Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)
  • Icy Dock MB881 2.5 and 3.5 SATA Hard Drive Docking Station


    This is the Icy Dock MB881US-1S-1 SATA hard drive docking station.




    What you will first notice about this docking station is that it is completely different from any of the other “mini toaster” looking hard drive docks.  Not only does it’s looks set it apart but it’s versatility also stands above the crowd compared to all other docking stations I’ve used.  I’ll tell you why in this review.

    The Unboxing

    It came to me in a clear plastic container showing off it’s largest components.  The dock itself and a black carrying case.


    IMG_2023 IMG_2027


    I was wondering what the green arm was for even before I got it out of the box.  Here is the stand fresh out of the package.


    IMG_2028 IMG_2029 IMG_2030


    The case, or protective pouch as Icy Dock calls it, was loaded with the USB and eSATA cable.




    The bottom of the package contained the rest of its contents.


    IMG_2033 IMG_2034


    The external power adapter, SATA to eSATA port for your computer, and the instruction booklet.




    It’s contents are as follows:

    • Drive Stand
    • AC Adapter
    • Power Cord
    • eSATA Cable
    • USB 2.0 Y Cable
    • Protective Pouch
    • Single Port eSATA Bracket

    I was anxious to get it fired up on my Windows Home Server but started fiddling with the drive stand and found that the green stand is removable.  This is by design which allows you to detach the stand with a 2.5” hard drive attached and transport it with the protective pouch.  That is certainly a selling point if you have a 2.5” drive that you would like to make portable.


    IMG_2036 IMG_2037


    In this review I’ll be using a 3.5” drive.


    Beyond the design differences, it’s still a hard drive dock.  It can be used with your computer via USB and eSATA with the external power brick or it can be used with the supplied USB Y cable which allows you to power the unit.  I don’t like using two USB ports to power a drive but if you want to forgo the external power brick at least you have that choice.  If you don’t have an eSATA port you will have to crack your PC case and install the bracket.  The bracket’s cable measures roughly 11” long so it should reach any SATA port on your motherboard.  It’s a straight connector so some distance may be lost by plugging it in to your motherboards SATA port.  I also like the power switch on the front of the unit.  If you’re not going to use the drive in your storage pool you can power it down to save energy costs.




    The unit feels solid too.  I’ve held some cheap plastic docks and this feels nothing like that.  It’s a nicely made product.

    Using the Icy Dock with your Windows Home Server

    If you are like me you are always looking to upgrade storage in your Windows Home Server.  I replace small hard drives with larger ones and this always leaves me with a couple of drives laying around.  With this dock you can put them to good use backing up shares or using BDBB to make an external copy of your backup database.  Take a look at my server setup.




    The top drive is listed as a “Non Storage Hard Drive.”  This is the Icy Dock.


    Another view of my storage can be seen via the Disk Management Add-In.




    The Icy Dock is at the bottom in this shot.  It shows up as an unmanaged disk which allows you to use Add-In’s like BDBB to create, “Backups of your Backups.”  I’m using the Icy Dock and a 500Gb drive to do just that.




    You can see here in the WHS BDBB settings tab that the J: drive is the one I am using.  That’s the Icy Dock.  You can use a single drive with your Windows Home Server or rotate hard drives to perform different functions.  I will also use the dock to backup a couple of my Shared Folders for additional redundancy.

    USB vs. eSATA

    The obvious answer to this question is speed.  The eSATA spec is up to 3 Gb/s and USB 2.0 is at 480Mbits/s(60MB/sec).  My personal issue with the eSATA port is that I am using the MediaSmart Server so there is only one of these ports available.  If I continue to use the dock via the eSATA port I won’t be able to upgrade my storage pool with the many available port multiplier products on the market.  If you take a closer look at my storage situation I am in need of some larger drives or a port multiplier solution.


    A positive note about using the eSATA port beyond the speed gain is the ability to get SMART data off of the drive.  This is not possible via USB.




    This shot shows you the HomeServer SMART add-in with the data about the drive in the Icy Dock.  A comparison shot is the USB drive I have attached to the server.




    There is no SMART data on this drive.  USB simply does not support it.

    Using the Dock

    Once you have decided where you will use, what port you will use and how you will power it you simply need to add a hard drive.  My 3.5” drive slid nicely down the dock and into place.  There is a ridge on the left hand side of the dock that guide the drive into place without any fear of messing up pins or connectors.


