Out with the old, in with the new. This is the way of the universe, with organisms alive now that are stronger, better, and more efficient than those which came before, and technology that continues along the same path of constant improvement, it’s hard to see why anyone would want to go back. There is a certain gracefulness in the march forward that can cause us to forget those awkward transitions that come in-between. I mean, take a look at the Do-Do bird. Sure, it was a great little bird when nothing was really bothering it and it was just allowed to sit around and be fat and flightless until it procreated and died, but it wasn’t really good at anything else. The Do-Do is one of those awkward transitions, an evolutionary crossroad that forced it into a strange mixture of the sleekness of a bird and the lazy fatness of something else entirely.
With the arrival of affordable solid-state storage technology and better methods of heat dissipation, we are moving ever closer to sleeker, quieter, and non-moving electronics. With this push towards solid state comes mobility and ruggedness which is near impossible to get with moving parts. The downside is that, as of right now, the technology involved in a solid state drive is much more expensive than that which is in a traditional HDD. This means that even though we gain much in the use of a rugged and sleek solid state solution, we lose the raw storage space of a our old friend the hard drive. It is due to this that we get to have systems that are in some ways like the Do-Do bird, with the sleekness of solid state and the aging fatness of a traditional hard drive.
The Icy Dock MB973SP-1B and the MB974SP-2B are very similar to each other in that they both sport an aluminum chassis with an 80mm cooling fan. The Icy Dock FlexCage MB973SP-1B is able to fit three 3.5" SATA HDDs in two 5.25" drive bays using a trayless design. The MB973SP-1B FlexCage is powered by two 4 pin power connectors or by adapting two 15-pin power connectors via the included adapters. The MB974SP-2B FlexCage, on the other hand, uses 15-pin power connectors. The tray less design means that not only is installation of drives toolless – it is as simple as sliding the drive in and closing the door. This makes it an ideal platform for hot swapping hard drives with minimal hassle. They are both cooled by an included 80mm fan that, in its shipped configuration, pulls air from the front of the drives and exhausts it out of the back. Each of the hard drive bays has an individual hard drive activity LED that is only active when a hard drive is successfully inserted. Both fans can easily be removed and replaced with any 80mm fan using a 2-pin or a 3-pin connector. The aluminum chassis makes it both very durable and far better at dissipating heat than plastic. The main difference between the two is that pricier of the pair, the MB974SP-2B, has 2 USB 3.0 ports on the front connected via a standard USB 3.0 motherboard header, and can hold one more drive than the MB973SP-1B. This can be very useful for older cases that may not have as many places to mount a hard drive or don’t have any USB 3.0 ports on the front panel.