The ICY DOCK
ICYRaid 2-Bay USB 3.0 drive enclosure is an impressive piece of hardware for a few reasons. One, it offers the ability for you to quickly configure a pair of drives in one of four configurations - Big, JBOD, RAID 1, and RAID 0. You just flip a switch to the desired configuration and press the reset button and the work is done. No software to install and no drivers needed. You can set this up with 3.5" drives right out of the box and the installation is completely tool-less, or you can use 2.5" drives if you purchase the optional EZConvert Air Lite converters. You will need screws to hold your 2.5" drives to the converter, but installation is still extremely easy.
The performance of the ICYRaid is also quite impressive. While the transfer rates while in a RAID 0 configuration were very fast, the rates achieved in RAID 1, Big, or JBOD were not far behind. Connected to your PC for backup purposes, a RAID 1 configuration would be great to allow for redundant backups of your data that could still be read/written at 180MB/s or more.
Let's just assume that the issue with the power brick was an unfortunate oversight, and nothing that anyone else should expect to encounter. If this had happened to a retail product, it might be difficult and time consuming for a consumer to remedy (unless they have a pile of adapters like I happen to have). I have looked on Amazon and Newegg reviews, and no one seems to be complaining about the power brick - but that still leaves other issues... The main thing I am concerned about with long term usage is how light-duty the front doors seem. Even with being extra cautious, I feel it could be just a matter of time before they broke. They are flimsy and wobbly, and because you need to apply pressure to them to open / close the doors, it seems like they are just asking to be damaged. Considering how overly beefy the side panels are, the super flimsy front doors seem like such a sharp contrast in design.
Another issue for me is with the price. I initially saw the ICYRaid at Amazon.com, where the price is just over $120 (US). Since some things at Amazon are from third party sellers and the prices can be wacky, I looked over at Newegg where it is $115. I was somewhat surprised at how expensive this is, considering there are some full featured 2-bay NAS servers that are not much more. Additionally, there are plenty of other 2-bay USB 3.0 enclosures with similar features for much less - like the StarTech S3520BU33ER for about $80, the Vantec NST-400MX-S3R for about $70, or the Tripp Lite U357-002 for about $80. While I have no first hand experience with these devices - they are all 2-bay USB 3.0 enclosures that at least offer RAID 1, RAID 0, and JBOD configurations, and they are all well rated at Amazon.com. $40+ is a big premium to pay for a device that performed well, but was far from perfect.
If you could find an excellent deal on the ICY DOCK ICYRaid, and you were aware that you should be gentle while installing drives, I would have no problem recommending it. I just don't know if the price could drop enough to be competitive, which is too bad since the performance was so impressive.
» Solid performance in any of the available drive configurations
» Easily configurable as a RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, or Big drive array
» No software required
» Able to use 3.5" drives, or 2.5" drives with optional converters
» Installation is 100% tool-less with 3.5" drives
» Fan can be fine tuned to offer the best balance of noise and cooling performance for your configuration
» Original power adapter was dead (but ICY DOCK sent a replacement quickly)
» Drive bay doors are very flimsy and light, and I fear that they may break
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