    IMG_2330 IMG_2342


    You will inevitably want to face the drive to you or to the front of your equipment and that makes the cables have to bend and route back.  This is all dependant upon your setup but you can see the cable routing in photo.




    You can see in this photo that I’m using the eSATA connection which is the flat cable.  The power connector is below it.  The power plug on the unit is in a tight spot.  It can't be plugged in blindly.  You will have to turn it sideways and "eyeball" it in.




    The USB port is on the opposite side of the unit and is also very easy to get to.




    This photo shows the dock removed from the stand and in the protective case.  A 2.5” hard drive can remain mounted to the dock and inside the case for travel.  I’ve seen in some reviews where there is a concern for the dock tipping over.  I would discount those concerns mainly because your interaction with the dock is primarily seating and unseating drives into it.  It will remain on a flat surface just fine.




    On/Off Switch.


    Portable Design.


    Solid design.  Does not feel cheap like other external docks.


    Will it tip over?


    Power plug in an awkward spot.


    Higher cost than ‘most’ competitor docks.


    You might say that hard drive docks are “a dime a dozen” as the old saying goes. I think most would pick a dock for either the port they have in their system (USB/eSata/FW) or the size hard drive they have to use with the dock initially. (2.5” or 3.5”) Beyond that I think price is going to be the major factor in a dock decision.  Perhaps Free Shipping from the vendor may persuade you.  They Icy Dock comes in at the higher end of the price range although not the highest I found.  It does however, offer more for your dollar at that price range.


    The Icy Dock certainly looks better than their competitors.  Honestly, some of the other docks are butt-ugly.  But, does that matter?  It’s just a dock right?  To some it might.


    I think it comes down to price, function, and quality.  Does the dock have the features you want compared to the cost you are comfortable with?  I don’t think you can find much better in the area of quality when it comes to this dock compared to others.  It’s simply a well made product.  If you look around hard enough you can find this dock in a comparable price range to others.  I say…shop frugal, but always shop smart.  This one will be worth the money paid for it.


    Manufacturer Website


    Product Website


    Where to buy


    Amazon - Icy Dock MB881ir?t=mccabe-20&l=ur2&o=1


    NewEgg - ICY DOCK MB881US-1S-1 HDD Docking Station Enclosure for Mac & PCimage-3070213-10440897


    by: David McCabe, homeservershow.com


    FTC Disclosure:  Icy Dock has not asked for this unit back so I continue to use it.  That had no effect on the review however. (I'll update this spot if/when this status changes)


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Our picks

    • I throw this out every once in a while.  Is anyone interested in writing up "semi-formal" reviews here on the forums?  I say semi-formal because they don't have to be pro level, just a good attempt at telling the story about the gear.  Something you have purchased lately.  You don't have to go buy stuff, just incorporate what you have already have purchased.  Hit me up with any questions.  You never know where it will lead!
        • Like
      • 3 replies
    • D-Link has dropped a couple of new products and additions to their lineup of smart home gear.  Hold on because there is a lot of gear!
      Let's start with cameras.  D-Link has new Wi-Fi cameras, the Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8302LH) and Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8526LH).  These are not just new, and good looking cams, they can now perform people detection and glass break detection.  The new cameras also feature expanded ways for customers to save video, including ONVIF Profile S, which enables custom storage and streaming options to personal NAS devices, built-in storage microSD capacity up to 256 GB, as well as free and paid cloud storage options. 

      This year's camera models include both an indoor and an outdoor model. The outdoor model features a spotlight and siren that can be triggered when motion is detected, deterring potential intruders. The indoor model pans around to give a full 360-degree view of any room and tracks motion. Both include two-way audio. 
      Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8302LH), available in Q2, 2020, and retail pricing will be $99.99.
      Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8526LH), available in Q3, 2020, and retail pricing will be $119.99.
      One of my favorite products is Wi-Fi.  D-Link has a whole lot of new products coming including Wi-Fi 6, Mesh, Alexa and Google Assistant integration, IFTTT, Parental Controls, and more!

      There are so many new SKU's that I can't make heads or tails of them!  I'm going to be speaking with D-Link more this week and will sort all of these out. I do want you to see all they are offering and what the release date and projected retail pricing will be.

