When it comes to making life more convenient for us, Vantec is doing what it can to accommodate. With this latest release, they have shown that they can take a workable product, listen to reviewer issues and come back to create something even better. Performance was never really an issue with the original model, but they still managed to improve the numbers on the IEEE1394 channel anyway.
The small screws and poor mounting design were the main issues found in the first version of the NexStar, so with the redesigning of both of these issues in the second revision and still excellent transfer speeds, it is hard to find a lot wrong now.
I was a little disappointed with the USB transfer speeds, but not enough to make it where I wouldn't recommend this enclosure to those looking for a means to make use of that old hard drive sitting on the shelf. And since the unit installs itself under Windows as a mass media device, you can add as many drives as you have available drive letters.
Regarding the installation onto your system, rest assured it is a matter of simplicity. If you're running WinME or later, there is no need to install drivers of any sort. The NexStar will be natively supported as a Plug N Play device. Win98SE users will need to go ahead and install the drivers the first time they hook up the device, but they will remain resident after that, even if you disconnect and connect regularly. Those with operating systems older than Win98SE need not apply as you won't have USB support anyway.
As far as price is concerned, I have been unable to find this product on the market yet. The original goes in at about US$58 or so as you can see here on DealTime, so I wouldn't expect prices to rise too much since Vantec will still need to remain competitive with others who manufacture this type of device. Time will tell and I'll modify my comments if I find prices are outrageous, but I really don't expect them to be.
Bottom line... If you've been looking for a way to use that old hard drive sitting on the shelf, there is a way to make use of that extra storage space. While USB speeds are rather average across the board, the Firewire speeds are excellent for those with the hardware to make use of this method of connection. With fast transfer speeds and old issues fixed, there is a whole lot to like about the Vantec NexStar 2.
Issues from first revision fixed
Excellent Firewire performance
Native support in OS beyond Win98
300GB size limit
Average USB speeds
Rating - 9.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Performance Award!
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