The Icy Dock 5.25” ExpressCage MB324SP-B for four 2.5” drives – Part 1 of 3

By: JohnStutsman

 

Fig 01

Figure 1 – Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B – 4 Bay 2.5” SAS/SATA HDD Hot Swap Cage for 5.25” Bay

 

In preparation for the HomeServerShow Meetup 2015 I was asked to review the Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B – 4 Bay 2.5” SAS/SATA HDD Hot Swap Cage for 5.25” Bay (“ExpressCage”).

 

Specifications of the ExpressCage

Icy Dock provided a list of specifications and product detail that I found very intriguing including support for four 2.5” HDDs/SSDs up to 12.5mm thick, hot-swap support, and SAS/SATA – 6GB/s support. All in a 5.25” half-height form factor needing only one SATA power port. One of the things I wanted to display at the meetup was how to use the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer as an external 4 drive bay for an HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer AND have Microsoft Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 running on the N40L, using an SSD for the OS drive, and with four 2.5’ HDDs available to experiment with Storage Spaces – all of this in a single N40L MicroServer would be possible because of the ExpressCage MB324SP-B.

Later, after the meetup, I wanted to test the ExpressCage in my desktop computer which will be a separate review. The ability to mount 4 SSDs in the ExpressCage powered by only one 15-pin SATA Power connector would help immensely in cable management and the looks. I would use the 4 SSDs in the ExpressCage in a RAID0 configuration to use as my work drive for video editing.

 

Fig 02

Figure 2 – Specifications of the Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B

 

Fig 03

Figure 3 – The single 15 Pin SATA Power connector would be a great plus in my mind for cable management – this would be a big help in the N40L as well as my Z77 Desktop

 

Fig 04

Figure 4 – The ability to control the fan speed settings is a great feature – since I would be using low powered WD 2.5” drives in the N40L and low powered Samsung SSDs in the Z77 desktop I used the low fan speed setting

 

Fig 05

Figure 5 – The extra thought in the design to allow me to switch out the 40mm cooling fan in the future is a great indicator of good design practice, in my opinion

 

Fig 06

Figure 6 – I like to use locking clips and appreciate the physical and audio feedback they provide during installation. The Blue LED’s provide me feedback that the drives are powered

 

Fig 07

Figure 7 – The built-in screws secure the drives well that I was using

 

Fig 08

Figure 8 – Icy Dock provides screws that could be used to further secure the drives to the caddy but I found no need for them – it is nice that they are available though

 

When the ExpressCage arrived, I wanted to unbox it as soon as I could and get to work preparing for the Meetup.

 

Video 1 – Unboxing my Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B for HSS Meet-Up 2015

 

Fig 09

Figure 9 – My ExpressCage MB324SP-B and box contents laid out on a Static Mat

 

Fig 10

Figure 10 – My ExpressCage with Drive Caddy 1 opened

 

Fig 11

Figure 11 – Key Features of the Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B

 

Fig 12

Figure 12 – N40L before the installation of the Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B

 

As-Built for MeetUp: Pegasus

  • HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer
  • 16GB RAM
  • OS Drive: 240GB Corsair GT SSD taped to top of ExpressCage
  • HighPoint Rocket 640L
  • Standard 18” SATA cable 180 degrees (straight) both ends
  • OS – Windows Server 2016 Tech Preview 3
  • Molex Y to two SATA Power Connectors
  • Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B with 4 x WD10JUCT 2.5” HDDs
  • StarTech Model SAS8087S450 19” (50cm) Serial Attached SCSI SAS Cable – SFF-8087 to 4x Latching SATA
  • NORCO C8087-8088L 1-Port SFF to SFF 8088 Adaptor with Low Profile Mounting Bracket
  • 4 x ST3000DM001 3TB HDD
  • Tyco EMC 038-003-787 Cable Mini SAS SFF-8088 to SFF-8088 2M

 

Please go to Part 2 of this 3 part series on the ExpressCage MB324SP-B where I will load the ExpressCage into the N40L.

Then later, please join us in the HSS Forums with any question or comments.

 

References:

The Icy Dock 5.25” ExpressCage MB324SP-B for four 2.5” drives – Part 2 of 3  http://homeservershow.com/the-icy-dock-5-25-expresscage-mb324sp-b-for-four-2-5-drives-part-2-of-3.html

The Icy Dock 5.25” ExpressCage MB324SP-B for four 2.5” drives – Part 3 of 3  http://homeservershow.com/the-icy-dock-5-25-expresscage-mb324sp-b-for-four-2-5-drives-part-3-of-3.html

Loading Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 on my N40L https://youtu.be/OsNFebq7tSM

Official Meetup 2015 Thread http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/9270-the-official-meetup-2015-thread/ 

Other Icy Dock Blog Postings http://homeservershow.com/tag/icyDock

Icy Dock Play List https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn2DhE-6J02Q8X1h_oRVBoXAYruT60X0s

CSKenney’s Gen8 links thread in the HomeServerShow forums: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5639-proliant-microserver-gen8-links/

Gen8 Blog postings: http://homeservershow.com/tag/gen-8

MicroServer Blog postings: http://homeservershow.com/tag/microserver

 

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