As Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire multi-graphics card systems are losing popularity, we've been wondering what to do with all the spare expansion slots in our full-size ATX PCs. Icy Dock had the same thought, as they just introduced the MB839SP-B adapter last week, as spotted by Hermitage Akihabara.
The adapter turns a PCIe 1x expansion slot into a hot-swappable 2.5-inch drive bay for SATA drives. This means that you'll be able to swap in your 2.5-inch hard drives and SSDs without needing to reboot the system.
This can be a great solution in a handful of situations, such as a lack of 2.5-inch drive mounts in small PC cases or if you've run out of SATA ports on your motherboard. The adapter also comes with its own onboard SATA controller, and the ports are rated for up to 10,000 insertions. The company was even thorough enough to include two pins that let you connect the unit to your case's front HDD activity LED.
Icy Dock's new adapter can be plugged into all PCIe ports ranging from PCIe 2.0 x1 slots up to PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, not that it will make a difference to the bandwidth: all are limited to the speed of the internal SATA interface, which caps out at about 500 MBps with fast SSDs installed. Nevertheless, if you have an old system with only SATA II ports, this device is helpful for making the jump to SATA III speeds on one drive.
We spotted the Icy Dock MB839SP-B on Amazon for a steep $65.