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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [05.21.06]
Manufactured by: Vantec



I don't have to explain how handy an external drive enclosure can be. Such devices have been covered by us twice, comparing them to other types of portable storage. In all cases, it ends up being the best solution for those who need to transfer large amounts of data between a couple locations. It's not the most portable method, but the USB and FireWire devices we've looked at in the past have been the best in price and performance.

But what if USB or FireWire isn't enough? What if you want to use a 500 GB drive, and transfer that much data every day? Chugging along at 35 MB/s, that is going to take quite a while.

Vantec has just the solution.

The NexStar 3 from Vantec follows a line of good external drives - we've looked at the NexStar 2 and really liked it. Right away, you can see how striking the NexStar 3 looks, and on top of that, it is also available in blue and red. Internally, it is even more improved from other drive enclosures.

The NexStar 3 connects via USB 2.0, as we've seen before, but also eSATA. This is the first enclosure I've seen with eSATA support.

What is eSATA?

eSATA is essentially nothing more than a pin rearrangement of standard SATA. You simply connect a bracket to any SATA port on the motherboard. From there, you use a cable to connect the NexStar 3 to the now external SATA port on the back of the PC. Since SATA only passes data and not power, you still need an external power source for the drive. This is fine though; neither USB nor FireWire would provide enough power for a 7200 RPM desktop drive anyhow.

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