IcyDock makes a wide range of drive adapters and storage products to fill an assortment of needs. We’ve reviewed a number of their products over the years and have seen consistently impressive devices from IcyDock. The latest of their products to cross our review bench is the IcyDock FlexCage (MB973SP-2B) which fits three 3.5″ drives into a pair of 5.25″ drive bays along with a pair of USB 3.0 connections. The FlexCage comes with support for SATA 6.0Gbps drives and its tray-less design provides for quick, tool-less drive swaps. Let’s take it out of the box and have a look!
My review unit arrived in full retail packaging which has a grey and white colour scheme and a matte finish. The front of the box features a hero shot of the FlexCage with one drive partially removed and gives a good sense of what the product does. At the top of the front panel the FlexCage name and model number feature above the hero photo along with the description: Tray-Less 3 in 2 SATA Backplane Module. While I can’t think of a less technical description, that hero image would certainly be helpful in describing it to someone looking for it in a store. The rest of the front features icons of the features of the FlexCage, including the same typo in “Anti-Vibration” that I noticed in my IcyDock IcyCube unboxing. Instead of using IcyDock’s EZ-Trays, the FlexCage is tray-less as indicated in the bottom left corner.
On the right side of the box, there is a photo of the front of the unit which highlights the power button/status lights and the USB 3.0 port locations. The lower part of the panel is dedicated to the 3-position fan speed selection switch. The fan can operate in high, low, or smart cooling modes with the latter adjusting fan speed based on drive temperature.
The left side panel covers the features on the back of the FlexCage. There are dual Molex 4-pin power connectors, 3 SATA data connections, a 19-pin USB 3.0 internal header connections, and support for a 2-pin or 3-pin fan. The included 80mm fan is replaceable as it simply mounts to the chassis with two bolts. It connects via the 3-pin header though it only has 2 pins populated.
The back side of the box contains a short list of features at the top next to a photo depicting how the rear fan can be removed. IcyDock includes a detailed list of the specifications for the FlexCage in the bottom half of the panel. The list is quite detailed indeed, breaking out both power indicator and HDD access indicator into separate lines for example, which is nice to see as the level of detail is what a specs list should look like in my opinion.
Opening up the box, reveals the FlexCage wrapped in a plastic bag and suspended in between two pieces of LDPE foam. This is the same way that HP Enterprise ships the corporate servers I deal with in my day job and it results in a premium feel without being flashy. Needless to say the unit was in perfect condition. IcyDock also includes a pair of 15-pin SATA power to 4-pin Molex adapters, along with a user manual and 8 mounting screws. The power adapters are a nice inclusion as SATA to Molex is less common than the other way around, and I will need one of them to be able to install the FlexCage.
The exterior of the FlexCage is not much to look at as most of it will be inside the case when installed but the use of aluminum gives it a quality feeling and should help dissipate heat when installed. The plastic on the front matches perfectly with the front of my HP Z400 workstation but seemed a little too matte when installed in a more gaming-oriented Cooler Master CM690 case. The plastic has a finish to it that should be fairly durable and won’t attract fingerprints which is ideal for something that is designed to swap drives frequently.
The only cable connected to the FlexCage out of the box is the USB 3.0 header cable, which is actually 2 cables until they join at the plug. The cable is about 45cm long (18″) so it should be able to reach the motherboard header in all but the largest computer cases.
IcyDock has put together what seems like a solid piece of kit on first impression, check back soon for a full review to see how it stands up. The IcyDock FlexCage is available from NewEgg.com for $105.99.