Date Subject
Aug-03-14 General FAQ

Q   What is the maximum drive capacity that Icy Dock enclosures can hold?

o    3.5” products can use drives up to 8TB in size. Special Notes: There are a few older models of the MB559 series, MB664 series, and MB881 series that are limited to support of up to 2TB. The MB662UEAB-2S can only use 2TB in each slot when using the device in RAID 1 or JBOD modes. When used in RAID 0 or BIG mode, a maximum size of 1TB can be used in each slot.

o    2.5” products depend on the height of the drive. To date, all of our products can only handle drives with a 9.5mm heights. Larger drives such as 750GB and 1TB drives may have a 12.5mm height, and therefore will not fit. Please see the product specific FAQs for the 2.5” product in question.

Q   Do I need any drivers to make my Icy Dock enclosure work?

o    All Icy Dock products are plug and play compatible. If a product is not recognized by the system, please check to make sure all hardware and interface drivers (ie: USB and eSATA drivers) are up to date and functioning correctly.

Q   Can I use my Icy Dock enclosure on (2) computers at the same time?

o    No. Attempting to access the device on multiple computers using multiple interfaces may cause data loss or corruption to the drive.

Q   What file system should I use to format my drive?

o    Windows/PC Users should format their drive using Windows NT File System, or NTFS for short. This assures that your drive will be accessible on all Windows based systems for read and write capability. NTSF drives are able to be read in Mac OS X natively, however without additional software or drivers the user does not have the ability to modify files or write to the drive.

o    Mac Users should format their drives in Mac OS Extended. Journaling must be enabled to use with Time Machine in OS X versions 10.5 and later. Mac formatted drives are not compatible with Windows operating systems unless additional software or drives are downloaded.

o    Formatting in FAT32 or MS-DOS will allow the drive to have read and write capabilities on both Windows and Mac systems; however file size is limited to 4GB.

Q   Can I connect both connection interfaces at the same time?

o    No. In most cases, connecting both interfaces at the same time will cause the drive to not function and may cause data loss or corruption. On our USB and eSATA  2.5” mobile products, USB is required to be connected along with eSATA in order to provide power to the drive.

Q   What is the difference between eSATA and SATA?

o    eSATA is an external version of SATA. The main difference between the two interfaces is the physical connector types on both the device and host sides. eSATA connectors are also electromagnetically shielded with a small metal cage around the tip.

Q   How do I choose between the different interfaces offered on Icy Dock external products?

o    The two main transfer port standards of today are USB and eSATA.  USB has several versions; USB 2.0 and 3.0 are very common ports today.  All are generally compatible with each other although you will need the latest drivers for USB 3.0 and beyond.  eSATA is the external version of the SATA connector.  While not as common as USB, eSATA is out there with many various computers that support it.   All of our external products today have USB compatibility and some of them also can connect via eSATA.

o    Windows/PC users tend to use USB and eSATA. USB can be found on virtually all computers currently. eSATA, while still not the dominant interface, is also on most new computers. USB offers about 25-45 MB/sec transfer rate with a standard SATA drive while USB 3.0 offers between 80-160 MB/sec. eSATA offers between 100~200MB/sec transfer rate with a standard SATA drive. One major limitation to eSATA is that it requires an external power source, making it less ideal for mobile product use.

o    Mac users tend to use Firewire 400 and Firewire 800 due to it being standard on most Apple computers. Firewire 400 has similar transfer rates to USB while Firewire 800 has transfer rates around 50-70MB/s. Both Firewire standards include power and are perfect for mobile use.

Q   Why do I get errors when I unplug my device using USB / Firewire?

o    This happens when a drive is not properly removed from the system. The drive must be “safely removed” when in My Computer (Windows) or in Finder (Mac).

Q   Why does my computer freeze and lock up when I unplug my eSATA / SATA drive?

o   Make sure you enable AHCI in your system bios.  Hot swapping is not possible if AHCI is not enabled.  Check your motherboard/computer documentation regarding changing this setting.  Also, make sure your motherboard can support hot swapping.

Q   Why is my transfer speed not as fast as it is listed on the product packaging?

o    The transfer rates on our product packaging as well as on our product pages are listed in mega bits per second, rather than mega bytes per second. A single byte contains 8 bits, so 1 mega byte contains 8 mega bits. A transfer rate of 400 mega bits per second is approximately 50 mega bytes per second.

o    Transfer rates rely on many factors such as hard drive type, cable length, chipset controller for hard drive, and amount of files being transferred at once. For platter based hard drives, the rotating speed of the drive is the biggest indicator or how fast transfer rates will be. For 7200 RPM drives, you can expect 80-110MB/sec in most cases while using eSATA, SATA, or USB 3.0, and Firewire 800 around 50-70MB/sec. Speeds will be around 25-45MB/sec for USB and a little bit less for Firewire 400. A 5400 RPM drive will at maximum see speeds of 45-55 MB/sec with any interface.  SSDs (solid state drive) has much faster transfer speeds, sometimes exceeding 200MB/sec, depending on other conditions.

o    Using a RAID configuration such as RAID 0 can greatly improve drive performance; it also comes with risk of losing your data if a drive has an error or fails.

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