Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Enclosure

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Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 EnclosureVantec being the leader in external enclosures has offered to allow us a first hand look at their new enclosure from the NexStar line entitled SuperSpeed. The NexStar enclosure was one the first to offer great looks without comprising performance. Characterisics to the box has always been the shiny exterior layer, upright stance and the growing blue Vantec logo. But is the USB 3.0 hype worth it? We hope after this review we will have answered this question.

Introduction to the Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed

With the exception of new chipsets there isn't really that has happen in the world of motherboards over the last year or two. Yes, Intel has given us new chipsets like the X58 and the P55/H55. Yes, we have gotten motherboard with enough PCIe slots to support a abnormal amount of graphic cards. But we really haven't seen anything that would make an computer user go out and purchase a new motherboard if thet were running a older Core2Duo or equivalent processor. Well until now.

As of last I have seen more and more individuals asking for USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0. The only two real technology advancements in recent times to make people feel they have to have it. Of the two USB 3.0 is what I see more people asking for. Rightfully so, USB has been the biggest form of external to PC connect to date. With the introduction to USB 3.0 we see performance increase 10 times that of USB 2.0 up to 5 Gbps. So backup your important data is fast and given us a sense of relief in no time.

Vantec being the leader in external enclosures has offered to allow us a first hand look at their new enclosure from the NexStar line entitled SuperSpeed. The NexStar enclosure was one the first to offer great looks without comprising performance. Characterisics to the box has always been the shiny exterior layer, upright stance and the growing blue Vantec logo. But is the USB 3.0 hype worth it? We hope after this review we will have answered this question.

Vantec take on the 3 SuperSpeed

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.


Specifications

 Model: NST-380S3-BK
 Device Support: SATA I/II Hard Drive
 Device Size: 3.5"
 Internal Interface: SATA
 External Interface: USB 3.0 (Backwards Compatible With USB 2.0 & 1.1)
 HD Capacity: Up to 2TB*
 Material: Aluminum
 Dimension: 206 x 123 x 33mm

Features

  • 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
  • Hot-Swappable: Plug & Play Without Rebooting
  • Attractive Blue LED Indicates Power & HDD Activity

Closer look

The begin with almost everything that you see come from Vantec with the USB 3.0 protocol will be within the SuperSpeed line. So we will try and remember that and not call the item SuperSpeed. And the first USB 3.0 item from Vantec we will be test here at Pro-Clockers will be the NexStar 3 for 3.5" hard drives. The first model to be released is all black with possible other colors coming in the future.

Many of you maybe familiar with the NexStar enclosures from Vantec as they are one of the best selling enclosures on the market. And if you have ever had one you will also know that they are very prone to fingerprint gathering. Thank goodness there isn't many reasons to have to handle the unit. The fingerprints are because of the super shiny mirror finish what it processes.

When it comes to branding the unit Vantec did it very touchful. Marked on each of the sides is the NexStar 3 logo with the SuperSpeed series written in blue. Besides that there isn't much more going on each for the four rubber stomps that are used if you decide to lay the unit on its side.

The rear of the enclosure house all the connectors needed to give it power as well as attach it to the PC. This would include a USB 3.0 connector as well as a four pin power connector. A toogle switch turns the unit off and on.

The opposite end has the Vantec logo that when powered glows a bright blue.


Installation

There isn't much to installing a HDD into the NexStar3. All that is required is to unscrew the exposed screws on the input end of the enclosure and slide it out. Once out you will see the SATA connector and power cables hanging from the backside. Once all is connected screw the HDD into the tray and slide all back into the enclosure.

Testing

We finally get a chance to use of the features on a motherboard we are currently testing. The Gigabyte GA-EP55A-UD6 is one of the first motherboards with USB 3.0 as well as SATA 600.

Testing Hardware:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP55A-UD6
Processor: Intel Core i7 860 @ 3.8GHz at 1.38 volts
Ram: G-Skill ECO PC12800 4GB Dual Channel
Video Card: XFX HD 4770
HDD: Seagate 7200.11
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: NA
Cooling: Dynatron Genius
OS: Windows XP SP3
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

Testing Software:
HD Tune Pro 3.50

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

  • Benchmark: measures the performance
  • Info: shows detailed information
  • Health: checks the health status by using SMART
  • Error Scan: scans the surface for errors
  • Temperature display

Results

As you can see we easily determined that USB 3.0 outperformed USB 2.0 and eSATA and the NexStar enclosure does it part in confirming these.

HD Tune USB 2.0 Read

HD Tune USB 2.0 Write

AS SSD USB 2.0

HD Tune USB 3.0 Read

HD Tune USB 3.0 Write

AS SSD USB 3.0


Conclusion

If it really nice to see that there is technology now that will allow for faster external data transfer. And the NexStar SuperSpeed looks great allowing us to come to this determination. The NexStar from Vantec has always led the way when it came to external perpherials, like they did with firewire, eSATA and USB 2.0 protocols. Now that USB 3.0 has came over the horizon we are seeing a lot of new devices from Vantec via their website. And many of them you will see right here on the pages of Pro-Clockers.

The NexStar SuperSpeed needs shares the same elegant profiles as the older models which makes it a well welcome addition to anybody's desk top. We loved the black mirror finish. And the ease to assemble the unit goes without saying. We spent all of five minutes setting the unit up for operation.

The NexStar does not exit our review without its small hitches. And in the case of the NexStar that is its attraction to fingerprints. Thank goodness there is many reasons for having to handle the enclosure after the initial setup and positioning of the unit. If you have greasy fingers and have to handle the unit a lot you will be doing a lot of cleaning of the exterior shell.

We would like to thank Vantec for sending us over the NexStar SuperSpeed and allowing us to experience our first touch of USB 3.0.

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