Icydock U6-1S-WBC: A Solid Enclosure
Icydock's U6-1S-WBC is a stylish, high-end hard drive enclosure for 3.5" SATA hard drives. It has a massive (and heavy) case made of aluminum and metal, and your 3.5" hard drive is mounted into a removable frame. Unlike other removable drive solutions, the frame of the Icydock U6-1S-WBC carries a circuit board with a Marvell SATA controller. This approach accommodates either UltraATA or SATA frames if you want to use different interfaces with only one external enclosure. After installing the hard drives, you simply have to slide the frame into the Icydock device and you're all set.
The U6-1S-WBC comes with a Firewire 800- and USB 2.0-connection interfaces. Clearly, Firewire 800 (aka IEEE1394b) is the much faster option, as it offers a gross bandwidth of 800 Mb/s as opposed to USB 2.0's 480 Mb/s. The device is fully Firewire compliant, meaning that it has two Firewire ports to allow for daisy-chaining multiple Firewire devices. We liked that the device has a hardware power switch and how it comes with an external power supply. However, due to the sheer size of the device, it weighs almost four pounds, rendering it unsuitable for mobile use. At the same time, we can confirm that the design is more than capable of passively cooling any 3.5" hard drive, including a Western Digital Raptor WD1500, which we used for our tests. It only reached 47°C (116°F) in our lab, which is a very good result.
The enclosure comes with rubber stands that you have to attach. The $120 price tag is hefty, but you'll get a solid, well-finished and technically-sophisticated device that doesn't require active cooling.