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Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review

Vantec adds to its NexStar lineup with the NST-370A31, a 3.5-inch external storage solution featuring USB 3.1 transfer technology.

@TylerBernath
Published Fri, Oct 2 2015 8:15 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 80%Manufacturer: Vantec
Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 02 | TweakTown.com
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After our review of the 2.5" NexStar 3.1, we got the larger sibling in this lineup solutions sent over for review. Apart from sharing the same interface, as the title would suggest this device is catering towards consumer wanting to set up any 3.5" drive for USB 3.1 connectivity.

The NexStar 3.1 3.5" storage enclosure is a Gen II SuperSpeed+ capable solution featuring internal SATA III support while externally Vantec is deploying this solution with a Type A port for added compatibility. Hard drive compatibility is listed with capacities up to 6TB while the structure of the enclosure is designed to be durable with both plastic and aluminum being used.

Operating system compatibility is listed with Windows Vista support and up along with OS X 10.6+. To get the most out of this storage enclosure, consumers will want to deploy the device on a USB 3.1 capable PC.

Starting off with the box art, we find an image of the enclosure centered with marketing information below. A SuperSpeed+ logo is placed to the far right denoting its Gen II support.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The scope of delivery includes a power adapter, Type-A USB cable, and the enclosure. Vantec has also included a quick start guide to get you up and running quickly.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Like its smaller counterpart, this solution too houses an activity LED at the top edge of the enclosure. The front of the enclosure is vented to aid in cooling the internal drive and components.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 05 | TweakTown.com

Flipping to the rear of the enclosure, we have the power input, power switch, and USB port.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Above, we have the flash drive itself, which is 32GB in capacity and very tiny.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Internally, the 3.5" NexStar 3.1 houses a larger PCB, which is shielded by a solid piece of aluminum.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 10 | TweakTown.com

In testing, we found that in using the same drive, Intel 730 480GB SSD, the larger 3.5" enclosure performed slightly better than the previously tested 2.5" solution. Read results came in at 483 MB/s while write results touched the same 502.9 MB/s under Windows 10.

Vantec NexStar NST-370A31 3.5-inch USB 3.1 Storage Enclosure Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Swapping over to OS X, we were able to get a quick look at the USB 3.0 performance of this enclosure. If we compare this to previously tested solutions, you can see that USB 3.1 devices open things up and allow a more complete utilization of available storage bandwidth.

As of late I have been high on products from Vantec. They have seemingly cleaned up many of the quality issues that have plagued them in the past, and this includes not only the electronic components but also the materials used in the enclosures. With the NexStar 3.1, as with its smaller counterpart, the 3.5" solution uses a good mix of cost effective materials with both plastic and aluminum used in the structure. Build quality is quite solid with no sharp edges on the aluminum, and the plastic feels rigid enough to handle a few drops. Internally, they are using the latest Gen II USB 3.1 controller from ASMedia.

Performance wise, the 3.5" solution was just a touch quicker than its smaller brother with 483 MB/s reads and 502 MB/s writes. Adding to this, we found even when using our MacBook Pro that only has USB 3.0 capabilities, we enjoyed a decent performance boost over standard USB 3.0 enclosures.

Pricing of the Vantec NexStar 3.1 in the 3.5" flavor carries an MSRP of $39.99 with a one-year warranty.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

Performance90%
Quality including Design and Build80%
General Features80%
Bundle and Packaging75%
Value for Money75%
Overall80%

The Bottom Line: Vantec's Nexstar 3.1 in the 3.5-inch flavor is a solid enclosure with great performance. However, these units are shipping with a price premium that comes as a side effect of being one of the first on the market with USB 3.1 technology.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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