ReviewsReview of the Icy Dock MB994SP-4S Hot Swap Backplane...

Review of the Icy Dock MB994SP-4S Hot Swap Backplane RAID Cage


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If you have a few spare 2.5” hard drives sitting around you might want to look at the MB994SP-4S hot swap backplane RAID cage from Icy Dock.


Here is how Icy Dock describe the cage:

Introducing the Icy Dock MB994SP-4S Quad Bay 2.5″ SATA/SAS Mobile Rack for use in a single 5.25″ device bay. This product is constructed of heavy duty metal to hold up in the toughest of conditions. It includes ventilation slots on the front, back, top and bottom for maximum airflow to keep both SATA and SAS drives running cool, and an LED is placed on the front of each drive tray to give the user drive status at all times. Dual 4-pin power connectors are used to ensure a consistent power supply to all 4 drives, whether they are low power SSD’s or power hungry 15000 RPM SAS drives. Also included are dual 40mm cooling fans to keep the drives running in at optimal temperatures in even the most intense applications. The fans utilize Active Power Technology, so that the fans only power up if there are drives installed. If no drives are inserted, neither fan will power up. If drives are only inserted on the right side, only the right-side fan will power up, and vice versa.

The MB994SP-4S utilizes our brand new EZ Slide Mini Trays, making drive interchangeability and maintenance completely hassle free. The trays are built using full metal so that they are durable for many lifetimes, but will not weigh you down when transporting your data from system to system. And featuring a full cage design, the added top drive cover provides added protection while moving the drive. The trays are also designed to accommodate 9.5mm, 12.5mm, and 15mm drives giving you the ultimate universal 2.5″ hot swap bay.

Utilizing its small form factor, The MB994SP-4S is perfect for use in industrial PCs, servers, or any small form factor case where 5.25” bays are limited and large drive capacity is needed, especially compact RAID 5 systems. It is built to function in the most demanding environments including military and law enforcement deployment, as well as manufacturing conditions such as embedded control systems and factory automation systems. The heavy metal design makes it ideal for placement in rugged environments.

* Fits 4 x 2.5″ SATA I / II / III and SAS HDD/SSD
* Accommodates Drives with up to 15mm Height
* Fits 4 Drives into a Single 5.25″ Device Bay
* Status LED on Front for Each Drive
* Full Metal EZ Slide Mini Tray System with Full Cage Design
* Small Form Factor Perfect for IPC, Servers, and Small Form Factor Cases.
* Front, Rear, Top, and Bottom Ventilation Slots
* Dual 40mm Fans with Active Power Technology
* Heavy Duty Full Metal Construction
* Support SATA 6Gbps
* Top Cover for the Tray Adds Extra Drive Protection


Item Number:
Host Interface
7 pin SATA x 4
Drive Fit
2.5″ SAS or SATA I /II HDD / SSD x 4
Device Bay
5.25″ Bay x 1
Transfer Rate
Up to 600 MB/sec
Insert & Extract connection Via
15 pin direct hard drive connection
Drive Cooling
40mm rear cooling fan x 2 & Metal heat dispersion
LED Indication
Device Power & Drive Activity
LED Display Color
Green : Device Power ; Amber : Drive Activity
Dimension (L x W x H)
6.70″ x 5.75 ” x 1.63 ”
1.77 lbs

What’s In The Box?

The box contains the cage itself and a manual. According to that manual the box should also contain a number of screws, however our review box didn’t contain these.


A Closer Look

The case is pretty sturdy – the front contains the four drive bays and rear houses two power connectors and four SATA connectors along with the fan vents.


Adding A Hard Drive

Adding a drive is fairly simple, you just pop out the tray, and slide the drive in.


I found that sliding the drive in was actually quite a delicate process. The back of the drive bay scrapes along the back of the drive, and I can see continually adding and removing drives could actually cause some damage if you were not careful.

Final Thoughts

As usual Icy Dock have delivered a product that does exactly what it promises. This is great if you have some spare 2.5” drives sitting around and you want to use them.

My only negative comment about the cage is that of the drive bays – I can just see damage to the connectors on the drive if you were not careful.

To be fair, I can see that the majority of uses for this cage is likely to be in servers rather than in desktops in the home, but it does what it says on the tin!

It retails for a little under $100 but as usual look around as there are bargains to be had!

You can learn more about the MB994SP-4S from the Icy Dock website.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. This is a good point "The trays are also designed to accommodate 9.5mm, 12.5mm, and 15mm drives giving you the ultimate universal 2.5? hot swap bay" Nice to see that 4 of the thicker and larger capacity laptop drives can be squeezed into this device.

  2. Yeah, the 1TB drives run 12.5 mm compared to the 9.5mm 750GB drives. Will we see 1.5TB drives at the 15mm mark soon? I have enough 2.5 drives around so I might pick me up one of these!

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