Review Raidsonic ICY BOX IB-111 HDD Docking Station eSata/ USB 2.0
Drive exchanger. It saves a lot of time and probably also money if hard drives can be quickly exchanged without having to use an external hard drive case. Raidsonics solution uses an eSata interface and can house 2.5" and 3.5" drives. Continue reading to learn how well it works.
Internal hard drives have some crucial advantages over external solutions. First of all, pure internal drives are clearly cheaper than external ones. In addition you know what you get. In external hard drive models there are sometimes even within the same series different drives built-in, e.g., if the same manufacturer can't supply or is no longer cheapest. However, internal drives cannot be attached as easily to a computers in an external way as complete external solutions. Adapters, drive cases, or a docking station - such as the one under review - are required to connect it.
In addition, Raidsonics ICY BOX IB-111StUS2 also allows to use bigger 3.5" inch hard drives, which at the time of writing offer the best price-performance ratio, besides 2.5" drives common in notebooks. The mass storage is inserted upright into the case from white plastics and aluminium, whereby the endwalls keep it in position. Contrary to the Typhoon's USB-3.0 model, the test model does without an eject button.
Workmanship and materials appear alright at first glance. In particularly when using the station with 3.5" hard drives, the low weight of the station gets apparent and the whole constructions tends to topple over. Furthermore, the scratch resistance of the plastic cover is not very high, so you should rather take care.
Rearsides you'll find the necessary interfaces. USB ensures maximum compatibility and eSATA allows for a speedy connection to desktops or laptops. A separate power adapter ensures that there is sufficient power available and a power switch is available too.
Although the transfer rates recorded in combination with a Kingston SSD are lower than those in the Typhoons HDD docking station connected via USB 3.0, it is still better than all other eSATA hard drives we reviewed so far. Via the eSata port of a ;Dell Precision M4500 work station HD Tune recorded a maximum of 115 MB/s at reading and Crystal Disk Mark 130 MB/s at sequential reading. The eSata ExpressCard/34 from Digitus in a HP ProBook 6540b is about on par. So, the performance is definitely sufficient for conventional hard drives. Only very fast models or Solid State Drives are noticeably slowed down.
Starting at about 30.- euro, Raidsonic's solution is cheaper than the USB 3.0 alternative from Typhoon. Furthermore, it look clearly more elegant, but, combined with fast hard drives its performance is lower.
Otherwise, handling is quite similar and uncomplicated. Such a solution can be recommended to users, who often exchange hard drives and do not always want to fall back on a drive case or an internal mounting.