ICY DOCK ExpressCage MB322SP-B Review

AN EXCELLENT AFFORDABLE SOLUTION FOR ADDING ADDITIONAL DRIVES

The MB322SP-B Dual 2.5″ HDD Mobile Rack gives you the ability to add 2X 2.5″ Hard Drives and a 3.5″ device of your choice into a single 5.25″ bay within your desktop’s case.  I have reviewed some products from ICY DOCK’s enterprise line of devices in the past and they provided exceptional performance and quality but at a steep enterprise price.  This drive bay is from their ExpressCage line of products which is their consumer orientated division.  The MB322SP is just over $25 and I was curious to see if they cut any corners to get this device down to a consumer friendly price.

Upon unboxing the drive bay I was surprised to find that the outer casing was actually composed of steel.  The rest of its body was made out of sturdy ABS plastic which contributed to the fact that it was on the lighter side but at the same time its overall structural integrity was ridged.  When I attempted to flex the enclosure with my hands it yielded very little give.

ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (10) ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (9) ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (1)

The front panel has a faux brushed metal appearance (it is actually plastic) which is aesthetically pleasing in my opinion and should match the look of most modern PC cases.  The 3.5″ bay panel can be removed if you intend to install a media device such as a card reader or it can be left in, or snapped back into place, if you want to install a 3.5″ hard drive or similar.  The bay is passively cooled, it has venting for airflow on the front of the drive caddies and top and bottom of the enclosure.  On the back you can find a single SATA power connector and 2X SATA data ports, one accounting for each 2.5″ drive caddy.   The sides are nearly bare, there are only a few screw holes for the installation of the bay into a PC and the installation of a 3.5″ device into the bay.

ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (6)

Removing a drive caddy from the drive bay takes only a few seconds.  Just press down on the release button, grab the arm, and pull it out.  Installing a 2.5″ drive into a caddy took me under a minute.  All I had to do was align the two front screw holes on my SSD with the posts on the drive caddy, drop it down, and insert two screws into the other screw holes.  The bay can accommodate 2.5″ drives up to 9.5mm in thickness meaning it is compatible with most 2.5″ SATA drives.

ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (2)

ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (12)

I did find installing a 3.5″ hard drive into the bottom section of the bay to be a bit difficult.  In order to get the screw holes to align properly I had to flip the drive rack on its side and awkwardly hold the HDD in place.  While attempting to secure the drive with the included screws I became highly frustrated because the screws kept falling out of place into the deep screw hole cutouts.  I was eventually successful and the drive was securely fitted within the 3.5″ cutout.

ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (5) ICY DOCK MB322SP-B (7)

Installation of the ExpressCage mobile rack into a drive bay is the same process as installing any other 5.25″ device.  Slide it into your desired bay, secure it in place with the included screws, and plug in the SATA connectors, it’s that easy.

While benchmarking the drive I noticed that the bay SATA interface caused no notable speed reductions vs. when my ADATA SP550 SSD was directly hooked up to my motherboard’s SATA ports.

Direct connection vs. through drive bay interface
Direct connection vs. through drive bay interface

Internal temperatures of my drive did not benefit nor suffer from being inside the drive bay.  They were exactly the same as when I tested the drive outside of the bay.  However,  external temperatures did see some improvement when the drive was inside the bay as my IR thermometer recorded the external temp as a few degrees cooler.

External case temperatures did not exceed 34C
External case temperatures did not exceed 34C

During the review I noticed that the blue LED indication lights present on each drive caddy were not blinking when the drive was being written to or read from.  In my video review I just assumed that this was how it was supposed to be but after sending a few emails back and forth with the ICY DOCK tech team I realized that this was not the case.  After some additional testing I realized that my SSD was the root of the problem, when I tested the bay using a traditional HDD the indication lights blinked on and off to indicate drive access.  Apparently the LED access indication lights will not work properly with some SSD’s so just keep this in mind.

This is a great solution if the inside of your desktop is tight on space and you are looking to add some additional hard drives / 3.5″ devices.  Ease of use is top notch and the price to quality ratio is excellent.


Just a note:

I talked about this a little in the video, but if you use the ExpressCage MB322SP-B in conjunction with one of ICY DOCK’s 2.5″ hard drive adapters (linked below) you can have a device that fits 4X 2.5″ drives into a single 5.25″ bay for under $35.

 


CHECK OUT THE VIDEO REVIEW BELOW FOR MORE

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