It is a common issue for power users; how do you fit your new solid state drive that uses the notebook standard 2.5 inch form factor into your desktop that was designed to accept 3.5 inch drives? Many users have taken to just laying their drive at the bottom of their case, but that makes moving your system around dangerous and it really doesn't look very good.
I set out to find the best adapter available, but it needed to fit a certain set of criteria that would make it appealing for wide spread adaption for our readers. There have been an increasing number of these products brought to market in the last few months; some of them cheap, others bulky and others just looked like they would be a pain in the butt to use. My goal was to find a product that was low cost, easy to use and bring more features to the table than just a U shaped piece of aluminum can provide.
My search ended when ICY DOCK released their MB990SP-B 2.5" to 3.5" SATA / IDE SSD & HDD Bracket. Today we are going to take a look at this must-have product that will not only allow you to easily install your new SSD into your desktop, but it will let you install two drives, all without turning a single screw.
Let's have a look at the specs and pricing.
Specifications, Pricing and AvailabilitySpecifications, Pricing and Availability
As you can imagine, there is not a lot to look at when it comes to the specifications of a plastic bracket. Specs aside, I think you will be quite interested once we get into the inner workings of the MB990SP-B and see how everything works.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the ICY DOCK MB990SP-B already listed and available at Newegg by the time my sample arrived. The product was recently announced and sometimes these things tend to take longer than expected to hit our shores. Newegg lists the MB990SP-B adapter for 19.99, but it is far from being the cheapest bracket on the market. That said, it is so far the coolest I have seen and the easiest to work with.
Let's take a look at the packaging and show you what you get.
The PackagingThe Packaging
ICY DOCK put together a really nice and informative package for the MB990SP-B adapter. On the front we see all of the products important buzzwords and a nice image of the actual product.
On the back we found a full list of specifications and a Multi-language description to what the adapter does.
The top of the package shows the adapter in use.
Additional features are listed on the side.
You can pretty much use the box as an install manual.
A few more features are listed on the bottom.
Finally, we have the inner packaging. The adapter is made from ABS plastic so it is fairly robust and doesn't need much protection. In the first image on this page you can clearly see how the box was damaged in shipping and on the next page you will see that the sample survived.
The ICY DOCK MB990SP-B AdapterThe ICY DOCK MB990SP-B Adapter
At the front of the unit we see the door that acts as a latching mechanism to keep your drives secure in the adapter.
A quick but firm press on a tab located on the side will unlatch the door and you can slide your drives in. You can mount them right side up or upside down.
On the side of the adapter you will find a set of studs, but before you start thinking that you have to screw the adapter in your desktop, just wait for the testing page.
There is not much going on with the back of the adapter. On each side and down the middle there are pieces of plastic that keep your drives secure in the adapter.
A look from the top and we can better see the tabs at the back the keep your drives secure. In this shot you can also see a set of springs at the top and bottom. On the next page I will show you what that is all about.
ICY DOCK includes a well thought out manual and four screws that you don't really need unless you want to secure the drive with them, but you will not need them for installation in nearly all systems.
The Adapter in ActionThe Adapter in Action
As you might imagine, there isn't much I can do to benchmark the ICY DOCK MB990SP-B dual 2.5" to 3.5" adapter. I guess I could have taken several products and got out the stop watch to test how long it would take me to install the adapter in a computer. Given that I am the reining SYX PC Race for Charity Champion, those scores might be a little misleading, too.
Here we see the adapter with a standard 2.5" SSD installed. This is pretty much as standard as it gets. The drive is 9 mm tall.
The 2.5" standard is a little misleading. First of all, the drive is not really 2.5 inches wide and there are several heights of drives. On the left we see an Intel SSD that is 7mm tall. We are going to start seeing more 7mm drives in both SSD and platter designs. Seagate released a 7mm platter drive designed for the low cost netbook market at CES 2010.
Many enterprise class drives are either 12 or 15mm tall. On the right is a 15mm height drive from Seagate. The current 300GB Western Digital Raptor is also a 15mm tall drive and many enthusiasts and power users have a few of these sitting around. The ICY DOCK MB990SP-B dual 2.5" to 3.5" adapter WILL NOT accept these drives. If you are using these drives in your desktop then I am sure you will be able to mod the adapter to accept this standard, but out of the box the 12 and 15mm height is not supported.
In the middle we see the standard 9mm height drive that dominates the market, be it platter or solid state. Nearly all notebooks use 9mm drives and that is why we see nearly all SSDs follow this model.
Here we see the 7mm height Intel SSD in the adapter and the fit is secure and snug. With the drive installed I couldn't shake the adapter and hear the SSD jiggling around. At the top you can see how the metal strip pressed in the adapter.
Adapter InstallationAdapter Installation
Here we get a close up look at the studs that are in the adapter. These can be removed and you can screw the adapter into your 3.5" drive bay. This is where the innovation comes in and why I really like this product.
Remember those springs we mentioned a few pages back? It is time to put those into action.
On the back of the adapter there are two places to squeeze the adapter together and that changes the location of the studs. With the studs pulled back the adapter slides into a 3.5" form factor HDD bay without effort. This is a very cool feature and the one that sold me on the adapter.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
Until we start to see more desktop PC cases like the Corsair Obsidian 800D that supports 2.5" drives out of the box, enthusiasts and power users looking to use SSDs in their desktops are going to need adapters. As we mentioned in the introduction, there are several adapters already on the market and that list is destined to grow every month. Some of these are very cheap and hold a single drive, but are a pain in the butt to install in most cases. On the enterprise side of things you can buy adapters that hold up to eight drives and take up a few 5.25" CD-ROM bays, but these are expensive and overkill for most users.
The ICY DOCK MB990SP-B sites in the sweet spot that will allow you to install up to two SSDs in your system with little effort and is cheap enough to make it a true accessory that fits the definition perfectly. With Intel's latest RST 9.6 driver release more users will feel comfortable using two drives in RAID 0 and the performance is amazing when doing this. The new driver adds RAID TRIM support so you will not see a significant slowdown in performance over time, making RAID 0 SSDs the next must have tech for enthusiasts. The ICY DOCK MB990SP-B gives you that option since it can hold two drives.
At 19.99 USD from Newegg the ICY DOCK MB990SP-B does cost more than some of the other adapters on the market that has less features. Like everything else in life, though, you get what you pay for. Even at a slight premium this price point is still acceptable for anyone purchasing a solid state drive.
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