A Closer Look
The Icy Dock MB664UEB-1S External enclosure is very clean-looking with its silver color. The white face is very simple, with a lock, three vents, and a tiny LED. The enclosure is extremely light, actually incredibly so.
There are several models of the MB664.this one, the UEB-1S supports USB and Firewire 800 (IEEE 1394b). The US-1S supports USB and eSATA, and the UEA-1S supports USB and Firewire 400 (IEEE 1394a). All three are the same in appearance, only the interface and chipsets are different.
The MB664UEB-1S has the Oxford 924DSB chipset. No, most PC guys haven’t heard of this, but in the Firewire world it is very highly acclaimed, and the most desirable Firewire 800 chipset.
The rear of the drive is also clean and simplistic, sporting a power connector, a USB connector, and a pair of 9-pin Firewire 800 connectors.
So what’s the big deal about Firewire 800? USB 2.0 transfers data at 480Mbits/second, though this is a theoretical number due to USB’s reliance on host/CPU to manage low-level USB protocol. USB is among the lowest priority of the CPU’s functions, and loads the CPU with interrupts and buffer-copy operations.that is why even when your CPU isn’t busy, you sometimes get lag when transferring large files via USB. You seldom get USB transfer rates at much over 250-350Mbits/s (31.25-43.75MB). Firewire 400 (IEEE 1394a) exchanges data at 400Mbits/sec. It usually ends up being somewhat faster than USB 2.0 due to the fact that Firewire is independent of the CPU, delegating transferral functions to the interface hardware. Besides throughput, other differences are that it uses simpler bus networking, provides more power over the chain, more reliable data transfer, and uses less CPU resources.
Firewire 800 (IEEE 1394b) exchanges data at 800Mbits/sec. So even if USB 2.0 is transferring at its theoretical rate, Firewire 800 is nearly twice as fast. Realistically, it is usually three times as fast or more.
Another benefit of Firewire is the capability of “daisy-chaining” Firewire devices. All Firewire devices have two Firewire ports, one “in” and one “out”. Rather than plugging devices into separate ports on your PC as required by USB, you may plug up to 64 separate Firewire devices into each other, taking up only one port on your PC. How can my rig support 64 separate peripherals you may ask? Since transferral is delegated to the peripheral rather than the CPU, your rig’s performance is affected little or none by additional Firewire devices.
So what about Firewire 800 compared to eSATA? As far as transfer rates, eSATA is over 3 times as fast as Firewire 800, 3000Mbit/s compared to 800Mbit/s. There are some limitations to eSATA, including cable length, which is about 6′ max with eSATA. You could actually have a 300′ Firewire cable. Of course, many motherboards do not support eSATA, but that number is steadily dropping, most new motherboards have at least one eSATA port. Very few laptops support eSATA, though you don’t find many non-Mac laptops supporting Firewire either.
The MB664UEB-1S is totally tool-free. That also includes no tools are required to install a base. The enclosure has its own legs that retract. Very interesting indeed.
With the legs retracted, the enclosure easily lays on its side, enabling use in a horizontal position. No need to try to decide whether you want a horizontally or vertically configured enclosure, the Icy Dock MB664UEB-1S does either one.
And no tools are needed to open the enclosure. Every HDD enclosure I’ve owned came with a screwdriver, a hex wrench, or both, and required 5-10 minutes to get inside. To open the MB664UEB-1S, slide the lock and press the bottom of the front of the enclosure. The drive pops open, allowing access to the hard drive inside.
The Icy Dock MB664UEB-1S comes with an external power supply, a shielded USB cable, and a 9-circuit Firewire 800 cable.