When an industry gets to the point where there are countless models of any given product available, its only natural for consumers to look for those that have a certain appearance, are easier to install and carry around, include extra accessories, and have a certain speed. Icy Dock has sent us their latest contender in the 2.5" external hard drive battle, the MB668US-1SB, to see how it performs in the areas detailed above.
Review Sample Provided by: Icy Dock
Review by: Adam
Pictures by: Adam
The MB668US-1SB is packaged in a box that breaks away from its unoriginal name, sporting a clean white facade around the sides and half the top a clear, plastic window allowing you to see the actual external itself. Opening the box you'll find the external resting in an orange cardboard bay that removes from the original container, revealing the leather carrying case, manual, software and cords. The MB668US-1SB comes with an eSATA cable, a 2.0 mini-USB transfer cord, and a DC5V power cable to USB.
1 x 2.5" SATA I & II HDD / SSD (9.5mm thickness)
eSATA & USB 2.0
Up to 3 Gb/Sec. via eSATA
Up to 480 Mb/Sec. via USB 2.0
Device Power: Orange LED
Drive Activity: Blue LED
Aluminum body w/ partial plastic
Aluminum heat dispersion
USB Bus Power
5V DC (Optional)
OTB (One Touch Back Up)
PC Only (Window Base)
eSATA & USB 2.0 Connection
Mac & PC
Dimension (W x H x D)
76.3 x 13 x 150 mm
The actual drive installation is very simple: pull the release latch on the underside of the external to dislodge its front, separating the I/O panel and SATA input from the rest of the shell. Just plug in your 2.5" hard drive and slip it back in, the latch will catch and re-lock on its own. Icy Dock has done an excellent job designing the MB668US-1SB with a toolless installation without complicating installation with switches and gadgets. Empty, the external is very light, constructed of approx. 1/16" thin aluminum around the shell. The front end is the heaviest piece, consisting of all the electrical work and sporting a metal face-plate and connections, but even so its no burden to carry. The weight with the drive installed will vary, but its hard to imagine a hard drive weighing enough to put any effort into transporting the external, which is, of course, the point.
Connecting the drive to your computer can be achieved one of two methods: through eSATA or through USB2.0. Regardless of the route you choose, you're still going to need to use one USB port for the DC power, and in some cases (depending on the size and speed of your drive), you will need to use all three to get enough power for the drive to be detected. This, however, is the nature of the beast when it comes to dealing with a bus powered device.
The included software disc contains the one-touch data back up installer program, as well as the manual. In order to take advantage of the OTB function, you're going to have to partition your drive, which means you'll either have a fresh drive or lose some data in the format. Installing the program, PC Clone EX, takes minutes and only 14.7Mb of hard drive space. From here you'll be able to back up data with the push of a button on the external itself to help ease your mind of data loss.
When you power this external on, you'll see the trademark power square light on the left line of the 'D' of Icy Dock flip orange, and during activity will sport a blue LED. The MB668US-1SB also sports a blue LED undercarriage light that glows through grating to give it a nice lighting effect while it runs. Since the drive docking head is made mostly of a plastic encapsulating the actual hardware and a thin aluminum body with no absorbers of any kind, any sort of hum or other noise from the drive will find its way through as well as any vibrations the hard drive may cause. Keep in mind too that the only drive cooling featured is aluminum heat dispersion, so extended use may present you with some overheating problems. However, it is important to remember that Icy Dock has designed the MB668US-1SB for portability and affordability, both which would suffer would anti-vibration and additional cooling options be included.
So we put the external to the test, using HD Tune Pro as a measure to benchmark and monitor the performance of the drive through the MB668US-1SB.
As you can see, HD Tune Pro recorded an average transfer rate of 51.6MB per second, or 412.8Mb/sec, with an access time of 17.2 milliseconds. The drive through the MB668US-1SB also achieved a burst rate, or 710.4Mb per second. Additional tests show more detailed results through file benchmarking and random access times.
External hard drive enclosures don't have much room to exceed one another in data performance, but there are other qualities that allow for some to stand out from others. Especially in an economy such as ours, getting the most out of your dollar is important as well. The MB668US-1SB does a great job performing just as it should, though additional features such as shock absorbants and coolants are absent. However, Icy Dock as opted to design this external for simplicity, practicality, and affordability, and in each area performs exceedingly well. The MB668US-1SB is light-weight, portable external that compliments traveling with any hard drive, and the leather carrying sleeve completes the package.
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