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.
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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.
What kind 'elegant solutions' are you talking about?
I really like the look and design of this, might even get one for my server, but if you know something better pray tell.
Yes, there are a few solutions where this makes more sense, especially if we are talking about adding onto older hardware, but for the price of this plus drive, a 1TB M.2 makes more sense than this plus a 1TB 2.5" HDD. The M.2 solution would be a lot faster too. With 2TB drives this solution is good, for anything 1TB or smaller M.2 makes a lot more sense... and if we are honest there aren't many, if any, 2.5" x 9.5mm drives over 2TB.
I suppose one of these could potentially be useful if you want to use the hot swap functionality, but the rear of the case doesn't exactly seem like the most convenient location for a hot-swap bay.
I see what you mean and I completely agree, this does seem more practical for 2TB or more 2.5" SSD's for the prices compared to a 2TB m.2. And if you look in my signature I have such the scenario ;). Thus this is a really attractive idea for me. Nothing gets my technical juices flowing like hotswapping drives whenever I want.
But beyond just a general user based scenario this is also useful in configurations for people who troubleshoot drives and need to constantly swap them out to troubleshoot, clone, or even backup data quickly to multiple drives. That was my main excitement about this, the many practical uses because of the removal of SATA and PSU cables.
True, a generic NVMe PCIe card might be cheaper, but NVMEs are still more expensive compared to standard 3.5" SSDs at 2TB or more. And if one is mostly using them more as a storage drive or general-purpose drive, this could be a cheaper option. There is also the bonus of being able to take the 3.5" drive out and pop it into a portable case when on the go for extended periods, and popping it back in when at the house.
Yeah. This thing only makes sense if you have a SFF case with no external drive bays. Really niche market.