Review: ICY DOCK ToughArmor EX MB492SKL-B 2.5″ Drive Enclosure

The ICY DOCK ToughArmor EX MB492SKL-B is a two-bay, full-metal drive enclosure for 2.5″ hard drives and SSDs. We’ve reviewed a variety of ICY DOCK’s enclosures over the last few years, although it’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at their range. That’s set to change over the coming weeks, as we review some of the latest products in the company’s range.

My personal history with ICY DOCK goes back some way. I previously used the ICY DOCK 3 Bay EZ-Tray Backplane Cage for a server build back in 2008. It was based on Microsoft’s Windows Home Server v1 and the Silverstone Sugo SG02B-F chassis.

The cage design allowed for three 3.5″ hard dives to fit into the Sugo’s two 5.25″ drive bays and they were easily removable in the event of a drive failure – which actually happened twice over the four years the system was online.

When I upgraded to Windows Home Server 2011, I also decided to upgrade the hardware to a HP Proliant MicroServer N40L with a HP P410i Smart Array Controller (which at the time, cost more than the server) as Microsoft had removed Drive Extender. I configured the four 2 TB data disks in the N40L’s cage as RAID 5 and the operating system disk as RAID 1 and located the two 250 GB 3.5″ RAID 1 disks in the area reserved for the CD ROM drive by fitting them to a Nexus Double Twin adapter. This configuration served me well for the last four years, but I wanted to increase the performance of the operating system as it was a little sluggish.

I had a spare 2.5″ 120 GB SSD from a PC upgrade project, so I purchased a second  allowing me to utilize the two drives in a RAID 1 configuration. After cloning the OS to the new SSD, the system was powered down ready for the hardware modification and installation of the Icy Dock ToughArmor EX MB492SKL-B dual bay 2.5” mobile rack which I had chosen to house the two SSDs.

Let’s take a closer look at that ICY DOCK rack.

What’s in the Box?

The box appears to be made of recycled cardboard with a drawing of the rack on one side and the specifications on the underside. One of the sides shows a quick guide on how to install the rack. A corner was slightly creased, but nothing inside was damaged – living up to its name of being tough.

Removing the contents reveals the rack, user manual and a bag containing two keys, four M3*4 screws, four M3*4 flat head screws and eight drive ID plugs.

Specifications

  • 2 x 22pin SATA (Supports SAS single channel) device interface
  • Supports 2 x 2.5″ SAS/SATA HDD/SSD drives
  • Compatible drive heights are 7mm to 9.5mm
  • 2 x 7 pin SATA host interface
  • Fits 3.5″ front device bay (floppy bay) and 5.25″ device bay with a suitable adapter
  • Power input from single 15pin SATA power port
  • Full metal structure
  • Fanless cooling
  • LED power and drive access indicator
  • 2 segment key lock and thumb screw lock for each slot

First Look

The first thing you notice is the build quality and the reassurance of a full-metal enclosure – it’s not going to fall apart in your hand. The enclosure is about the size of a 3.5″ floppy disk drive (remember them?) at 4 x 1 x 5.5 in (101.2 x 25.4 x 138 mm) and weighs 4.5 oz (407.5g). I particularly like that it only requires one SATA power connection and all connectors are clearly marked. The underside and top have ventilation holes to allow cooling.

Each drive is secured by thumbscrews, which hold the 2.5″ SSD drive trays in place. Each drive bay is also lockable, courtesy of the two keys provided with the device. That’ll ensure your data remains physically secure when the enclosure is fitted to your server.

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