How many times have you needed to plug in a drive for just a few minutes or your buddy drops by with that bomb track you have to hear and he brings it on a plain hard drive? The number of times a day when I have to plug a drive in is almost immeasurable. Even with several NAS servers, external enclosures and every other type of storage technology, there is always that one file that is on a drive and I need it right away.
Today we are looking at the Vantac NexStar CB-SATAU3 adapter that allows you it plug in a 2.5 or 3.5" SATA hard drive into a USB 2.0, or more importantly, USB 3.0 port. USB 3.0 offers blazing fast performance and in all but the most extreme cases can run your hard drive at native speeds.
Let's take a look at the specifications and see what the Vantec NexStar CB-SATAU3 has to offer.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
The Vantec NexStar CB-SATAU3 is about as simple as it gets on the surface. You plug in your SATA hard drive and on the other end you plug the NexStar into your USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. Notice that I did leave a way out with having said 'on the surface'.
Our biggest complaint in the setup process is that the NexStar CB-SATAU3 also requires you to plug in a 12 volt wall wart that supplies power to both the drive and the adapter. Since most 2.5" consumer drives only use 5V power and USB 3.0 offers quite a bit of 5V power, you would think that Vantec would have powered the adapter off of 5 volts and there have been enough juice left over to power a typical 2.5" drive. That was not the case. The adapter itself requires additional power, so setup is not as cut and dry as we would like to have seen.
After looking around the web I was able to find the Vantec NexStar CB-SATAU3 for 27.99 USD at long established e-tailer Directron. At first the price seems pretty good, but once you start to factor in current prices of USB 3.0 portable enclosures selling at Newegg for just a little over 20 Dollars, some of which do not require additional power for native 5V drives, you have to start questioning if you want a dedicated short term USB 3.0 shortcut device or is a real portable USB 3.0 enclosure that can be quickly disassembled a better option.
Let's take a look at the Vantec NexStar CB-SATAU3 and see what we can come up with and try to answer that question.