Tagan Technology sent over one of their ICYBOX external enclosures for us to test. This enclosure is built for SATA 2.5" disk drives and has a few extra features that we have not seen in the past in other models. Not only is it small, sleek, and portable, it also comes with a docking station for your desktop.
The ICYBOX brand name has a lot of different versions ranging from the 3.5" enclosures down to 2.5" enclosures. The 266 series is the one we are looking at today. Some of the others are featured in the colorful displays on their box shown below.
- For 2.5" SATA HDD
- Aluminum / Plastic
- IB-266StUSD: Incl. docking station
- Data transfer up to 3 Gbts/s
- Supports: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, OS 9.1
- Hot swappable
- USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 backwards compatible)
- USB bus powered - No power supply is necessary
All of the extra features and information are listed on the sides of the box.
The main enclosure is made of black brushed aluminum. The ICYBOX name is on the front with a dark tinted plastic cover. The power indicator and read/write led are blue and hidden behind the plastic.
The docking station come with the power and an attached SATA data cable all containted in a 3.5" drive bay. I will be connecting it to the Mozart Multimedia case I looked at last year.
On the side you can see a spring that helps push the drive out when you eject the drive from the docking station.
Since you need to be able to use the drive when it is not in the docking station they have include (Left to right): USB power, eSATA data cable, and USB data cable. The USB power cable is used with the eSATA, and if your USB power output is not enough you can plug the power into the base of the USB data cable to give it an extra push.
A few other things that come in the box with the enclosure are a black case, USB drivers, and instructions.
The drive that that will be installed into the enclosure is the Seagate Momentus 5400.2 80 gigabytes.
The bottom of the enclosure have four screws that come out so you can install your drive. The baggy of screws for the docking station is inside of the enclosure so they donít get lost.
The drive slides into the docking station with very little effort. Just make sure to push it back in all of the way so the SATA and power connectors lines up the with backside of the enclosure.
When you eject the drive you just need to push it in a little bit to release the lock and it slides out enough for you to grab.
Comparing it to another one of my enclosures, the ICYBOX bay is close to the same size. There's also some extra room for air flow across the top of the ICYBOX.
Once installed and powered on, the enclosure sits snug in the drive bay. You can see in the below picture, it is in the only external 3.5" slot on the Mozart Tx case.
With the drive formatted and named to the enclosure, we can identify it quickly in our tests. I will be testing with Sandra SiSoftware under both Windows XP & Vista.
The above properties are from the XP side of things and below is Vista.
I ran it with the enclosure and docking station for the SATA. The USB was connected to two of the ports from the front of the case (I did need the extra power cable). All of the benchmarks were very close except one.
With the hot swappable ability of the drive, I would still use USB over SATA, as not all motherboards support SATA hot swappable. The motherboard I used only supported it when connected to the eSATA port. Plus USB has been doing it for a lot longer and SATA is still considered a young technology.
Over all the enclosure preformed very well and comes standard with features that make it stand out. The docking station is the first one we have come across and works well. It never got stuck or did not lock during our testing. It is small and portable and didn't need an external power brick to lug around. The SATA cable was long enough to almost fit in the bottom SATA port on my motherboard. The package comes with everything you need to accept the hard drive to use in any configuration.
We have to thank Tagan Technology for sending over this sample!