After I lost a hard drive and just barely managed to
recover 90% of the data I vowed never, NEVER, to save my important work on a single hard drive ever again. From then on it's
been smooth sailing under the protective cover of RAID 1.
RAID stands for Redundant Array of
Independent Disks, and the "1" designates the kind of RAID array where the same
data is mirrored on two identical hard disks. If one drive fails, there's
always an up to date working copy at hand. Take a look at this PCSTATS
Guide to RAID if you'd like to learn more, it's not difficult to set up since
RAID is a standard feature on most motherboards these days.
found hard drive racks the most convenient way to manage the pairs of RAID 1 drives in my PC. Forced cooling is
often part of multi-bay drive racks to prevent excessive heat build up, something that isn't always so with PC chassis.
A hot swappable backplane means I never have to fiddle with plugs and data cables, and the
drives are always at hand for remote backups or upgrades.
Icydock recently introduced a nice tool free hot
swap module called the MB673SPF-B which stores three hard drives in the
space of two 5.25" drive bays, no hard drive rails required. Just open up one of
the three bays, slide a SATA hard drive in and close the door. The hard drive
automatically engages with SATA data and power connectors, no screws required!
The ICYDock MB673SPF-B is
a really convenient Serial ATA hard drive backplane module that retails for about $110 USD (HDD not included).
||IcyDock MB673SPF-B 3-Bay Hard Drive Bay Module
| Instructions, mounting screws,
(HDDs not included)
The module provides a convenient way
to increase data storage capacity in any computer case with at
least two open 5.25" drive bays. It has the added benefit of hot swapping
data/power connections for each drive, and supports SATAI or SATAII standards. Only hard drives
with SATA power connectors can be used.
At the back of the unit all cables are centralized, so
wire clutter is minimized. An 80mm cooling fan draws air over
each drive and this helps to keep temperatures from escalating in
the confined space. The fan can be removed for cleaning as well.
Serial ATA hard drives
are inserted right side up into the ICYDock MB673SPF-B almost all the way. The
door can then be closed, and doing so pushes the hard
drive back to engage it with the SATA data and power
connectors on the backplane. That's it, literally.
To remove the hard drive a little aluminum lever is
lifted up on the somewhat flimsy plastic door, this releases an equally flimsy catch and
allows the door to open. Each door is mechanically linked to
a small metal lever which automatically disengages the hard drive from the SATA
data and power connectors. By the time there is enough hard drive
to grasp the drive has powered down and can be gently handled
by the edges without any special precautions.
The ICYDock MB673SPF-B doesn't have any locking mechanisms to
prevent a hard drive from being removed, so in that respect
it's not very suitable for publicly accessible computers.
That's about all there is to the ICYDock MB673SPF-B multi-bay
hard drive module. The device is effectively transparent to the Serial ATA
hard drives that are installed in it, with no impact on data throughput.
The IcyDock MB673SPF-B SATA hard drive module will accommodate most
PC chassis configurations but... there are at least two critical areas
which may conflict with some chassis designs.