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Vantec NexStar 3 USB External HDD Enclosure Review - What You Get

The NexStar 3 unit being tested today by Vantec is in its third formal revision and is designed for a standard hard drive. With upgrades being what they are nowadays, it isn't too far-fetched to have at least one spare drive sitting on a shelf taking up space. This product is designed to put that drive back into use by adding it as an external unit. Let's take a closer look!

| Enclosures/Externals in Storage | Posted: May 12, 2005 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Vantec

What You Get

 

 

When you first crack open the box you're greeted with a small pack of items to handle the chore of giving that old hard drive a new lease on life. While not a lot of extras are included, you'll get everything you need to make things work as they should.

 

You get the NexStar unit itself, a power pack with cord, a USB cable, a stand that allows you to set the unit upright to take less desk space, and a plastic bag containing a manual, driver disk and some screws.

 

One note regarding the driver disk; you will only need to load drivers if you're still using Win98. WinME and beyond will recognize the device automatically and load the appropriate drivers; unless, that is, you have a Mac. Yes, there is support for the Mac operating systems as long as you're running v8.6 or higher. Drivers are included on the disk as well for this option.

 

 

Now that we've looked at what you get in the box, lets take a look at the heart and soul of this product; the external unit.

 

For sheer aesthetic appearance, this revision of the NexStar is far and away an advance from previous units. Where the old models were boxy, this one is smooth and rounded. It is more pleasing to the eye and has a very nice finish that will set itself off when sitting on your desktop.

 

Connections to the unit are minimal so setup is a breeze. As you can see above you get a power port, and port for the USB cable and a simple On/Off toggle switch. There used to be a IEEE1394 Firewire port as well, but that feature seems to be missing from this newer rendition of the lineup.

 

 

Once you open up the unit you see the means for a simple installation up close. A regular 4-pin Molex connector and a 40-pin IDE cable are on the interior tray and a single wiring harness is on the exterior housing to allow the front activity light to work. Let's take a little closer look to the unit after we've installed a hard drive.

 

 

Pretty simple stuff for the most part. Just connect the cabling to the drive and install it with four included screws like you would into a drive bay. That is as hard as it gets.

 

One item of note is the cable folding after you get the drive in place. In the first revision of this product, cable folding was downright intrusive. This was fixed in the second revision by allowing the folded cable to sit underneath the drive once it was mounted into the drive tray. With this revision we see it getting crowded again, but this looks to have been a necessity to maintain the sleek lines of the enclosure. It was a simple matter, however, to get the cabling into a position to allow the exterior housing to be placed back onto the unit.

 

So once you get the drive installed onto the interior tray, you simply slide the exterior housing over the tray and connect the activity light. From there it is two little screws and you're finished.

 

Further Reading: Read and find more Storage content at our Storage reviews, guides and articles index page.

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