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Whaler_99

The 3x2 Storage Cage Review

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is the second of three reviews I will "doing". I emphasize doing as these were done by myself some time ago on another forum but wanted to post them here for the benefit of everyone, especially those getting into storage.

 


 

iStarUSA BPN-DE230SS (Blue) (3x2)

 

Initial Thoughts:

  • Packaging is fine, should arrive without any damage
  • Unit is "shrink" wrapped
  • Unit overall has a pretty solid feel
  • Grooves in the side, to allow the tabs separating 5.25" cages to fit. Should work on most cases.
  • Includes 3 locking SATA cables and screws
  • Really light weight, especially compared to the 5x3 cages
  • Really nicely designed rear, ample room for SATA and power Cables
  • Heavy duty switches for the FAN speed and HDD LED.
  • Supports 6Gb/s SATA Connections
  • Uses a standard size 70x70x15 rear fan, easy to get at, but custom 3 pin connector
  • Basic manual included, shows the orientation between the trays and SATA connectors in the rear, but nothing on the unit itself to show which tray is which numbered slot
  • Drive cage handles are a combination of aluminum and plastic. Pretty solid. There are holes drilled in the front, but there is a metal flap behind them. This is to help apply pressure to the drive when inserted, but also will block airflow somewhat

 

Inside:

  • Looks like cooling should be ok - pass through holes in the rear for each drive

 

Installation:

  • Mounting a "standard" drive is pretty straight forward. Note though, not all 3.5" drives are the same thickness. The average is about 25mm, which fits perfectly in. Some drives though are a slightly slimmer, coming in at 20mm. Special attention has to be placed when loading these as the SATA ports in the rear may not line up perfectly. If you force it, it will break inner components. If you mount the drives after the cage is installed, there shouldn’t be any issues, as gravity is your friend.
  • Once installed, a standard thickness drive in in pretty solid. Getting drive in was pretty smooth as was removing it.
  • Once installed, a slimmer drive is not perfectly secured in the cage. The back (front?) of the drive can move within the drive mount. As long as you are not moving your case, shouldn't be much of an issue. Will vibration though affect drive over time?
  • Included screws, tested with some standard ones you would use to mount a CD-ROM, worked fine.
  • Slides into case nicely. Even a bit loose. Screw holes line up fine. No issues, in my case, with the drive rails in the 5.25” bays

 

LED (as observed):

  • Blue power led, not overly bright
  • Blue HDD Power led

 

Overall Thoughts:

   I have been looking forward to trying out one of these trayless units to see just how well and sturdy the drives are inside. Very convenient being able to just pull and push drives in and out without having to mess with drive trays. I really like this.

   Nice to see the SATA only power connectors. More and more modern PSU units going away with Molex and putting in more and more of the SATA form factor. No need to waste space adding in Molex power connections.

    Lots of clearance for all the cable connections in the rear. Great design and layout.

   Still wondering about the drive and long term vibration issue, especially on the thinner drives. The standard drives though are in there pretty solid.

   Fan was great - at LOW was very quiet and then at high still not overly loud. Would be drowned out by most other components. At low speed though, I couldn't really detect any air being drawn in the front. At high speed I could feel a bit.

   Really sharp looking cage. Solid black design, nice satin finish and the blue on the front, really pops.

 

Icy Dock MB153SP-B (3x2)

 

Initial Thoughts:

  • External packaging is good, lots of info on the box.
  • Packaging is good, unit comes wrapped in plastic.
  • Individually sealed drive tray and cage screws, labeled also. Tested with standard screws used for CD-ROMs, can be used to secure this cage
  • Does not include any SATA cables
  • Standard 80mm fan and standard connectors for both two pin and three pin fans, very nice. Some anti vibration material also applied.
  • Really solid feeling cage
  • Drive trays seem pretty flimsy. I believe the trays though are compatible with various models
  • Only two cut outs in the rear PCB, but almost full width, so cooling should be ok.

