The Bottom LineICY DOCK's ToughArmor is a solid solution that encompasses durability and enables a tremendous amount of storage capacity in a small package.
Drive cages are unique solutions that allow users to install multiple hard drive or SSDs into a single chassis case bay. ICY DOCK has been producing these solutions for many years and in taking things to the next level have launched the latest in the Tough Armor series.
The latest in ToughArmor solutions is the MB998SP which features an incredible eight bays of storage capabilities. It can house either solid state or hard drives with a maximum height of 7mm and utilizes ICY DOCK's unique "EZ-Slide Nano trays" that ease in swapping drives. Putting this solution in the ToughArmor family, the MB998SP features a heavy duty metal housing designed for medical and military deployments in addition to industrial settings.
As with many drive cage systems, the ToughArmor is designed to fit in a standard 5.25" bay and include anti-vibration mounting, along with EMI grounding allowing a more stable environment for any drives used. MSRP of the ICY DOCK ToughArmor is listed at $129.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging for the ToughArmor is the standard brown box we have seen with many ICY DOCK solutions. In the middle of the box, we have a sketch of the drive cage, while features are listed in the bottom left.
Scope of delivery includes drive screws, the cage, and manual.
The front of the ToughArmor stacks four bays on each side of a metal housing. Each tray has its own LED for drive activity.
The backside of the cage houses dual 40mm fans that both cool internally mounted drives and are smart in the way that they are only enabled if drives are installed. In addition, you can see each drive tray has its own SATA connection, while only two power connections are used across eight drives.
Seen above, we have what ICY DOCK is calling its EZ Slide Nano trays.
To start off testing, we first set up our Intel 730 SSD in a direct SATA connection to our motherboard. Sequential read and write came in at 487 MB/s and 503 MB/s respectively, while large block random touched 436 MB/s read and 502 MB/s write.
Moving our Intel 730 over to the ToughArmor drive cage (in fact, a slight improvement), we found no loss in performance with sequential read touching 490 MB/s and sequential write coming in at 504 MB/s.
The ICY DOCK ToughArmor is more than a standard drive cage solution as it encompasses the next level in both storage dense applications and durability. The build quality is second to none thanks to its full metal construction and the addition of the EZ Slide trays make swapping drives simple along with aiding in cooling with three sides of the drive exposed to cooling airflow.
Performance of the ICY DOCK ToughArmor was solid as we lost no performance moving from a direct connection to the backplane connection of the drive cage. As far as pricing is concerned, the ToughArmor eight bay solution carries an MSRP of $129.99 and in looking for similar solutions, we were unable to find anything that can fit eight drives into a single 5.25" bay cage.
|Quality including Design and Build||91%|
|Bundle and Packaging||81%|
|Value for Money||85%|
The Bottom Line: ICY DOCK's ToughArmor is a solid solution that encompasses durability and enables a tremendous amount of storage capacity in a small package.
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