Icy Dock 2.5-inch Hard Drive Converters

The 3.5” hard drive has been in use for many years.  It has been a standard size for desktops, network storage and enterprise use.   In recent years, 2.5” hard drives have become popular due to increases in performance and storage capacity.  Additionally, Solid State Drives are quickly becoming the standard.  The problem is that in order to use one of the new 2.5” hard drives, you either have to modify your existing hardware, or buy new equipment.   For some, this can be a very costly update.  Icy Dock has a lower priced solution in the form of 2.5” to 3.5” hard drive converters.  A 2.5” hard drive can be installed, making it the same size as a 3.5” hard drive with a standard SATA interface.  These converters can be found starting at around $26.00 for the entry level converter and up to $34.99 for the enterprise class SAS compatible converter.

both-boxes

Using the enterprise version as an example, Icy Dock has a great picture showing how the MB982IP-1S-1 matches up to a standard hard drive.  Here they attempt to show the size and that their enclosure has the same screw holes as a standard 3.5” drive.

vendorgraphics

 

Icy Dock 2.5” to 3.5” Hard Drive Converter Features:

 

MB882SP-1S-1B

MB982IP-1S-1

Color

Black

Silver

Compatibility

SATA & SSD (7mm to 9.5mm)

SATA, SAS or SSD (7mm to 15mm)

Device Interface

SATA 6Gbp

SAS 6Gbps

Material

Plastic and Stainless Steel

Metal

Dimension (L x W x H)

5.77” x 4.0” x 1.0”

5.77” x 4.0” x 1.0”

Weight

0.43lbs

0.72lbs

 

There are two main versions of the Icy Dock 2.5” to 3.5” hard drive converters, each designed with slightly different target uses, however they can both be used in virtually any situation, providing the hard drive is compatible.

both-converters

The consumer and small business version is the MB882SP (right converter) line, is mostly made out of plastic and is compatible with SATA drives only, while the MB982IP (left converter) line targets the enterprise this line includes SAS connectivity and is made out of metal.

Icy Dock MB882SP-1S-1B

The first 2.5” to 3.5” hard drive converter that we will be looking at is the MB882SP-1S.  There are two versions of the MB882SP-1S, the review sample we received is the MB882SP-1S-1B.  When comparing the 1B and the 2B version, the only difference I can see is that the enclosure cover on the 2B is removable, while the 1B it is hinged and stays attached to the enclosure.

MB882SP_box_front

The MB882SP-1B-1S comes in a retail box that presents a very brief overview of the converter.

MB882SP_box_back

If you happen to find this in a retail setting, the back of the box provides slightly more information.  Not much is needed on the packaging as the name of the product tells us almost everything we need to know.

MB882SP_manual

The accessories bundled with the enclosure is very basic.  Icy Dock provides a very short one page user manual, and four tiny screws.

MB882SP_packaging

As there isn’t much to the converter, Icy Dock has kept packaging down by placing the enclosure inside of a plastic bag and putting it inside the box.  No other packaging is necessary to be honest.

MB882SP_top_converter

The entire converter is made out of plastic, and isn’t meant to be fancy.  The top of the MB882SP-1S-1B has two places to use as grips for your fingers as the lid slides down before being raised so the hard drive can be inserted into the enclosure.

MB882SP_bottom_converter

A quick view of the bottom presents a glimpse of a label providing model, serial number and a few other notifications.  Here there are four screw holes, reinforced by metal so they are much tougher to strip.  Here we can also see the SATA connections.

MB882SP_connections

Along one of the edges is the standard SATA connections, providing both data and power.  In addition, there are air vents to allow some airflow through the enclosure to help keep the drive cool.  This is a passive cooling method, the addition of a fan would increase the size of the enclosure.

