Once you get everything secured, the NexStar will look something
Notice that there is almost zero space around the drive.
Also notice the complete lack of vents or any sort of active ventilation.
Unfortunatly, the sliver piece that the drive and everything is anchored to is
not aluminum, but rather plastic. From a cooling perspective, plastic will
transmit almost no heat. While the outer panels are made of aluminum, the
drive is not directly touching anything that will radiate heat. For the
drive to get rid of its excess heat, it must heat up the air surrounding it,
which heats up the aluminum covers, and then the covers must dissipate the
heat. This is far from an ideal solution. From past experience and
testing with this particular drive, we know that it runs at about 35C when
placed inside the HD rack of my case on an IDE channel. We also know that
the drive will run a very cool 27C when placed in something like the Vortex that uses an
active cooling system. With the NexStar closed up and operating, the drive
temperature was a toasty 43C. This might not be warm enough to harm the
drive, but this is warmer than I would like.
Another thing that was concerned me was the lack of shock
protection. An external hard drive is going to be bounced around and
possibly even dropped, something 3.5" IDE drives just aren't built to
handle. The drive is anchored directly to the outside of the enclosure, so
any shock is going to be transmitted directly to the drive. A mounting
system similar to the vibration dampers found on the Vortex would have
been ideal in this situation.
the outer panels was also a joke. Those tiny little screws seen in the
picture above anchor the panels. They are about the same size as screws
typically found in eyeglasses. Vantec includes a special screwdriver to
install and remove them. Like the plastic LED spacer previously mentioned,
these things are ridiculously easy to drop and loose. Fortunately another
set of them is included, so when you inevitably loose one, you have a full set
This is what the NexStar looks like all put together and plugged
in. The base anchors the enclosure well, and is surprisingly resistant to
overturning. This is all the farther I could get it away from the computer
because of the short data cables. I would highly suggest getting yourself
a longer data cable if you are going to purchase a NexStar.