Shuttle Disk model MB124e FireWire enclosure
Company: ICY DOCK International
ICY DOCK has entered the portable FireWire enclosure market with its new MB124E ICY DOCK Shuttle Disk enclosure.
Yes gentle readers, the name is ICY DOCK, all in capital letters.
According to ICY’s PR person, the enclosure is named the Shuttle Dock as it resembles the Space Shuttle, and it shuttles data back and forth.
Here are the hard numbers:
Models & Specifications Item Number MB124E Internal Host Firewire 400 Drive Fit 1 x 2.5″ ATA 100 Transfer Rate 400 MB/sec Structure Aluminum body w/rubberized surrounding Drive Cooling aluminum heat dispersion LED Indication Device Power & Drive Activity LED Display Color Green: Device Power; Amber: Drive Activity OS Requirement Windows 98se/Me/2000/XP; Mac OS 9.0 or higher Dimension (LxWxH) 198 x 148 x 42 mm Weight 1.5 lb
MyMac.com Labs tested one on a 4 day road trip, and here’s what we found.
First, ICY’s Shuttle Disk is a well-designed hard plastic case that looks sharp. My usual travel drive is a plain aluminum box that’s as visually appealing as, well, a plain aluminum box. The Shuttle case could be smaller; there is plenty of unused space inside.
Second, the case provides a moderate amount of shock-proofing, which is always important for drives on the go. The enclosure is edged with a blue rubber strip, and the drive is internally mounted with rubber shock mounts. In an actual but unintended, drop test, the Shuttle Disk was pushed off the end of a 4 foot high hotel work table once, landing on its rubberized edge, and suffered not a single nick to the case, or any damage to the disk. The case has rubberized feet, which makes it hard(er) to unintentionally move the drive.
The case seems to be somewhat scratch-resistant, as it came away from four days in my laptop case without any dings. Given that ICY DOCK includes a nice mock velour drawstring carrying bag, there’s no reason for the drive to look less than its best.
Your $44.95 gets you an external case, and not a drive. Of course, you can find the Shuttle a bit cheaper at reputable Internet vendors such as Newegg.com. The Shuttle will accept any 2.5″ notebook drive. You don’t have a 2.5″ drive? They can be had for $70 or so for a 40 GB drive. 100 GB drives can be had for as little as $99.99.
Installation took less than 5 minutes, even on my first attempt. The little paper manual (hurray for paper!) had adequate illustrations to make the installation quick and painless. I installed a Hitachi 80 GB drive borrowed from fellow reviewer John Nemerovski. After plugging in the FireWire cable, the Shuttle popped right up on the desktop with no muss or fuss.
Macintosh users will not need the included external power supply, as Mac FireWire ports provide adequate power to run the drive. PC users will need to schlep the power supply along to power the Shuttle Disk.
Performance is typical for FireWire 400 2.5″ drives. When connected to my Mac Pro, transfer rates average around 14-15 MB/second for reads and writes. Trials on the Mac Book Pro averaged the same 14-15 MB reads and writes. This isn’t blinding speed, but it’s pretty normal for notebook 2.5″ drives. As the Shuttle Disk is probably not going to be used as a boot disk, the performance is satisfactory.
The ICY DOCK is a fine value; it’s fairly shock-proof, attractive, and provides decent FireWire performance. The velour carrying case is a nice additional touch. The enclosure is a bit on the large size for a portable enclosure; shrink it a bit and the unit would be a perfect general-purpose portable hard drive case.