MB882SP_inside_lid

On the MB882SP-1S-1B the lid is on a hinge to be raised up, where the 2B version the lid can be removed.  Both lids have a small hard drive retaining spring to keep the drive secure within the enclosure

MB882SP_inside_connections

In the base of the converter is a tray for the hard drive, it is tool-less, so just place the drive in place, and when the lid is closed, it will make the data connection automatically.  Likewise, when the lid is opened, it will remove the drive from the SATA data connections. 

MB882SP_installation

Please note that this particular converter was designed to fully support any standard 2.5" SATA 9.5mm height SSDs or HDDs. For 2.5" drives that are 7mm in height (e.g Samsung 830 SSD), the tool-less drive load may not work properly. Performing a manual install into the device is an alternative method to provide better compatibility. Please see the installation video below for more information.

Icy Dock MB982IP-1S-1

Next, we have the MB982IP-1S-1.  This is the more advanced version of the 2.5” to 3.5” hard drive converters that Icy Dock offers.  Like the MB882SP-1S series, there are multiple versions of the MB982IP-1S line.  The MB982SP-1S is the closest match to the MB882SP-1S series as it supports SATA and SSD drives.  The MB982IP-1S-1 has added bonus of supporting SAS drives.  Finally, a third version of the MB982IP-1S line includes the ability to install two SATA or SSD and put them into a RAID (0, 1, BIG and Port Multiplier) configuration. Icy Dock sent the MB982IP-1S-1 model.

MB982IP_box_front

The box for the MB982IP-1S-1 is similar to the box for the MB882SP-1S-1, however this one is mostly a silver color.  The front once again provides a very brief overview of the converter.

MB982IP_box_back

The back of the box provides a little more information, but still not very much information.  The key specifications are listed, along with a few of the features.

MB982IP_manual

As expected, Icy Dock includes a brief manual, which covers the installation process in six different languages.  In addition, a little bag containing four tiny screws is included which I found no use for the screws.

MB982IP_packaging

The MB982IP-1S-1 is protected in the box by a bubble wrap bag.  This provides more than enough protection for a metal enclosure.

MB982IP_top_converter

The top of the converter is a large door that pops up when opened.  On the door Icy Dock has their logo painted on, and down the middle of the lid are some exhaust vents to help with airflow.

MB982IP_bottom_converter

Nothing much on the bottom of the converter, a simple label which indicated the model number, serial number and some environmental information.  Along the edge there are four screw holes which correspond with the screw holes on a standard 3.5” drive. Near the data connections there are also some air vents for airflow.  Otherwise, the bottom of the converter is plain.

MB982IP_data_connections

The MB982IP-1S-1 only has a SAS connection to be fully compatible with most SAS installations.  If you wish to use the MB982IP-1S-1 with a SATA connection, you will want to get the MB982IP-1S.  While the MB882SP line has a lid that slides off the MB982IP-1S line has a push button to pop the lid open.

MB982IP_inside_lid

The lid includes heavy duty retaining springs, which Icy Dock calls Smart Fit.  It allows the installation of SAS or SATA hard drives ranging from 7mm to 15mm thick!  Between each of the Smart Fit springs are some air vents to allow some airflow inside the converter.

MB982IP_inside_base

Inside the base of the converter is plenty of room to insert the hard drive.  A feature of the MB982IP-1S line is a plastic drive lift.  If you are removing the hard drive from the converter, you can lift the plastic piece by a little tab, raising the hard drive out of the converter.

MB982IP_installed

Once a hard drive is placed in the converter, simply closing the lid will push the drive onto the SAS/SATA internal connection.  Also, as expected if you open the lid, the drive will be removed from the internal connection.

Test Setup

 

Before taking a look at how the converters perform, here is the test system used.  All testing was done on a clean install of Windows 8 Pro 64-bit.  All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other applications running.

The Intel Z77 system that was used to test the Icy Dock hard drive converters was running the Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard with the F11 BIOS from 09/03/2012, with the i5-3570K processor running slightly overclocked at 4.0GHz.  16GB of Kingston HyperX Blue memory was installed running using the XMP Profile 1, the default 1866MHz and 9-11-9-24 2T settings.

