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Vantec Nexstar MX 2.5-inch Dual-Bay External RAID Enclosure Review

Vantec Nexstar MX 2.5-inch Dual-Bay External RAID Enclosure Review
We take a look at the 2.5-inch SSD and HDD ready Nexstar MX from Vantec, a dual-bay external RAID storage enclosure.
By: Tyler Bernath | Enclosures/Externals in Storage | Posted: Jan 13, 2016 3:41 pm
TweakTown Rating: 84%Manufacturer: Vantec

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The Nexstar lineup is possibly one of the longest running storage brands in the industry. Over the years, we have seen everything from single bay Firewire solutions to quad-bay eSATA and USB 3.0 devices.

 

The latest to come from Vantec is a dual-bay device setup to accept 2.5" drives whether they be SSDs or HDDs. The Nexstar MX is what Vantec calls RAID in a box and like similar solution depends on a set of switches to switch between RAID modes. The MX utilizes USB 3.0 connectivity and makes use of the UASP protocol for quicker transfer speeds. Also, the MX is cooled by a 40mm fan and is powered by the included 5v adapter.

 

Compatibility of the Nexstar MX includes Windows, OS X 10.7+, and Linux Kernel 2.6+. MSRP of this solution is set at $59.99 with a one-year warranty.

 

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Packaging for the MX is quite colorful with an image of the enclosure to the left while marketing information is laid out along the bottom.

 

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The scope of delivery for the Nexstar MX includes the power adapter, USB 3.0 cable, and the enclosure.

 

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The front of the enclosure houses several LEDs that include power, drive one and drive two.

 

GO TO TOP OF THE NEXT COLUMN ^

 

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The back of the enclosure houses the USB 3.0 input next to the power input. To the far left, we have the power switch.

 

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The internals for the Nexstar MX shows a SATA backplane with a metal frame to hold the drives.

 

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To start off testing of the Nexstar MX, we installed two BX200 SSDs into the enclosure. Putting this solution into RAID 0, we found results to come in at 397 MB/s read and 392 MB/s write.

 

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Switching over to RAID 1, results were about the same with our BX200's. Read came in slightly lower at 382 MB/s while write was spot on at 392 MB/s.

 

I have seen quite a few products come through the lab from Vantec in the last year. There for awhile I was praising Vantec for getting away from the cheap plastics enclosures they were using for the longest time. With the Nexstar MX, it seems they have gone back to that, in part. I'm not entirely disappointed with the use of materials in this latest solution from Vantec, in fact, most of this unit is made up of steel. I am disappointed that Vantec seems to be stuck in this rotating door where all their products use the same dark color schemes. With that said the build quality is solid though this unit is not a tool-less device, but the includes screws work great for both SSDs and HDDs.

 

As stated, read performance topped out at 397 MB/s in RAID 0 while write performance netted 392 MB/s. RAID 1 achieved nearly the same results with read peaking at 382 MB/s with write at 392 MB/s. Overall, I enjoy the build quality of the Nexstar MX with its steel enclosure, and the performance isn't half bad either.

 

 

 

Tyler's Test System Specifications

 

Product Summary Breakdown

Performance80%
Quality including Design and Build80%
General Features85%
Bundle and Packaging85%
Value for Money88%
Overall TweakTown Rating84%

The Bottom Line: Vantec's Nexstar MX in its small form factor is a fairly solid choice for those wanting a RAID capable storage solution for any spare 2.5" drives.

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