External enclosures are simple devices that allow us to build and upgrade our very own storage solutions. Over the past few years, these devices have come with Firewire, eSATA, USB, and now they feature Thunderbolt connectivity.
The Vantec NexStar is one of the most popular and long living brands in the external storage market; going all the back to my beginnings as an enthusiast, I have always had at least one NexStar product in use. Today, we have the latest NexStar from Vantec in-house: the 6G.
The NexStar 6G is a 2.5" external enclosure featuring USB 3.0 connectivity, adorned by an aluminium exterior. Compatibility of the product extends to modern Windows operating systems, and Mac OS X 10.6+. Warranty is listed at one year.
Looking over the scope of delivery, we found the USB 3.0 cable, along with needed installation screws, included with the NexStar 6G.
The enclosure, as seen above, is a single piece aluminium design. The top of the enclosure houses the Vantec branding.
The edge of the drive houses the USB 3.0 connection, with an activity indicator to the left.
Sliding out the internal tray, we find the PCB ready to accept any 2.5" drive. The PCB on this device uses the ASMedia 1053 controller, with UASP support.
To accurately test external enclosures, we utilize the SanDisk X110 SSD in the 256GB capacity. This drive is capable of 500 MB/s read, and 450 MB/s write, making it the perfect companion drive for testing external storage enclosures.
Our read testing of the NexStar 6G went quite well. Above, you can see our test drive was able to reach just over 450 MB/s at its peak.
In write testing, our test drive reached 430 MB/s at its peak. With these results, it's pretty safe to say that the Vantec NexStar 6G is capable of reaching the peak of USB 3.0 performance.
After working with the NexStar 6G over the past few weeks, I must say I am pleasantly surprised by the overall build quality of the unit. With the shell of the enclosure being aluminium, is does offer protection for whatever drive you choose to put inside, and at the same time, it also offers a bit of elegance. While the internal tray is plastic, it does not feel flimsy or otherwise cheap in its quality either.
Performance of the enclosure was quite good. We were able to reach peak read performance for USB 3.0, while write speeds came in just under the theoretical maximum at 430 MB/s.
Pricing of the Vantec NexStar 6G is set at $22.99 at the time of writing, with high availability. The warranty on the enclosure is listed at one year.