Vantec NST-400MX-S3R NexStar MX Enclosure

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Not too long ago we did a write-up on the Vantec MX400-SR Raid enclosure which we gave the ‘Recommended’ for its support for two drives and a couple different forms of Raid. But it only supported USB 2.0 which is no longer the speed demon we need when it comes to data transfer. So, Vantec has graced us with the newest model of the device and has labeled it the 400MX-S3R. the newer version gives us the USB 3.0 speed we want and plus eSATA for versatility.

Vantec NST-400MX-S3R NexStar MX Dual SATA to USB 3.0 & eSATA RAID Enclosure Review

 

Introduction

Not too long ago we did a write-up on the Vantec MX400-SR Raid enclosure which we gave the ‘Recommended’ for its support for two drives and a couple different forms of Raid. But it only supported USB 2.0 which is no longer the speed demon we need when it comes to data transfer. So, Vantec has graced us with the newest model of the device and has labeled it the 400MX-S3R. the newer version gives us the USB 3.0 speed we want and plus eSATA for versatility.

Vantec’s take on the NexStar MX Dual Enclosure

Vantec NexStar® MX Dual Bay External HDD Enclosure now in the USB 3.0 and eSATA interface is a quick and simple way to expand storage capacity to your computer. It comes without the hassle of diving inside the PC and messing with all those wires, cables and connections. It provides maximum storage with the increased capacity of two spanning hard drives for your precious family photos, music, video, and games. It supports Individual, RAID 0, RAID 1 modes for effective storage management. The sturdy drive cage protects your hard drive while the aluminum case effectively draws away the heat; the front vents and the rear fan keep your hard drive(s) cool and improve performance. The Vantec NexStar® MX is a high performance, high capacity, and durable portable storage solution and lets you store your personal data in an enclosure with style!


Specifications


Model:

NST-400MX-S3R

 Device Support:

SATA I/II/III Hard Drives

 Device Size:

3.5"

 Internal Interface:

SATA

 External Interface:

USB 3.0 & eSATA

 HDD Capacity:

Up To 6TB*

 Power Supply:

AC Adapter

 Fan:

40mm

 Material:

Aluminum & Plastic

 Dimension:

197 x 123 x 72 mm

Features

  Aluminum Casing Cools Down Your Hard Drive
  40mm Rear Heat Exhaust Fan
  Easily Add Storage to Any System with USB 2.0, 3.0 or eSATA
  Hot-Swappable: Plug & Play Without Rebooting
  Attractive LED Indicates Power & HDD Activity
  Supports Individual, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1 Modes


Closer look

The 400MX hasn’t really changed much visually compared to the model we review way back while. It remains very sturdy and this is due entirely to the aluminum outer shell (with some plastic trimming) and the steel interior skeleton. It measures just under 8” long, 7.75” to be exact.

The unit is designed to hold a total of two 3.5” hard drives. And once the drives are installed you can set the enclosure to one of four configurations. The most common configuration maybe just seeing each of the drives individually but you do have the options of JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1.

The front of the 400MX has a solid piece of aluminum glued to a plastic frame. And on that aluminum piece are three LED lights for power and activity notification for each of the drives installed. The plastic frame acts as a vent for air to escape that is created by the active cooling system.

The sides of the enclosure shows off the product and company’s logos with a brief description of the device.

The rear of the device consist of the AC/DC plug and power toggle switch. What makes this model different from the other is the use of USB 3.0 for data transfer. And there is also an eSATA to work with. A 40mm fan is used to blow air over the drives once they are installed.

Removed the racks system from the enclosure requires you to remove a total of four screws. Once removed the entire internals can be separated from the aluminum shell.

And below we have a glance at the PCB board and SATA ports which are compliant with SATA I, II and III drives. There are tiny dip switches that are used to assign the enclosure the proper configuration.

Lastly, we have our drives in and and almost ready to go.

The 400MX comes with the power adapter, USB 3.0 and eSATA cables and an user guide.

 


Testing performance

Our testing method will simply consist of us testing the transfer speed of our Kingston V+ 200 solid state drives using HDTune.

Granted these results all show the same speed over the USB 3.0 protocol, the configuration of the drives is what is more important here. Chances are many will chance between single drives, JBOD or Raid 1 because of the storage capacity or the redundance.


Single drive over USB 3.0.


JBOD configuration over USB 3.0.


Raid 0 configuration over USB 3.0.


Raid 1 configuration over USB 3.0.


Conclusion

Just like the earlier model, I am pleased with what Vantec has bought to market with the MX400 dual drive enclosure. The option to set the drives into different configurations is one of the biggest pluses of the unit. Each will have to decide what is best for them but we would highly suggest Raid 1 for its drive redundancy. It’s nice to know if one of the drives fail you still have your data on the second.

The speed of the enclosure is not too bad but if you want it to be faster you may want to select Raid 0 for your drive configuration and that way you will receive a better data transfer across the board.

The only thing we found that may go against the 400MX is the fact the fan is very noticeable in a silent environment. Is it loud? No. just easily heard.

The Vantec NST-400MX-S3R can be had for $83 from Newegg.

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