Our real world transfer tests consist of four sets of files:
The time is calculated in seconds, from the second that the “Copy” button is pushed. Of course, the lower the numbers in the graph, the better.
I expected to see larger differences with the real world tests, although I am unsure why exactly. There are none. Throughout the PCI, PCI-E and direct install tests, only two out of the twelve transfers were one second different. Of course there are large differences between the USB and eSATA on the NexStar, but we are talking about 480Mbps to 3Gbps.
All in all, these are great products… all of them. Some have more pluses than others though. For internal storage or eSATA, the PCI card would be recommended over the PCI-E version. There was no noticable differences between either, but where there -were- minor decreases, it was with the PCI-E card. Since the PCI-E version costs around $10 more, the only reason you should choose it is if all of your PCI slots are full.
Though I wasn’t able to test the PCMCIA card, I do wish it didn’t have two eSATA connectors. One eSATA and on S-ATA would have been great, because who’s going to have two eSATA enclosures? I don’t personally know anyone that owns one to begin with.
The NexStar 3 was my favorite product from the bunch, simply because it’s designed for 2.5″ hard drives and is very compact. Although flash thumb drives are better due to the fact that they are more durable, there’s something cool about being able to carry 200GB in your pocket. It hooks up to a PC just like a thumb drive, but holds far more data. Although it’s a tight enclosure, I am not sure I’d want to carry it everywhere. It -is- still a hard drive, so any bumps could potentially ruin it.
One thing that did strike me as odd though, is the fact that a DC adapter was not included. There is a port in the back of the enclosure for it, but none was included. Instead, if you want to use the eSATA mode, you will need to plug in the USB connector in order to provide power. So, you will have both the eSATA and USB connectors plugging into it at the same time. If you don’t care about speed, then the USB cord alone will work fine.
I didn’t touch on the fact that these cards can be used for primary drives also. If your motherboard only has IDE connectors but you have an S-ATA drive, it will function just fine. During the Windows installation you will just need to specify a RAID setup, and access the drive that way.
I have no complaints about any of these products, though wish a power adapter came with the NexStar. Other than that, they all deserve our Editors Choice award.
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