After having tested the Akasa integral, I wanted to find just as stylish a 2.5" case, but with less frills. While visiting the local stores, I saw a rather interesting proposal, the "IcyBox". Not a well known brand, at least not then, but I thought I would give it a try and see if it was any good. And at a price of €25 Euros, it was not too high for this category of device.
- High speed: USB 2.0 interface, backwards, compatible with existing USB 1.1 ports
- Stylish leather and aluminum case
- Plug and play/hot swappable
- USB bus powered via connection transfer cable to USB port
- OS support for Win 98SE/ME/2000/XP/ Mac OS 8.6 above
- Application 2.5" IDE device
- Interface USB 2.0 and 1.1 compliant
- Data Transfer Rate 480Mb/Sec
- Material Body: Aluminum
- Frame: Leather
- HDD power & access indicator Green LED
- Hot swap/plug & play
- Net dimensions (HxBxT): 52x203x203
Gross dimensions (HxBxT): 410x290x400
- Product-Name: IB-281U
2. Package Contents
The IcyBox IB-281U was bought at the retail price of €25.
This is probably the most you will pay for a similar device. The package is quite small and includes:
- The external case itself
- A two way USB-DC-USB cable
- A CD with drivers
The case is made of aluminum alloy and leather covering, with the Icy Box logo embossed on the protective leather strap. Keep in mind that fingerprints are a real headache on the polished aluminum finish.
On the back, there are the device ID and Serial Number, as well as CE and FCC approvals.
Removing the protective leather strap provides access to a USB cable that is kept inside the case so that it can't be accidentally damaged.
3. Installation and Performance
In order to install a 2.5" HDD drive in the case, you simply need to remove the bottom cover, by sliding forward and and move to the side, as shown by the arrows in the picture below.
With the case open, simply slide your 2.5" HDD in place.
Then, replace the bottom cover and your case is ready to roll!
In our tests, we used a Seagate ST9100824A and HD Tach software, connected to an Asus M2N32 WS Pro motherboard. We are also going to compare the IcyBox IB-281U with the Akasa Integral.
The test results from HD Tach showed that the Aka Integral was faster by 0.6MB/sec, a significant difference, especially when copying big data files. The performance with the USB host was somewhat slower too (36 vs 35 Mb/sec).
I must admit that I was hesitant about buying a device from a company I had not heard of. But it was the overall stylish case with the leather finish that swayed me and I can say that all in all, I am a satisfied customer.
The IcyBox IB-281U is an attractive 2.5" external case, mainly aimed at professionals who require a stylish case, with good performance of course. The aluminum alloy and leather materials keep that promise. There is no need for an external AC/DC adapter since the device is powered from the USB interface.
The retail package is complete with all required cables. You also don't need a screwdriver to install your HDD in the case. The device has two LEDs, one green and one orange to show the operation status.
Coming to the performance part, compared with the Akasa Integral, the performance was somewhat slower, by 0.6Mb/sec in the reading and 1Mb/sec in the USB2.0 connection with the Asus M2N32WS Pro motherboard. While numbers don't mean all that much to end users, you will notice the difference when copying large files...
Overall, I can say that the IcyBox IB-281U is a stylish case with good performance. Its price probably places among the more expensive in this category of device, but €25 isn't that much to pay for what this case offers...