RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

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


The Test

We'll keep the test simple for this simple product. We'll test it in both USB 2.0 and eSATA mode, and test the drive itself in standard internal SATA mode. HDTach should be sufficient. If you're curious how this type of device would compare to other portable storage products, you can check out our two Portable Storage Guides.

The drive used in these tests is a Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250 GB. The motherboard is an NFORCE4 Ultra.

AsĀ  you can see, eSATA allows you to have an external hard drive with the exact same performance as an internal SATA drive.

Quite simply, the NexStar 3 is probably the best external drive enclosure available today. First of all, it allows you to use a SATA hard drive, so you don't have to buy a hard drive with a dead form factor to go in it.

Secondly, the inclusion of eSATA is perfect for those who have to transfer large amounts of data between systems physically. If this is not needed, it works perfectly well as a USB 2.0 drive.

My only gripes are that it only includes one eSATA bracket (one would assume you are going to use this with at least two systems) and that it collects fingerprints rather fast. In the latter case, I guess that is part of having a great looking product (just look at the iPod Nano and Sony PSP).

The external power supply is a bit bulky as well; the brick and cables take up about as much room in a bag as the device itself. However any alternative would probably be just as big and ugly. 3.5" drives don't make for the smallest most portable solutions; if you're looking for that, look into one that uses notebook drives.

Discuss this article in the forum!

  • Offers full drive speed in a portable format
  • Supports SATA hard drives
  • Fastest USB 2.0 enclosure we've come across
  • Looks great
  • Low price

  • Only one eSATA bracket included
  • Collects fingerprints
  • External power supply is a bit bulky