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Up for review today I’ve got another USB 3.0 enclosure, this time from Vantec. It’s called the NexStar 3 SuperSpeed External Hard Drive Enclosure and it’s certainly a very nice looking product. Looks aren’t everything though are they, so that’s why this review, to see how it performs. I’ve put it up against a few other enclosures I’ve got on hand, so continue on to see how it does.
Author: Kristofer Brozio
Form and functionality collide with style in the NexStar 3 SuperSpeed External Hard Drive Enclosure from Vantec. With its mirror finish and sleek curves, the Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed stands out from the crowd. The sturdy drive cage protects your hard drive while the aluminum case effectively draws away the heat, protecting your drive from overheating. Integrated with the latest USB 3.0 technology, performance is increased by 10 fold offering maximum speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Quickly store and back-up your data with the Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed External Hard Drive Enclosure.
-Attractive Mirror Finish Design
-Aluminum Casing Cools Down Your Hard Drive
-Maximum Transfer Rates Up to 5 Gbps w/USB 3.0
-Maximum Transfer Rates Up to 480 Mbps w/USB 2.0
-Easily Add Storage to Any System with USB 1.1/2.0 or 3.0
-Backwards-Compatible with USB 2.0 or 1.1
-Hi-Quality Shielded USB 3.0 Cable Ensures Data Integrity and Speed
-Supports ALL 2.5″ Hard Drives (7mm, 9.5mm, 12.5mm, SSD)
-Hot-Swappable: Plug & Play Without Rebooting
-Attractive Blue LED Indicates Power & HDD Activity
Device Support: SATA I/II Hard Drive
Device Size: 2.5″
Internal Interface: SATA
External Interface: USB 3.0 (Backwards Compatible With USB 2.0 & 1.1)
HD Capacity: Up to 1TB
Dimension: 141 x 82 x 18mm
Vantec knows how to design packaging, the box for the NexStar 3 is very attractive.
Included in the box you’ll find a bag of screws, USB 3.0 cable with extra power connector, documentation, the enclosure itself and a nice nylon carrying case.
Here’s the UBS 3.0 cable, as you can see it has a third USB connection on it, that’s the one for extra power if need be.
The carrying case is actually very nice. It has a zipper on it keep it closed and inside you’ll find two pockets, one is mesh with an elastic strap and the other is solid with a velcro closure.
The NexStar 3 is a very nice looking enclosure, and it’s well made. The enclosure is aluminum, mostly black with silver or chrome accents with the logo and information on it.
On the back end you’ll see the a mini USB 3.0 style connection and an alternate power jack. Not sure why they have the other power jack there when it’s already included on the USB cable.
To install the hard drive you just slide the back out, you’ll see a metal tray that actually holds the drive that you fasten your hard drive to.
When powered on the Vantec logo lights up blue on the front and blinks while active.
I used the same Seagate 7200RPM 500GB hard drive as I used for the other enclosure reviews I’ve done recently. All of the tests were run using USB 3.0 except for the Seagate Freeagent which is natively USB 2.0. I tossed that one and the OCZ Enyo SSD drive in for a nice round comparison.
The same tests as before, ATTO, Crystal DiskMark and a select few from SiSoft Sandra 2011.
First up is ATTO:
Enyo: 142MB/s Write and 257 MB/s Read
Shark: 104MB/s Write and 105 MB/s Read
Siig: 102MB/s Write and 103 MB/s Read
Gauntlet: 101MB/s Write and 103 MB/s Read
Vantec NexStar 3: 98MB/s Write and 101 MB/s Read
Freeagent GoFlex: 77MB/s Write and 79 MB/s Read
Freeagent Go: 30MB/s Write and 34 MB/s Read
As you can see the Vantec NexStar 3 performs a bit slower than the others.
Next would be Crystal DiskMark:
Yet again we see the NexStar 3 is slower than the other enclosures. It’s nice looking but the performance isn’t the greatest.
Next would be test from SiSoft Sandra:
Benchmark hard disks (i.e. the disk itself, not the file system).
As the test measures raw performance it is independent on the file system the disk uses and any volumes mounted off the disk.
Drive Score: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the highest read or write speed across the whole disk. Thus the higher the better.
Access Time: is the average time to read a random sector on the disk, analogous to latency response time. Thus the lower the better.
We see the same position coming in fifth place but they seem close.
Benchmark mounted file systems (i.e. volumes).
This is not the raw disk performance that other benchmarks test – but the speed of the volume itself that depends on many more factors like file system, operating system cache, position on disk, etc. Thus this is the performance you get at the file system level.
Drive Score: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the read, write, and seek tests, and file and cache size. It is intended to represent drive performance under typical use in a PC.
Still slow, but here they all seem fairly close.
Benchmark removable and flash devices
Combined Device Score: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the Combined Score figures over the four file sizes. (Higher is better, i.e. better performance)
Endurance Factor: is a figure representing the Wear and Life Expectancy of flash devices; this is obtained by dividing the average performance (normal condition, i.e. sequential write) to the lowest performance (high-stress condition, i.e. same block re-write).
It measures the relative improvement of endurance caused by the wear leveling or flash management algorithm; the absolute endurance of a device (i.e. its expected life-time) is directly dependent, in addition to this Endurance Factor, on the nominal manufacturer rating of maximum erase/reprogram cycles, which is typically 100,000+ for SLC and 10,000+ for MLC devices. (Higher is better, i.e. longer life-time for the device)
With the Removable Storage test the performance seems to improve a bit with the Nexstar.
The Vantec NexStar 3 is certainly an aesthetically pleasing product, and the quality of the construction is indeed that of high standards. Looking at the tests we can see that looks aren’t everything it seems, for the most part the Vantec NexStar 3 is slower than most other USB 3.0 enclosures I’ve got on hand. It’s not exactly horrible, but still slower than the others.
The carrying case is certainly a nice addition, I think it’s nice to have additional extras included with things.
|+Very nice looking aesthetically
+Well made product
+The aluminum construction should help keep the drive cool
+Includes handy carrying case
|-Performance is not the greatest|
8 out of 10
|Value / Price:|
Disclosure:This product was given to Review the Tech for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review, we do not, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products. This product may have also been bought by us for review purposes and does not influence the review.