Intel LGA 1155 Test System

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel i5-3570K

Click Here

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH

Click Here

Memory

Kingston HyperX KHX1866C9D3K4 16GB

Click Here

OS Drive

Intel 520 180GB

Click Here

Power Supply

Lepa G650 MAS

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 8 Pro 64-Bit

Click Here

 

cpuz

Detailed CrystalDiskInfo Information

crystaldiskinfo

Installed in the converters will be a new Intel 520 series 180GB SSD.  It is running firmware 400i, TRIM is enabled and it is connected to the SATA 6Gbps controller.

Icy Dock Converter Test Results

Testing the Icy Dock 2.5” to 3.5” Hard Drive Converter

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2 x64

CrystalDiskMark is a well known benchmark for drives which allows for a standard benchmark of sequential and random read/write speeds in MB/s.  Allowing CrystalDiskMark to run 9 passes of the test provides a good view of the capabilities of the drive.

crystaldiskmark

Results:  When the Intel 520 180GB SSD is connected directly to the motherboard, it received nearly identical results from the test while the drive was in the converter.  This shows that there is no loss of performance using the converter.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO is another drive benchmark that is very common, here it measures the read and write speeds over a set amount of data.  Using the default transfer size of 0.5KB up to 8192KB with a total transfer length of 256MB, the results are as expected.

atto

Results:  The results are pretty standard, it shows the drive transfer speed picking up as the transfer size got larger.  It peaked at 519MBs write speed around the 256KB mark and 555MBs read speed nearing the end of the test.  No loss of performance was detected using the converter vs a direct connection.

AS SSD 1.6.4.4237.30508

AS-SSD is a newer benchmark designed specifically for testing SSD’s.  Like the other benchmarks it tests the read and write speed of the SSD.  While providing the results in MB/s, as well as the access time in MS.

as-ssd

Results:  Exactly as expected the Intel 520 180GB SSD performed identically whether the drive was in the converter or directly attached to the motherboard.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

both-boxes

If you have hardware that doesn’t support 2.5” hard drives and would like to step up to a SSD or one of the new hybrid 2.5” hard drives, you have a few choices.  One option is to get a bracket to install the 2.5” drive into a 3.5” drive bay.  However, that is often times not a good option, Icy Dock has shown us a better way to convert 2.5” drives into the 3.5” form factor.  Using either of their converter enclosures will allow you to use a 2.5” drive in a 3.5” drive bay, a NAS, server, external hard drive enclosure or virtually any device that uses 3.5” hard drives.

Icy Dock has taken into consideration almost every need, providing options from a simple SATA converter, an enterprise class SAS converter and event an enterprise class dual drive RAID enclosure.  My preference is the enterprise class enclosures as I think they are the nicest, due to the push button lid opener, the drive lift and the quality difference between a metal enclosure and a plastic one.  My recommendation is to spend a little more and get the MB982IP-1S model.

both-converters

When it came to performance, it was nice to see no performance impact in testing the MB882SP-1S-1B.  Unfortunately, my test system does not allow for testing a SAS drive, so given Icy Dock’s reputation, we will give them the benefit of the doubt that there is no performance impact when using the MB982IP-1S-1.

For some, replacing a case, NAS or other hardware in order to use 2.5” hard drives can be very expensive. Icy Dock has a solution that is very reasonable whether you need the low end MB882SP-1S-1B converter for around $26.00 online, or the higher end enterprise friendly model MB982IP-1S-1 for less than $35.00 each. Included in that price is a 3 year warranty, which will extend the life of older hardware.

 

Legit Bottom Line:  Icy Dock has a great solution for those wanting to use 2.5” SSD, SAS or Hybrid hard drives in existing hardware that only supports 3.5” hard drives.  Purchasing of these converters would be a cheaper solution than swapping out other hardware.  With no loss of performance, there is no reason you have to replace your hardware just to take advantage of the latest 2.5” hard drives.