When it comes to testing out hard drive performance, one of the best utilities around is HD Tach. While synthetic in nature, it still does a fair job of monitoring drive transfer rates as well as access times and burst speeds. Once we've thrashed the drive a few times and taken an average of the results we'll resort to a bit more direct means of testing. I'll take the installation file for the Farcry demo and start moving it from the system to the drive and then back again. This particular file weighs in at a hefty 496MB so should give us a good reading of the performance of the external drive.
Before we delve any deeper, though, lets take a look at our test system:
EPoX 9NDA3+ Motherboard - nVidia nForce3 Ultra chipset (Supplied by EPoX)
Athlon FX-53 Processor (Supplied by Newegg.com)
Swiftech H2O-120 water cooling (Supplied by Swiftech)
Sapphire X850 XT PE (Supplied by Sapphire)
Western Digital 80GB 8MB SATA Hard Drive
I add the results of the slaved drive in our charts so that you can see the overall performance of the component in its native habitat, then compare it with the results of several external hard drive enclosures that we've tested in the past. While this may give some the impression of a skewed result, I like to make sure that as much information as possible is included so we can get a true picture of the performance of our enclosure.
Looking at the numbers, we see that while the newest iteration of the NexStar doesn't change much from recent versions, it has still managed to increase performance a bit more than before. Add to this the USB hub and you've got a very useful device here.
Timed Data Transfers
With our timed data transfer test we see a mixed result at the end. While the NexStar GX managed to put up an increase in performance while moving data from the system to itself, it slowed down a bit when going in the opposite direction. The overall results are still very satisfactory, though.