Vantec NexStar 3 USB2.0 HDD Enclosure Review
Since USB 2.0 came
along with its 480Mbps transfer rate, external hard drive enclosures have gotten a lot
more practical. Couple that with the falling cost-per-gigabyte of hard
drives, and suddenly using physical drives for external backup looks like a
pretty cost effective solution, especially for small businesses and home users.
The intuitive ease with which Windows XP and 2000
(along with Apple OSX and most recent Linux incarnations) handle
USB attached storage makes backing up to an external USB drive a
painless task for any computer user. The data transfer rates are
still not directly comparable to internal drives, but they are close enough to
make transferring large files bearable.
PCstats, we're taking a quick look at one of Vantec's
latest external IDE drive solutions for USB 2.0, the NexStar
3 enclosure. This sleek black case accomodates any standard 3.5" IDE
hard disk. As you might expect from Vantec, a company which first made its
name with heatsinks, the outer shell of the enclosure is made of solid aluminium
to help draw heat away from the drive inside.
||Vantec NexStar 3 USB2.0 Hard Drive Case
Aluminum enclosure and parts, stand,
USB2.0 cable, power adaptor and plug, driver CD and
The Vantec NexStar
3 enclosure comes in four colours, red, blue, grey and black. We
tested out the 'Onyx Black' version of the product and we were quite impressed
with its shiny black mirror finish. Unfortunately, as with most products
with shiny black cases, fingerprints show rather strongly on the NexStar
The rear of the case holds the
USB and power plugs as well as the power switch.
The front of the case is
featureless except for the Vantec logo which doubles as a snazzy blue activity
LED for the hard drive (when you plug in the internal cable the correct way,
The sides of this enclosure
are featureless except for a set of rubber feet which support it if you decide
to sit it horizontally instead of vertically on the included plastic
stand. The enclosure is fanless and silent.
In our usage tests, the body of the NexStar 3 got mildly warm.
It's worth noting that
the NexStar 3 has no shock protection of any sort, as it's just a
bare aluminium enclosure with an internal drive rack. While it'll provide
a little bit of protection to your drive in a fall, it won't handle rough
Vantec NexStar 3 comes in a nicely illustrated box which includes a USB cable, a
laptop-style external power adaptor, assembly screws, a small print manual and a
CD. The manual is pretty sparse, as you might expect from a product of
this nature, and contains some rather unfortunate ad-copy claiming
that "Form and functionality collide with style in the Vantec