If you are looking for an enclosure to keep all your hard drives in then the ICYCube 4 bay may well be the one for you.
There’s a lot of discussion about Thunderbolt these days and often to the detriment of USB3, however in many cases when it comes to moving data, although the quoted specs of both formats may be different, in the real world there is often not a lot in it.
A second consideration is that the same drive with a Thunderbolt connection instead of USB3 is going to set you back a lot more. Add to this the cost of Thunderbolt cables and the idea of using USB3 is far more attractive than you may think.
With this is mind we tested the new ICYCube MB561U3S-4S 4 Bay USB 3.0 & eSATA External HDD Enclosure. It is a 4 bay enclosure that uses both USB3 and eSATA. It houses both 3.5” and 2.5” drives, which can be mixed in any way you wish.
Our test unit has 3 Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200rpm drives and a Crucial 1TB SSD.
Setting Up The ICYCube
The drive comes well packed and come with everything you need to get up and running, even with the screws in little packs clearly labelled to show which are for the large drives and which ones are for the small ones. It even ships with the cables which is always a nice touch too.
Installing the drives into the custom trays takes about 1 minute per drive tray, it’s all very straightforward and the trays are nicely engineered with their drive tray extraction levers.
One things that is always important in the modern studio is keeping things cool with the minimum of noise, this is taken care of with a large detachable fan on the rear of the unit.
The ICYCube MB561U3S-4S 4 Bay USB 3.0 & eSATA External HDD Enclosure is built like a tank. It is also nice to have the power unit inside the enclosure, I get a little tired of all the PSUs I have in the studio.
In test we found the unit to be well built, install was easy, file transfers were speedy over USB3 and noise from the cooling fan was at a minimum even when running on auto speed mode.
The ICYCube MB561U3S-4S 4 Bay USB 3.0 & eSATA External HDD Enclosure is one of the nicest enclosures I’ve seen so far - it’s not the cheapest at around $195, but well worth considering if you need to house several hard drives safely and move data fast.
I have a unit with my Pro Tools Sessions, Samples, Video and the SSD contains all my documents, it works like a charm.
It’s hard to find these units in Europe but I purchased one from Newegg in the USA who handled all shipping and import taxes, I ordered on the Sunday and it arrived 3 days later.
Below you can see the Blackmagic Speed Test done on the same Mac Pro using the same load, on the left is the USB3 drive, on the right Thunderbolt. Both drives are 7200 rpm drives.