Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 3: Components & Peripherals

ESATA Storage: Vantec NexStar 3 NST360-SU

Do you need a high-performance external storage device? If so, then you probably don't want to hook it up via USB 2.0. Go for Vantec's NexStar 3, which connects to your PC via external Serial ATA (eSATA). eSATA provides exactly the same bandwidth as on-board or add-in SATA controllers: 150 or 300 MB/s. The NST360-SU is the black version that features an aluminum finish and a mirror-like front.

The NexStar 3's design provides efficient heat dissipation, but again, we would not recommend that you install workstation-class Serial ATA drives running at 10,000 RPM in this enclosure. Any other 5,400 RPM or 7,200 RPM 3.5" Serial ATA hard drive will do fine.

Should your intended host system not have any eSATA ports, you can also hook the NexStar 3 up via USB 2.0. Unfortunately it is not possible to use both interfaces at the same time. Prices for the NexStar 3 with eSATA and USB 2.0 are in the area of $40.