They say, no one likes a know-it-all, but what about a do-it-all? - As enthusiasts we have a lot of toys and many of these devices store data on different forms of flash media. To add insult to injury, the people around us tend to think we are their personal tier one tech support and expect us to be able to work with all of their devices as well. All of that connectivity can be a pain in the bum if you are trying to carry separate adapters.
I really couldn't believe that it was possible to get a single device that has the ability to connect to 66 different types of media. I mean come on, 66? that is SIXTY-SIX! I had no idea that there were even 66 different types of storage mediums in use today or at least new enough that anyone would want to still use them. Just before I start to write every review, I have a peek at Newegg and feel out the other products on the market and how the cost breakdown looks. Tonight I found out that the Vantec NexStar Universal Storage Adapter 66-in-1 is available for less than 30 Dollars. That is less than 50 Cents for each format that the USA is able to work with. Come on, pinch me, because I have to be dreaming.
Let's take a look at all of those media formats on the specifications page and see what the entire unit consists of.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
I am not even going to attempt to go over the entire list of media the Vantec NexStar Universal Storage Adapter can interact with, but we will take a look at some of the formats that are not available on many of the competitors' products.
The first three that really stick out in my mind are SATA, 3.5 IDE and 2.5 IDE. Many enthusiast class motherboards don't even have IDE connectors anymore, but I would bet most enthusiasts still have a few IDE hard drives sitting around. Having a nice portable device that will work with your SATA drives is also a nice touch. All of the typical Compact Flash, Sony Media and SD formats are covered as well, so all of the typical bases are covered.
The only real downside that I can find just from looking at the specifications is that everything runs off of USB 2.0. Now that we have a USB 3.0 device in the lab, we dream of the day when all external devices use this new extremely fast interface. We are optimists and not realists, but in the coming years we will have our wishes granted.
When it comes to the cost, you most likely spent more money last night on dinner for the family than what the NexStar Universal Storage Adapter cost. We were able to find the 66-in-1 at Newegg for a low 27.49 USD. The deal is so good that I sound like one of those infomercial guys on TV.
Vantec uses a full retail package with the NexStar Universal Storage Adapter and on the front we found a lot of useful information like some of the formats that are supported.
The back of the package has all of the specifications, features and a full list of supported formats.
With the cover off we see that the main unit is isolated from the other components, but it does sit just under the top cover of the box. This really doesn't offer a lot of protection, but the package isn't heavy so there is less chance of breakage.
The Vantec NexStar Universal Storage Adapter
The main unit is a rectangle shape and has a long cable that plugs into your PC and achieves USB 2.0 speeds. There are two plugs; one carries the data signal and the other provides additional power.
The first side of the unit has the IDE, MS and Compact Flash ports. The IDE connector is positioned so that the power plug on the drive is away from the adapter.
The SATA port is on the side of the adapter. Vantec included a small SATA cable which makes install very straightforward.
XD and SD card ports are found on this side, as is the FDD IDE port for when you need to use a floppy drive.
Here we see the USB data and USB power with pass thru.
The accessory package is pretty extensive. Here we see the short SATA cable as well as the manual. One of the neatest items to come in the package is the power brick that is used to power the IDE and SATA drives.
Test System Setup
Motherboard: ASUS P6T7 WS SuperCoputer(Supplied by ASUS)
Processors: Intel 975 EE (Supplied by AVADirect)
Memory: Corsair Dominator 1600 MHz Triple Channel Kit
Graphics Card: LeadtekQuadro FX1700 (Supplied by Leadtek)
Enclosure: Lian Li V2000
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 (Supplied by Noctua)
SAS Controller: LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i (Supplied by LSI)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate X64
You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.
We tested the Vantec NexStar Universal Storage Adapter with three different formats. The first was a SanDisk Extreme III 4GB Compact Flash card. The second test was run on a Panasonic Class 6 SD card that was 2GB in capacity. Our third test was performed with eSATA and we chose to use the new Seagate Barracuda XT.
Benchmarks - HD Tach
Our Compact Flash test was first. Here we see a nice steady line of performance that runs between 19 and 20 MB/s.
Our SD test gave us results that were a little higher. Once again a nice solid performance line, this time right at 20 MB/s.
The third and final test was run on one of the fastest large capacity SATA drives on the market. Here we wanted to see if the Universal Storage Adapter was able to max the USB bus. Here we see a nice solid 35 MB/s read and write which is pretty much the best you can hope for over USB 2.0.
The Vantec Universal Storage Adapter has sixty-six reasons why you need one in your hardware toolbox. In this age of commodity consumer electronics you never know what type of storage your next must have toy will use. It is nice to see that Vantec has made a solution for a problem that we all have faced.
With an e-tail cost of just 27.49 over at Newegg, the Vantec Universal Storage Adapter is quite reasonable. At that price it would have been reasonable if it only could handle 33 different formats, but since Vantec is giving us the whole thing we will accept it. The SATA and PATA ports are quite useful for enthusiasts since they give you instant access to your large storage devices.
The performance achieved with the Vantac USA is as high as we could expect given its USB 2.0 interface. With USB 3.0 on the horizon we can't help but wonder how long it will be before we have a similar product from Vantec with a 3.0 interface, but for now this is the best you can get.
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