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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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Now that we have the drive assembled and running, its time for a performance test.


click to enlarge

I ran SiSoft Sandra with both the drive connected on it's own IDE channel as the master drive and in the NexStar connected via Firewire.  The first time I ran the test, I got very different numbers on the IDE channel with the NexStar having a clear advantage.  I did some looking around and found out the drive was running in an acoustical mode only when it was on the IDE channel.  The idea behind the mode was to make the drive quieter but it did so by hampering overall performance.  Using the IBM utility disk, I was able to turn the mode off and got the numbers listed above.  Everything was done after a wiping the drive and doing a clean FAT32 format.  No matter how many times I ran the test, the drive performed almost exactly the same on both the IDE channel and NexStar.

I was able to use the NexStar on both my PC and Mac with no problems whatsoever.  The only thing you have to watch out for is the file system you use on the drive.  If you use NTFS, the PC will see it fine, but Macs will have no idea what it is.  If you use MacOS file system, the Mac will see the drive fine, but the PC will be clueless.  If you format the drive using FAT32, then both the Mac and PC will be able to use the drive with no hitches.  This is very handy for sharing things between a Mac and PC.

While the NexStar has noticeable and highly annoying quirks, it is still manages to succeeded as an inexpensive way to turn a 3.5" drive into a working and removable external drive.  If you have a spare hard drive lying around, this might be a good way to make use of it.  The NexStar also provides a way to add IDE drives to a system that has no more available IDE channels.  While I was writing this review, Vantec released the NexStar 2.0, which seems to address most of the issues I had with this particular model.  The new one includes vibration dampeners and a much better system for installing the drive. You might want to check it out as an alternative to this particular model.



Pros:

  • inexpensive
  • quiet
  • both PC and Mac compatible
  • fast data transfers
  • supports both Firewire and USB 2.0


Cons:

  • short data cables
  • poor heat dissipation
  • tricky installation
  • highly annoying LED plastic... thing

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