I decided to handle the testing phase in a couple of different ways. Our first test phase will be done by means of a couple of synthetic benchmarking utilities, HD Tach and SiSoft Sandra. Scores and data transfer rates are computed through methods that take several factors into consideration, so I already expect the results to be terrible through a USB port. I will still use these tests, however, since we have to draw as complete a picture as possible for those who are deciding on a purchase. Firewire should perform a bit better but we'll let the tests themselves help us determine if this is true.
The second phase of testing will be a bit more direct as it will be nothing more or less than a large file transfer from a drive on the IDE channel to the drive being tested and then back again. We'll start with the USB mode and then move onto the Firewire mode with the same batch of transfers. Since we're comparing the NexStar units with the Thermaltake SilverRiver device, you'll want to keep in mind that the Tt device has only a USB interface. This is why a IEEE1394 result is missing for that enclosure.
Before we delve any deeper, though, lets take a look at our test system:
Chenming ATX-602 Aluminum Case (Supplied by Hardware Cooling)
DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B (Supplied by DFI)
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ Mobile Processor @ 2.3GHz
512MB OCZ PC3500 Platinum DDR Memory (supplied by OCZ)
Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro "Ultimate Edition" (supplied by Sapphire)
Western Digital 80GB Hard Drive
For the sake of comparison, I wanted to show how these devices handles data transfers and stress testing so have included the results of the drive set as a slave on the primary IDE channel. This will give us an idea how the different external units will perform in regards to real-life system performance.
That said, the new NexStar 2 gave noticeable increases in both average read speeds and burst speeds under the IEEE1394 standard. While it doesn't equal what you would expect from an internally mounted drive, it does manage to give very respectable transfer speeds as an external unit. The USB performance was about the same as the original, which is still a good deal better than the Thermaltake device.
All access times were very close, so the results won't sway me one way or another for any method of drive usage.
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