 

Installation:

  • SATA power, minor issue with the connections. As per the pic, the way the connectors are wired in series on most PSU's can make it a bit tight depending on which plug you are using. The cabling on the SATA power connector is pretty tight.
  • Mounting a drive in the drive cage on this unit is tedious. When you pull out the drive tray, you then have to remove this plastic spacer unit that is installed. They have to have that as the rails are a bit flimsy. Put the drive in, they provide 3 holes per rail that all line up. Bit of a balancing act to get the drives screwed in.
  • Drive trays slid in and out pretty smoothly.
  • Slides into case nicely. Good snug fit. Screw holes line up fine. No issues, in my case, with the drive rails in the 5.25” bays.

 

LED (as observed):

  • Green power on LED for the HDD

 

Overall Thoughts

   Has a three year warranty, which is a nice plus, they expect the cage to last as long as your hard drive.

   Fan cable came tied down with a twist tie to the edge, bit of rudimentary cable management. Can't say enough about the fan solution now, brilliant.

   No fan speed controller, but the included 80mm one isn’t too noisy at all, and you can feel the air being pulled in front the front. Very easy to swap in a quieter fan if that is your thing or something with more draw.

   Another solid case that looks good installed. Minor issue with layout in the rear though.

 

CoolerMaster STB-3T4-E3 (4x3) - just added this in :)

 

Initial Thoughts:

  • Packaging is fine, should arrive without any damage
  • Very lightweight
  • No backplane nor hot swap support, all drives directly screwed into the cage
  • Excellent cooling, from a standard sized, front mounted 120mm fan

 

Installation:

  • Pretty straight forward, just a bit tedious screwing in all the drives into the cage
  • Have to disconnect everything and remove cage just to swap a single drive.

 

LED (as observed):

  • As there is no backplane, no LED's per say, but units does include a Blue LED fan

 

Final Thoughts:

   Just getting started? Here is a great option to get a few more drives into your case without shelling out a $100 plus to get a 5x3. Excellent value for the money and great cooling potential.

   A bit tedious removing the whole thing every time you want to work on a drive, but, still excellent option.

   Remember to mark down all your connections so everything is hooked up properly when you re-install it.

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hmmmmmm....Anyone think there is a way I could turn this into an external nas for backup?

 

Not really, be messy as hell to try and run externally. There are external JBOD storage cages that connect via USB or eSATA which would be much better.


Forum Links - Community Standards, Privacy Policy, FAQ, Features Suggestions, Bug and Issues.

Folding/Boinc Info - Check out the Folding and Boinc Section, read the Folding Install thread and the Folding FAQ. Info on Boinc is here. Don't forget to join team 223518. Check out other users Folding Rigs for ideas. Don't forget to follow the @LTTCompute for updates and other random posts about the various teams.

Follow me on Twitter for updates @Whaler_99

 

 

 

 

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Not really, be messy as hell to try and run externally. There are external JBOD storage cages that connect via USB or eSATA which would be much better.

Ive looked at those but they usually seem fairly expensive. This one has a really nice price but yeah it looks like it would be pretty tough to rig up.

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I've been looking around for something like this lately, and by god you don't know how helpful this has been!


Specs: 4790k | Asus Z-97 Pro Wifi | MX100 512GB SSD | NZXT H440 Plastidipped Black | Dark Rock 3 CPU Cooler | MSI 290x Lightning | EVGA 850 G2 | 3x Noctua Industrial NF-F12's

Bought a powermac G5, expect a mod log sometime in 2015

Corsair is overrated, and Anime is ruined by the people who watch it

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I've been looking around for something like this lately, and by god you don't know how helpful this has been!

 

Excellent! :)


Forum Links - Community Standards, Privacy Policy, FAQ, Features Suggestions, Bug and Issues.

Folding/Boinc Info - Check out the Folding and Boinc Section, read the Folding Install thread and the Folding FAQ. Info on Boinc is here. Don't forget to join team 223518. Check out other users Folding Rigs for ideas. Don't forget to follow the @LTTCompute for updates and other random posts about the various teams.

Follow me on Twitter for updates @Whaler_99

 

 

 

 

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