The NexStar SE is made up of a plastic frame (metal threaded inserts molded in for mounting) and drive trays, with the drive bays themselves being made of cold-rolled steel. Vantec left the styling simple but not too plain, meaning in the end it will blend nicely with most black cases on the market.
In order to install the NexStar you will need a single 5.25” bay to spare. We like the usage of the 5.25” rather than the 3.5” bay due to the fact that most people will have these larger bays to spare. Most of today’s case will comes with a single 3.5” bay, if any at all, and may prefer to use that for other things like a front panel USB ports, card readers or fan rheobus. The sides of the enclosure contain the screw holes for mounting into the bay.
Front-left you will find two green LEDs, one for each drive, for monitoring the activity of each. The middle of the enclosure is where the two removable trays reside, which is talked about a little more below. Finally at the far right we have the traditional Vantec trade name and logo.
Coming around to the back side you get a good look at the business end of things: the SATA backplane. This small bit of PCB is what the drives connect to from the opposite side, and on this end where you will connect the power (left) and SATA cable (right). From there the SATA cable is plugged into the motherboard just like any other optical or hard drive. If you are wondering about the hot-swap then that is part of the SATA specifications, and is why no addition chips are needed. Next to the SATA ports are two 3pin connections for the activity LEDs upfront.
Removing the trays from the enclosure we see that they are slightly taller than that of our your typical drive. This is because many of today’s laptop and desktop 2.5″ hard drives are thicker than 9.5mm. For example some 750GB and larger capacity drives are as thick as 12mm. Vantec designed the trays so they could accommodated drives up to 15mm thick.