The Black Vortex is a nice change from what we’ve normally seen from Icy Dock. It has a really unique design and the front LED fan gives some style to your case. On top of that it gives you the ability to install four 3.5-inch hard drives in three 5.25-inch drive bays. So if you are running out of storage space in your case this is a very viable option if you have unused 5.25-inch drive bays.
One thing that I really liked about the Black Vortex was that most of the device was made of metal. Lots of times we see drive bay devices be made of plastic. Although the locking devices that do hold your drives are plastic, it would have been nice if they were metal too. Having the metal exterior will ensure that the Black Vortex lasts for quite some time. The inclusion of the cooling fan on the front of the unit not only will help keep your drive cool, but also adds some style with its blue LEDs. I have seen many bay devices where the cooling fans were on the back. This means you may run into clearance issues with your motherboard and other components. If you don’t like the LEDs on the cooling fan they can be turned off. There is also a filter on the fan that can be removed and easily cleaned.
With my case I was not able to fully open the front of the unit when it was installed. This is because the Cooler Master Cosmos II has a front door and the drive bays are not flush with the front of the case. So if you have a case with a front door you may not be able to open the front door of the unit to hot-swap or change out your drives. The second thing that bothered me about the Black Vortex is that the SATA connections on the back are not really protected or reinforced at all. You could easily bump them when installing other hardware or could could pull hard on one of the SATA cables and they could break.
I think that if you are looking for more room for hard drives inside of your case the Black Vortex is a great choice and is more attractive than other drive bay devices out there. At only $46 at my favorite online retailer it is not a bad deal either. You just want to make sure it will work with your case. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Icy Dock Black Vortex (MB074SP-1B) Hot Swap Module an 8 out of 10 score.
– Unique and different design
– Can fit four 3.5-inch drives in three 5.25-inch drive bays
– Blue LED cooling fan
– Outer shell made of steel
– Front door may not be able to open in all cases
– SATA connections can easily be damaged