The Icy Box 4-Bay USB 3 arrived today.
It doesn’t come across as totally “cheap”, although - perhaps I just haven’t spent much time with expensive toys… Inside the box there are some rails to slide the drives in, but first you attach a plastic handle to the front end of each drive using its existing mounting holes. The handle has some felt pads that then press up against the “gate” which secures the drives into position with some spring-loaded clips, so the drives can’t just fall out of the enclosure if you held it the wrong way.
Certainly, the front door itself wouldn’t stop the drives from falling, as it is secured only with a small magnet. Magnet… magnetic hard drives… Does that make sense? In my search, I’ve seen other JBOD boxes that also use magnets in their doors, so I’m presuming it’s safe!
I’ve installed the 3 x 3.5" drives that were inside my Mac Pro. (Looking now for a 5.25" optical drive enclosure, and will eventually mount my MacPro’s SSD in the 2012 MacMini’s lower bay.) I have another 2 drives I want to add, but it’s a 4-bay box, so I’ll have to sort my data around a bit first. Ultimately I will have 2 x 4TB and 2 x 2TB drives in this box, at least until I need more space…
The box itself is currently sitting behind my main screen, and whilst it is not as noisy as the old Firewire box… and it’s probably quieter than the Mac Pro… for a brief time this evening I was sitting in a silent office with just the Mac mini running, its fan barely noticable. The Icy Box in contrast is a definite presence in the room. I want to say… “air vent”.
Now - for performance…
I’ve just been doing some reading on this… as I thought I was going a little crazy.
Solid State drives - data exports at approx 200MB/s
7200rpm drives - approx 150MB/s.
5400rpm drives - slower, around 50MB/s.
USB3 offers speed up to 680MB/s.
So - when I used BlackMagic to test all 3 of the rpm drives - they clocked in at the abovementioned speeds expected for their drive rpm’s. There was no throttling. That is good! But - it made me wonder USB3? It’s a box designed for 3.5" drives that max at (approx) 150MB/s - that’s an overkill. Even if I slipped a 2.5" SSD inside, it should hopefully still read at its full capacity of 200MB/s.
In contrast however - I have a 7200rpm drive in the Firewire 800 box. It is only capable of 80MB/s - which means I’m not making use of the drive’s full potential until I move it to the Icy Box.
Real Life Test - Plex
I checked out Plex on my Xbox in the living room - running now from the Mac mini and Icy Box, instead of the Mac Pro alone. I can’t say I noticed any dropped frames except on a full HD file, and from memory, my setup just wasn’t handling full HD anyway. So - that’s a PASS for Plex.
Sorry @avolve , stole your thread!
For $210, so long as it doesn’t get too hot and damage my drives… and so long as it lasts me a good few years… I’ll be happy with this Icy Box as a replacement for the 2Bay Firewire 800 enclosure / MacPro.
(Feel free to correct me on any/all assumptions I’ve made above!)
And as an aside… I now have filled the IcyBox with 4 spinners, and now have an empty Firewire 800 2-bay enclosure. I was using it (aside from disks) as a bridge between my VCR / Camcorder / MacPro (Camcorder is FW400, and it has a FW400 port on the back - I couldn’t find a FW400 to FW800 cable that actually worked). May have to keep it for that purpose… if/when I resume archiving VHS recordings from the 90’s…