Icy Dock Screwless 3.5" Enclosure and "The Hybrid"
Installation is incredibly straight forward with the enclosure and "The Hybrid". I'll begin with "The Hybrid".
"The Hybrid" installs like any other PCI device, with the exception that it is only a bracket, and not a PCI card. Lock it into place and it's secure. Next, plug the SATA cable in to an available SATA slot, and connect the power molex to an available power molex (make sure it's a full four pin one, and not a two pin fan molex). "The Hybrid" is now successfully installed.
I think installation with the enclosure may be even simple than "The Hybrid". I first made sure that the locking mechanism was set to unlocked, then I pressed the lower portion of the front panel. The front panel slid open, giving me full access to the interior. I selected a drive, the Hitachi 7K1000 1TB drive, and slid it in. By closing the door on the unit, the drive was secured. Now all that's left is to connect the cables and fire the thing up.
Usage & Linux Compatibility
When I fired up the host machine, I immediately noticed that the Hitachi 1TB 7K1000 drive was detected just like any other SATA drive. Booting in to Windows, I was able to access the drive and use it just like any other, even like when the drive was connected internally.
Using the eSATA connection, HDTach and the Sandra Suite revealed now difference in read or write speeds in Windows. I wasn't surprised, as there's no data manipulation between the drive and computer. It's still just a SATA cable between the two; one cable just so happens to have a different shape for additional shielding.
The one issue I have with the enclosure is that it is a passively cooled unit. Despite being constructed from aluminum, the unit does tend to heat up quite a bit. I don't think 60°C is quite hot enough to kill a drive, but it's not the most pleasant unit to pick up after it's been used for an hour or more.
Restarting the system in to Gentoo Linux, I once again ran in to no issues testing the drive. Benchmarks with hdparm and file copy tests again revealed no change in Linux performance. I don't know whether Icy Dock chooses not to market the drive to Linux users, or if they simply don't have a Linux box to test with, but the drive works fine in Linux.
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