Vantec NexStar CX SuperSpeed Edition HDD Enclosure

Posted by on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 12:00am

vantec nexstar cx superspeedOne of the leaders today in HDD enclosure is Vantec. Producing enclosures for laptop drive and desktop, Vantec can be seen everywhere. Vantec was nice enough to recently send over their new NexStar CX model. Unlike the NexStar 3 we reviewed a few months ago, the CX has a simpler look. But it still offers the reliability and quality but not the shiny exterior of the NexStar 3. But one thing they do share is performance based on the new SuperSpeed technology.

Introduction to the Vantec NexStar CX SuperSpeed Edition

Hard drive enclosures are nothing new. They filled the local electronic store shelves and you can find them sitting next to most PC systems in people’s homes. You hard drive enclosures are just as common as thumb drives are. Obviously, each has an advantage over the other. But after a period of time they become kind of boring and uninteresting. And then came along USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed. This new technology of faster data transfer has renewed our interest in the typical HDD enclosure.

One of the leaders today in HDD enclosure is Vantec. Producing enclosures for laptop drive and desktop, Vantec can be seen everywhere. Vantec was nice enough to recently send over their new NexStar CX model. Unlike the NexStar 3 we reviewed a few months ago, the CX has a simpler look. But it still offers the reliability and quality but not the shiny exterior of the NexStar 3. But one thing they do share is performance based on the new SuperSpeed technology.

Vantec take on the NexStar CX

Vantec introduces the NexStar® CX 3.5" SuperSpeed USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure, ideal for anyone in need of storing and transferring large amounts of data. Integrated with the latest USB 3.0 technology, performance is increased by 10 fold offering maximum speeds of up to 5 Gbps. In addition, the sleek aluminum casing not only protects the drive from overheating but also provides sound dampening qualities to minimize vibrations. The Vantec NexStar® CX 3.5" SuperSpeed USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure is great for anyone who requires a high performance, lightweight, and durable external storage solution.


Specifications

Model

NST-310S3-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:

215 x 123 x 31mm

Features
 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
 HD Capacity up to 2TB
 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

If you have seen the NexStar 3 you will know that it comes in several different colors. Not only does the color make the NexStar 3 a beautiful looking enclosure but the shine that the exterior has.  The CX is nothing like the NS 3 as it comes only in black and made mostly of aluminum except for the front and back which are plastic. Here we give you some idea of the size of the enclosure comparing it to a stand 3/5” HDD.

This is not the first CX to be released. There are two older models which are a USB 2.0/1.1 model and another that include eSATA. All three including the one we are reviewing today are for SATA drives only. Capacity up to 2TB of hard drive spacing.

Here we have the top of the enclosure which consist of nothing but branding logos and icons. The reverse side has nothing engraved into it.

Like we said earlier the two ends of the enclosure are made of plastic. One end just consists of a single operation LED, while the other consist of a power button, power and USB ports.

We opened up the enclosure to give you some idea of what the brains of the unit look likes. We found the USB 3.0 protocol is controlled by an onboard JMicron JMS539 IC. Below are some specifications of the controllers:

Signal Bit Rate 5.0 Gbps
Power Supply 3.3V and 1.2V
GPIO Support UP to 12
ESD Protection 2000 V
Package 64-pin LQFP, 64-pin QFN
SATA Port 1
USB Port 1
Complies with Gen2i/Gen2m of Serial ATA II Electrical

Specification 2.6
• Supports SATA II Asynchronous Signal Recovery (Hot
Plug) feature
• Complies with USB 3.0 Specification, USB Mass Storage
Class, Bulk-Only Transport Specification
• Supports USB Super-Speed/High-Speed/Full-Speed
Operation
• Supports USB HID operation
• Supports USB2.0/USB3.0 power saving mode
• Supports AES-128/256 for data encryption over
USB2.0/USB3.0
• Supports external SPI NVRAM for Vendor VID/PID of
USB2.0/USB3.0 device controller
• Supports ATA/ATAPI PACKET command set
• 12 GPIOs for customization
• Provides hardware control PWM
• Provides software utilities for downloading the upgraded
firmware code under USB2.0/USB3.0
• Design for Win2000, WinXP, WinVista, Win7, MAC 9.2 or
later version.
• Supports 25MHz external crystal
• Embedded 3.3V to 1.2V voltage regulator
• 0.13um CMOS technology
• 64 LQFP package (10x10) and 64 QFN package (9x9)

Installation

There isn’t too much to installing a hard drive into the CX. You simply slide the HDD onto the tray and connect it to onboard SATA and power connectors. Secure using four screws that are included. Once this is done you will have to connect the front LED to the PCB board as well. Once done secure the end cap with two more screws that are included.


Testing

Testing Hardware:

Motherboard: ASUS P7P55-E Deluxe
Processor: Intel Core i5 750 @ 3.8 @ 1.3v
Ram: Patriot Viper II Sector DDR3 4GB 1600MHz
Video Card: Sapphire HD 5750/Gigabyte HD 5750
HDD: Seagate 7200.11
Power: OCZ 750 Watt Fatal1ty
Case: Sunbeamtech Open-Air Bench
Cooling: Coolermaster 212 Plus
OS: Windows 7 RC
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

Testing Software

HD Tune Pro 3.50
Sandra Sisoftware

Results

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007 SP1
SiSoftware has announced the availability of Service Release 2 (SR2) for SiSoftware Sandra 2005, the latest version of its award-winning utility. The focus of this service release has been improved support, compatibility and reliability rather than new features. We have been working closely with more hardware vendors than before to be able to bring greater direct support of an increased market share of commodity and server technologies.

HD Tune
HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive's performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more
.


Conclusion

The Vantec CX great another great enclosure from Vantec. The one thing Vantec prides themselves on is quality. And the CX is built very will and very sturdy. If you go to your local electronic or computer store and browse their selection of the HDD enclosure chances are you will find more than half are crap. Some are made entirely of plastic and offers very little in the form of HDD cooling. The CX is made of solid pieces of aluminum that will definitely help with it comes to heat dissipation.

The CX does not have the fancy cosmetics of the popular Nextstar 3 series but just like them it gets the job done. And most of that comes from the JMicron controller that is shooting your data from points A to B at USB 3.0 speeds.

We had to nickpick to find anything wrong with the CX. And the one thing we did find is a total preference call. You will have to take the time to build the enclosure meaning you will need tools even if it is just a screwdriver. A nice tool-less would be nice but that would then lead to a thicker enclosure. So, I guess we would to pick our own poison. In this case I would take the slim design of the current NwxStar CX.

{aseadnetadblock|vantec nexstar cx|vantec} 

Category: 

Linode VPS Hosting