Today, we take a look at a unique hard disk drive casing; the Vantec NeStar 3. The reason, it is unique, because it supports a new bus for transferring and will most probably replace USB and Firewire interface for external storage devices. The new bus is no other than eSATA.
External SATA or eSATA allows customers to utilize shielded cable lengths up to 2 meters outside the PC to take advantage of the benefits the SATA interface brings to storage. SATA is now out as an external standard, with specifically defined cables, connectors, and signal requirements released as new standards in mid-2004. eSATA provides more performance than existing solutions and is hot pluggable.
Key benefits of eSATA:
*Up to 6 times faster than existing external storage solutions: USB 2.0, & 1394
*No protocol conversion from PATA/SATA to USB/Firewire, all disk features are available to the host
*Robust and user friendly external connection
*High performance, cost effective expansion storage
*Up to 2 meter shielded cables and connectors
However, the only drawback of eSATA is that it does not provide power, which means that external 2.5" disks which would otherwise be powered over the USB or Firewire cable need a separate power cable when connected over eSATA interface.
Now that the concept of eSATA is clear, let's jump on to the review.
The Vantec NexStar 3 is a 3.5" hard disk enclosure designed to accommodate SATA drives. As I mentioned earlier, it has the eSATA interface. But the popularity of eSATA hasn't picked up; buying an eSATA casing is definitely not a good idea. So, for backward compatibility, a USB interface has also been given along. The enclosure measures 206 x 123 x 33 mm fully assembled.