Vantec NexStar-3

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An attractive, light weight 2.5″ aluminum hard drive enclosure – Joe

SUMMARY: An attractive, light weight 2.5″ aluminum hard drive enclosure.

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The good guys at Vantec were nice enough to send a sample of their NexStar-3 2.5″ External Enclosure. The NexStar 3 utilizes a USB 2.0 connection that is backwards compatible to 1.1 (transfer rates up to 480 Mbps with USB 2.0 and 12 Mbps for USB 1.1). It is available in 4 colors (Steel Grey, Onyx Black, Brilliant Red and Midnight Blue) and measures 206 x 133 x 33 mm. There is a blue LED activity light for power and HD usage.

Included is a driver disk for W98 users, USB cable and nylon cary case – a very nice package.

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The unit consists of two parts – the case and the PCB:

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The backside of the PCB shows the key components:

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Installing the drive is a snap – there are four screws to hold the drive onto the PCB – then two screws to mount the PCB to the case – can’t take more than five minutes tops to get going.

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The activity LCD is visible at the lower left of the PCB.

Test Results

I tested the Vantec NexStar-3 using HD Tach 3. I used an IBM Travelstar 40 GB in the NexStar and tested it against an IBM Travelstar 20 GB in the Asus Z71A laptop. Each user will get different results depending upon the drive and laptop used – what I wanted to determine is how the Vantec NexStar-3’s performance compares to the laptop’s drive.

Asus IBM Travelstar 20 GB – Quick Benchmark

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Asus IBM Travelstar 20 GB – Long Benchmark

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Vantec IBM Travelstar 40 GB – Quick Benchmark

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Vantec IBM Travelstar 40 GB – Long Benchmark

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The primary difference among the benchmarks is in CPU Utilization and Burst Speeds – with the Vantec, CPU utilization was higher and Burst Speeds significantly lower. In practical terms, I doubt users will see any performance difference except for possibly intensive file transfers.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, I found Vantec’s NexStar-3 easy to set up and a snap to use – the only time the driver disk is needed is for Windows 98 users. The enclosure is attractive and the aluminum case sturdy enough for portable use – carried in its nylon case, you’d have to do some serious damage to harm it. Performance will depend on hard drive characteristics.

Overall, a very nice package for users looking for portable or personal data storage.

Thanks again to Vantec for sending this our way.

Email Joe

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