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-- Vantec NexStar External Hard Drive Enclosure
-- Category: Review
-- Posted by: merlinicorpus
-- Posted on: 2004-10-05
-- Price: ~ $59.99 USD
-- Pages: 1 2 3 [ 4 ] 5
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Once you get everything secured, the NexStar will look something like this.

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.

Attaching 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 of spares.

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.

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