      AC1900 Scalable Mesh Wi-Fi Router (COVR-1900-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1750-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1900 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1950-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1755-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1950 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1955-US), Q1 2020, $109.99
      Smart AX1500 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1560-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      Smart AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $139.99
      Smart AX2400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X2460-US), Q3 2020, $159.99
      Smart AX5400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X5460-US), Q1 2020, $279.99
      AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Range Extender (DAP-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $129.99
      AX1800 Whole Home Mesh System (COVR-X1872-US), QX22020, $269.99
        • Like
      • 0 replies
    • RESET Merch Shop
      Get ya Merch here!  I've created a T-Shirt shop with the famous RESET paperclip. I've pasted that clip on just about everything so you can wear it around town!  Cable bags, Coffee Mugs, T-Shirts, and more. 
      or you can get it it via
      Here is the main design.

      Below is a part of the order that I put in!  

      The Heather Grey above is the Extra Soft version and it is awesome.  I highly recommend the softness!    The "Chili Red" is the Tri-Blend and probably my favorite feel and color.

      This is the Zip-Up Hoody, Heather Indigo, Sponge Fleece, Men's, Large.  In my podcast I couldn't remember what style it was but it is Sponge Fleece. It's REALLY soft on the inside. Soft outside as well. The only problem is with the zip up hoody the logo is on the back. Regular hoody, it will be on the front.
      or you can get it it via
      Thank you for supporting this community. Everything you purchase will help keep the lights on the hard drives spinning.
      • 0 replies
    • OneDrive Personal Vault and expandable storage
      Microsoft's OneDrive has a few new features and options worth pointing out.  Personal Vault and Expandable Storage.
      Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that can only be accessed with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. 
      Personal Vault gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files, photos, and videos—for example, copies of documents such as your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information—should someone gain access to your account or device.
      Plus, this added security won’t slow you down. You can quickly access your important documents, photos, and files with confidence wherever you are, on your PC, OneDrive.com, or your mobile device.

      Beyond a second layer of identity verification, Personal Vault also includes the following security measures:
      Scan and shoot—Using the OneDrive app, you can scan documents or shoot photos directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device, like your camera roll.
      Automatic locking—No need to worry about whether you left your Personal Vault or your files open—both will close and lock automatically after a period of inactivity.
      BitLocker encryption—On Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive automatically syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive.
      Restricted sharing—To prevent accidental sharing, files in Personal Vault and shared items moved into Personal Vault cannot be shared.
      Taken together, these security measures help ensure that Personal Vault files are not stored unprotected on your PC, and your files have additional protection, even if your Windows 10 PC or mobile device is lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it or to your account.
      Expandable Storage
      If you are and Office 365 Subscriber you get 1 TB of OneDrive storage space with all the other Office goodies like Word, Excel, etc.  I know personally that I have gone over the 1TB limit and have always wanted to be able to add additional storage to my account.  Now you can!

      Pick and option and keep on hoarding, errr, I mean saving! Cancel anytime, upgrade at any moment.
      • 1 reply
    • Ubiquiti adds new items to the Unifi Line including UAP Flex HD and the Unifi Dream machine
      Ubiquiti has been busy.  There area ton of new items to recently released and I'm going to share two of my favorites.
      The UAP Flex HD and the Unifi Dream machine. The Flex HD is a mouthful of descriptors like most of UI gear is.  It's a 2Ghz 2x2 MIMO, 5GHz 4x4 MU-MIMO, POE, Indoor/Outdoor, multi mount, mesh point that is no bigger than a can of Coke.

      You will still need the Unifi controller although you can configure it with basic functionality with the Unifi App.  I've always found it's best to configure with your controller and then use the app as an add-on.  There are several mounting options that include sitting it on a shelf! That is something that Unifi has not had before unless you count the ceiling AP I have awkwardly mounted placed on top of a few books.  It can be found on the Unifi store for $179.
      The Dream Machine is an altogether different beast that I hope lives up to its naming.  This is the gateway drug, for lack of a better term, to the Unifi world.  The starter kit.  It is an Access Point, Gigabit Switch, Security Gateway, and the Cloud Key all in one package.  The latter being the most significant as this is something that has deterred new users from getting started with Unifi.  Requiring new users to purchase a $100 item just to run the AP's has been somewhat of a roadblock in the past.  Granted, that is improving every year with the ability to run it in the cloud, on a NAS, a Pi, Docker, MacOS, and of course Windows, it is still a barricade to getting up and running when manufacturers such as Eero offer simplicity in an app.

      The switch includes 4 LAN Ports and 1 WAN port.  All of which are Gigabit and security services such as IPS are rated at Gigabit speed. It's $299 in the Unifi store but I'm unsure how nicely it will play with other Unifi gear.  This may be a nice "first AP" with its built in Cloud Key if you can add additional units or other Unifi access points.
      • 4 replies
  • Create New...