCK is back with yet another remarkably solid set of drive cage solutions. Both the MB491SKL and MB492SKL are rugged high performance solutions that support both SAS and SATA internally allowing flexibility for the consumer.

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