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Date: December 8th, 2008
Article by: Jackie Mueller (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Icy Dock
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH



Moving around to the back, we have all the necessary ports for pairing the enclosure with a PC. The power switch is at the top with a grouping of one USB, two FireWire, and a power adapter port at the bottom.



Two foot stands are located at the bottom. These allow the enclosure to stand vertically on a desk, or if you prefer not to use the stands it works just as well resting on its side. To retract the stands, they are simply folded back inward until they are secure. Versatility like this is always a welcome feature.



Let's go back to the front of the enclosure for a moment. When the eject button is flipped up it releases the tray lever, and a gentle push (indicated by the sticker) opens up the top of the unit so a drive can be installed. This is a quick and easy way to swap out a drive without going through the hassle of unscrewing anything.

 

PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING



Most users won't have any trouble installing the drive but just in case, Icy Dock included a simple diagram inside the bay that shows the direction the drive goes in.



I have a 500 GB Western Digital HDD formatted and ready to use with the enclosure. Installation is simple and quick just insert the drive into the bay and close the top. It's now ready to be plugged in using your choice of USB or FireWire connections. No tools needed whatsoever.


Windows will automatically detect and install the drive once it is plugged in and powered up. I won't go into the details of that here since it is a very simple process.


For testing out transfer speeds, a large file was transferred to and from the enclosure and the times recorded. For an everyday comparison, I first transferred a 4.35GB file between two internal SATA hard drives in my Windows XP PC. It took 1 minute, 35 seconds. Let's see how that compares to transferring files to and from the enclosure first using USB 2.0, then using FireWire:


4.35GB File Transfer (USB 2.0)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Read from Enclosure

2:12

Write to Enclosure

2:18

 

4.35GB File Transfer (Firewire 400)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Read from Enclosure

1:53

Write to Enclousre

2:54



In theory, USB 2.0 transfer speeds are rated at 480Mbps but real world results are usually nowhere near that. This is due in part to other USB devices present on the same bus. They all have to share the same bandwidth; hence the resulting lower transfer speeds. Times for both reading and writing were not bad at all, though.


Now FireWire 400 is rated at 400Mbps (theoretically slower than USB 2.0), but it was faster in transferring the same file from the Icy Dock enclosure to the PC. This is due to FireWire being designed for performance in high-bandwidth use, especially with external storage devices. If you will be copying a lot of large files from the enclosure to your PC, FireWire is the way to go. For smaller files USB might prove to be a more convenient solution.

 

 


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