Raidsonic / IcyBox have been manufacturing computer peripherals for many years now, and are one of the most popular names when it comes to internal and external drive enclosures. The IcyBox IB-168SK-B is an internal drive rack, which allows you to quickly swap and replace SATA drives very quickly. There are literally hundreds of these products on the market, but this one is a little different. The IB-168SK is a totally trayless device, which means you can swap over a 3.5” hard drive without needed to screw it in to a caddy – simply push it in to the drive bay!
Many computer enthusiasts will replace hard drives on a regular basis, when testing new products or moving data from one PC to another. In these sort of circumstances a fast, trayless product is a huge advantage. Just fit the IcyBox enclosure in a standard 5.25” drive bay and you can swap hard drives around within moments.
There is a small lever on the front of the IcyBox which allows you to open out the front of the drive enclosure. This reveals a slot which is exactly the right size for a 3.5” SATA drive, which you can push all the way in as far as it will go. Once you’ve done that, simply close the flap (and optionally lock the tray) and the HDD will click in to place. It’s as easy as that! This animated gif from the IcyBox website illustrates this process quite well:
Whats’s in the Box
- IB-168SK Trayless Enclosure
- Instruction Manual
- MOLEX > SATA Power Adapter
- 4 x Screws
Fitting the drive enclosure is exactly the same process as installing a CD/DVD drive in to your case. SATA power and data connections are required on the back of the IcyBox, and these run straight through to connect to the internal drive (meaning that that the 168SK should conform to any SATA standards in the future as long as the physical connection remains the same).
The image below shows the pass-through connections which line up with the 3.5” SATA hard drive sockets. When you insert the drive it locks in place and the connections mate, saving a lot of time compared to a manual drive install:
Testing and Conclusion
The IB168SK has been in use for over a month in a test machine and it has been swapped in and out plenty of times during this period. First of all, it can be noted that there is no difference in speed or performance of the drive when using the enclosure. If poor quality connections were used for the SATA data pass-through then this could have resulted in slower transfer rates, but fortunately this is not the case.
The lock and HDD activity LED work as intended and the drive ejection mechanism remained smooth each time. However, most users aren’t going to use the LED at all as it requires a connection to the HDD activity header on the motherboard. It’s a shame there isn’t an easy way to detect activity via the SATA data connection without adding to the cost or complexity of the device. There is no 40mm fan included on the device, however there is ventilation space in the caddy which should be suffice (on a Thermaltake Soprano case the temperature has remained comparable to the internal 3.5” drive bays).
The IB168SK is a simply product that does exactly as was intended, without any unnecessary fuss or complexity. The manufacture quality is good and the mechanical components (such as hinges and lock) look like they can be expected to last a long time. It is refreshing to see a product that is simple, efficient and does the job well. Not many people will have a need for a trayless drive bay like this, but those that often swap drives around will find this invaluable.