ICYDOCK has been designing and producing storage solutions for two decades, their line-up includes everything from docking stations to enclosures and even drive cages. In the past few years, we have looked at many solutions from ICYDOCK and today that continues with the ExpressCage line of drive cages.
Drive cages allow users to install multiples of drives into a single chassis bay, depending on how many drives you need ICYDOCK produces cages from as small as two bay solutions all the way up to eight bay with active cooling. The two and four bay cages we have in the lab today are from the ExpressCage line-up and feature both SATA and SAS connectivity with anti vibration mounting and easy access via the front. Compatibility extends to systems with available 5.25" drive bays and internal SATA connections.
MSRP of the ICYDOCK ExpressCage in two and four bay configuration is listed at $34.99 for the two bay and $44.99 for the four bay. Both feature a three-year warranty.
Packaging for the ExpressCage features a brown box with information across the bottom, a image of the cage is centered while the model number is at the bottom right.
Scope of delivery for each of the cages includes a manual and drive screws.
Looking a bit closer the Express cage is predominantly made of plastic, each tray houses a LED to denote activity, while the bottom of the housing is labelled to denote drive numbers.
The two bay ExpressCage houses an additional place for a 3.5" drive down below.
Switching to the back of the enclosure, we find a single SATA power connection supporting all four bays, while the data is configured through a pass-through configuration.
Above, we have a prerequisite test of our Intel 730 SSD with a straight connection to SATA III. As you can see, our drive is capable of 487 MB/s read and 503 MB/s write.
Moving our Intel drive over to the ICYDOCK ExpressCage, we found performance to be spot on. We still were able to achieve 486 MB/s read and 503 MB/s write.
Drive cages are solutions that enable us to install a massive amount of drives into our chassis. Both the two and four bay solutions seen here today are unique in that they lessen the clutter when building your own system as you no longer need a power cable for each drive. Build quality is good, with a large majority of the enclosures made out of plastic. The drive trays, while they work quite well, could use some refining, as they don't slide the greatest into the enclosure. The rear mounted cooling fan does pull a good amount of air through the enclosure, but at the same time gives the overall package an unfinished look; it would be nice to have it enclosed internally.
Performance was as expected, on par with our direct connection. We achieved 486 MB/s read and 503 MB/s write both installed in the ExpressCage and directly attached to our system. Overall, while the ExpressCage solutions do have some minor flaws, they do fit well in a chassis, remove clutter when building, and carry a good MSRP.
|Quality including Design and Build||75%|
|Bundle and Packaging||85%|
|Value for Money||84%|
The Bottom Line: The ExpressCage solutions from ICYDOCK are perfect for the system builder that wants to add a good amount of drives to a build, however, I would note that the rear fan does protrude slightly, so I'd make sure you have the space required.
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