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Vantec NexStar 3 NST-260SU-BK eSATA Enclosure

 

Vantec has done an excellent job of joining function with fashion with their new NexStar 3 hard drive enclosure. While they offer nearly thirty different drive enclosure solutions, the NexStar 3 is a solid eSATA enclosure which offers extremely fast 3Gbps transfer rates. If your computer is not equipped with the new eSATA port, then you should be glad that Vantec has included one with the NexStar 3 kit; It’s even been designed to operate with existing USB 2.0 and 1.1 connections as well. Finally, there has never been a better reason to keep large data files and backups within reach since 2.5″ hard drives now hold several hundred gigabytes.

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Introduction

We are in the age of mobile data and removable media.  You can see it all around us.  Most industry professionals keep a portable computing device in close company, and nearly everyone carries a USB flash drive on them.  Cell phones double as MP3 players, and MP3 players double as personal video devices.  It seems progressive then that external hard disks are quickly becoming something more of a personal carry item as their size grows smaller.

While it wasn’t that long ago that external hard drive market was all square and silver, the industry has learned to evolve from its monochrome king-size past.  And like every good manufacturer, they learn from the past and listen to the customer so that they can offer a better future.  With 2.5″ hard disk drives making a leap from notebook computers to PDA’s, it wasn’t long before they were replacing the old guard.

Vantec NexStar 3 NST-260SU-BK

One company has become a pioneer in the field of drive enclosures, and has paid close attention to the trends.  This company is Vantec.  By all measurements, Vantec has a rich history in the market, and it clearly shows in their products.  Although they still outfit the traditional hard drives with elegant and attractive enclosures, this review will concentrate on what keeps them on the cutting edge: The Vantec NexStar 3 eSATA hard disk enclosure for 2.5″ drives.

About the company: Vantec

Founded in 1994, Vantec is recognized as one of the premier thermal solutions leaders. We are devoted to manufacturing and developing total PC solutions for every computer user, from mainstream to enthusiast. Utilizing our technical expertise and innovative designs, we are constantly expanding our product line to offer advanced computer peripheral to meet the personal and industrial needs of modern computer users. Our primary goal is to create viable solutions to satisfy the consumer’s needs. Offering complete and affordable ways to upgrade and maintain your personal computer, Vantec is a name you can trust for quality and reliability.

Vantec offers many enclosure solutions in several vibrant colors

At Vantec, our mission is to produce the best thermal solutions on the market. Vantec produces quality products that help you keep your system cool. However, that is only the beginning. We produce two of the quietest power supplies on the market in our Stealth Power Supply and ION Power Supply. Our Multi-function Panel (NXP-101) and fan controllers (NXP-201 and NXP-205) give you a variety of options to monitor and control the temperature and noise of your computer. We also provide cold cathode lights in a myriad of colors, including UV, for you to light up your computer. And with our new Fan and Light controller (NXP-301 and NXP-305), you can control your fan speed and lights all with one convenient unit.

Adhering to the theory of both form and functionality, Vantec has the end-user’s best interest in mind. Though the computer scene is constantly changing, you can rely on Vantec to provide quality components to improve, enhance, and insure your computing experience.

Closer Look:

Vantec is very aware of its competitor’s shortcomings, and has made certain not to follow in the footsteps of failure.  Unlike many drive enclosures, the NexStar 3 comes with everything you could ever use, so there is no reason to search for or purchase additional accessories.  Packaged with the enclosure you will find everything necessary to make this product perform above and beyond the ordinary.

Features:

  • Aluminum casing – assists in cooling your hard drive
  • Transfer rates up to 3Gbps with eSATA connection
  • Transfer rates up to 480Mbps with USB 2.0 (12Mbps with USB 1.1)
  • Easily add storage to any system with USB
  • Hot swappable – plug & play without rebooting Windows
  • Attractive blue LED indicates power and hard disk activity
  • Currently support up to 160GB hard drives

Form and functionality collide with style in the NexStar 3 External SATA Hard Drive Enclosure from Vantec.  With its mirror finish, sleek curves and bold colors, the Vantec NexStar 3 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.  The NexStar 3 features eSATA (external Serial ATA) and USB 2.0 interfaces offering speeds up to 3Gbps or 480Mbps respectively.  This flexibility allows you to use your hard drive at its full performance where eSATA is available and still have the option of using USB where it’s not.  The NexStar 3 is an ideal way to store and transfer large amounts of data in an enclosure that matches your style!

Specifications:

Model: NST-260SU-BK
Interface: SATA to eSATA & USB 2.0
Dimension: 206 x 123 x 33mm
Supports: Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista / Mac OS 8.6+
Maximum supported drive height: 9.5mm

Contents:

  • 2.5″ SATA Hard Disk Drive Enclosure
  • Driver Disc
  • User Manual
  • eSATA Cable
  • SATA to eSATA bracket
  • USB 2.0 Cable
  • Mounting Screws
  • Nylon Carry Case

All these items come in one small kit: NexStar 3

 

Final Thoughts

Vantec has done an excellent job of joining function with fashion with their new NexStar 3 hard drive enclosure. While they offer nearly thirty different drive enclosure solutions, the NexStar 3 is a solid eSATA enclosure which offers extremely fast 3Gbps transfer rates. If your computer is not equipped with the new eSATA port, then you should be glad that Vantec has included one with the NexStar 3 kit; It’s even been designed to operate with existing USB 2.0 and 1.1 connections as well. Finally, there has never been a better reason to keep large data files and backups within reach since 2.5″ hard drives now hold several hundred gigabytes.

Perfect in design, and nearly perfect delivery, I did have one small complaint about the NexStar 3: it shows each and every finger print that touches the enclosure.  Maybe this is a good thing, just in case you are the paranoid type, but I found my ties to cleanliness put to the test with this enclosure.  I also noticed that the NexStar 3 offers a 5V DC power jack but does not include a power adapter, nor is it offered on their web site.

Conclusion


Pros:

 

+  Very well designed and constructed
+  Excellent cooling performance
+  Incredible attention to detail
+  eSATA cable and bracket are included
+  Extremely durable all-aluminum construction
+  Attractive and fashionable design
+  Rugged nylon carry-case is included


Cons:

 

-  Even clean hands will leave finger prints 

Final Score

I rate the Vantec NexStar 3 with a 9.0 (Extremely Good) out of 10 and the Bjorn3d.com Golden Bear Award.

 

Special Thank-you:

This review would not be possible if it weren’t for manufacturers like Vantec who are willing to stick their neck out there and have a picky hardware analysts like me dissect their products.  I am grateful, and certainly appreciate the opportunity.

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