ICY DOCK Blizzard External Hard Drive Enclosure Review
ICY DOCK recently released the Blizzard hard drive enclosure with 80mm fan. Here is our review!
ICY DOCK recently released a new hard drive enclosure, the Blizzard. The company wanted a hard drive enclosure that delivered USB 3.0/esata/FireWire 800 speeds, no-tool hard drive installation and switching, nearly silent operation and cool hard drive temperatures. Did they succeed? We find out.
Elegantly Designed Hardware
The Blizzard has a uniquely designed front panel integrated with a massive 80mm fan for an elegant and nonintrusive design for the best ventilation, all in a single 3.5” hard drive that is installed into the front of the enclosure. There are two important reasons for the particular fan placement and design. First, the MB080U3S-1SB will be able to cool all sides of the hard drive and create only one direction of airflow from the front to the back, where the air then exits. This extends the life of the cooling fan as it only intakes cool cold air and increases the overall cooling efficiency of the hard drive, in comparison to other enclosure cooling designs. Second, the 80mm fan is integrated into the detachable front panel which allows to easily swap your hard drive without any screws or tools to worry about. On the sides, includes two slightly concealed button ejectors that when pressed, will eject the front panel enabling the user to swap the hard drive as needed, similar to popular hard drive docking stations.
Smarter Cooling Functionality
The rear panel comprises of a multitude of defining features coming all together from only the best ideas of our previous external enclosure models. The enclosure has a single LED brightness dial to effortlessly adjust the ambient LED brightness to your preferred liking. To increase the level of functionality, the Blizzard’s LED color will turn red when the hard drive temperature is over 50°C. The built in fan controller allows you to select low, high, and auto to properly cool the hard drive to help if such a case appears. The auto mode properly adjusts accordingly to your hard drive’s requirements by increasing or decreasing the fan speed as needed.
Lighting Quick Speed
Taking advantage of the new ultra fast USB 3.0 interface, users will be able to transfer at high speeds at a maximum of 5 Gbps or perhaps use the similarly fast eSATA interface for system when there is a lack of USB 3.0. The USB 3.0 interface is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 so using the MB080U3S-1SB on your legacy PC or Mac is not a problem. With tool-less drive installation, you can easily swap the drives in between systems. The Blizzard is perfect for users in the fields requiring the best cooling and performance on the market.
* Unique & Elegant design.
* Massive 80mm fan for optimal cooling.
* Direct airflow design to completely cool all sides of the hard drive.
* Completely screw-less / tool-less design for any 3.5” SATA I/II/III HDD.
* USB 3.0 & eSATA interface for the fastest connections anywhere.
* Backward compatible with USB 2.0 for wide-ranging use.
* 3 Speed Adjustable Cooling Fan, including auto setting featuring.
* Smart Cooling technology. Smart Cooling Technology is active in auto mode
and accurately adjusts the fan speed according to your hard drive’s needs.
* Cool blue ambient LED with adjustable brightness control.
* Smart-Temp functionality – Front LED changes from blue to red when over 50° C.
* Supports SATA 6Gbit hard drive up to 3TB capacity.
* Great for Media and IT Professionals.
* Designed for PC & Mac systems.
Let’s look at each category.
Elegantly Designed Hardware
This is a really attractive design. The LED indicator lights are visible up front but are reserved, and the fan on the front makes for a striking presentation.
They also used LED’s inside the unit, visible from the front, that glow blue when the drives are under 50 C and red when they hit 50 C. This light’s brightness can be set to your liking.
The case is well-made plastic, and feels fairly heavy when empty. Drives are installed by taking the front off of the unit and sliding the hard drive into guides, seating into the SATA connector without tools. This unit should hold up well to switching out hard drives.
The visual design works well. The overall design is well-executed, and is one hard drive enclosure that will look good next to your PC out on your desk!
Smarter Cooling Functionality
ICY DOCK installed an 80mm fan on the front of the unit. In addition, they included settings to control the fan speed; I left it on Auto to let the enclosure control the fan speed. Hard drive temps never were high enough to trip the LED’s red, and even after thrashing the hard drive with large file transfers, the drive was not overly warm to the touch once I pulled it out. Note that this unit also has a switch on the back so you can set the fan speed to high, low or auto and take control over the fan and cooling function. Nice touch!
Lightning Quick Speed
I don’t usually expect too much from a BYOB hard drive enclosure as far as speeds go, as the performance of the unit will largely depend on the hard drive that you install in it. I had several Seagate 5900 RPM green drives in 2TB flavor laying around, so I used one of these to test. Using both the esata connector to my HP EX475 MSS and USB 3.0 connected to my desktop, speeds were very good.
If you are a Mac user, you’ll be happy to know that they also have a version that includes esata and FireWire 800, which is a pretty good feature set for Mac users.
Providing both esata and USB 3.0 connections, or esata and FireWire 800, ticks the right boxes from a speed perspective.