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Item#: N82E16817392054

Vantec NexStar MX Dual Bay 3.5" SATA to USB 3.0 / eSATA RAID Enclosure

  • 3.5"
  • USB3.0 & eSATA
  • Aluminum / Plastic

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  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

Dual 3.5'' SATA to USB 3.0 and eSATA With JBOD/RAID 0/1 External Hard Drive Enclosure

Vantec NexStar® MX Dual Bay External HDD Enclosure now in the USB 3.0 and eSATA interface is a quick and simple way to expand storage capacity to your computer. It comes without the hassle of diving inside the PC and messing with all those wires, cables and connections. It provides maximum storage with the increased capacity of two spanning hard drives for your precious family photos, music, video, and games. It supports Individual, RAID 0, RAID 1 modes for effective storage management. The sturdy drive cage protects your hard drive while the aluminum case effectively draws away the heat; the front vents and the rear fan keep your hard drive(s) cool and improve performance. The Vantec NexStar® MX is a high performance, high capacity, and durable portable storage solution and lets you store your personal data in an enclosure with style!


Learn more about the Vantec NST-400MX-S3R

Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year
  • Read full details

Customer Reviews of the Vantec NST-400MX-S3R

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  • Lydell A.
  • 4/16/2016 4:26:08 PM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsBest in class of a small class

Pros: Very nice simple external RAID solution. There are sadly very few similar products in this price category. Some enclosures require you to send your drive in upon failure etc. I wanted an enclosure that accepted generic SATA drives and that is essentially plug-n-play rebuild. This is it.

I have used both USB 2.0 (not 3.0) and eSATA with this drive. In fact, currently I have two of these enclosures attached by USB to one older computer (see note below).

EDIT: 4/16/2016
Supports up to 4TB drives. I just upgraded one enclosure to two 4TB Seagate NAS drives (RED drives rumored to have more issues).
Excellent tech support - prompt email replies (usually within the hour). These were NOT electronic issues, merely a stripped screw (see below) and I had to refresh my memory regarding configuration details. Easy to configure - if you know how (see below). Really professional looking brushed machined aluminum housing, feels and is solid (see below about minor issue with rear screws). Have two of these now. May get more.

Cons: Slightly tricky to configure first time you do it. After that it's simple. After changing internal jumpers, press the internal button and hold for several seconds with the power on (no need to cycle power -- I watched drive manager switch from two unpartitioned drives to one (RAID1) drive. Don't do this with any data on drive of course, you will lose all data if changing modes. I have read online that RAID rebuilding can go badly wrong if you place the wrong drive in the wrong slot (have not yet tried that).

It does not help that this uses a jMicron controller rather than the previous Silicon image with which I was familiar. In other words, Steel Vines software does not work with it but there is another software manager from jMicron which is kind of video-game-like in appearance but does seem to work. Neither is essential to basic RAID function if you are adept at reading flashing lights. I rarely if ever use the RAID monitoring software now.

I am not sure if it is something with my aging XP Pro system (overdue for overhaul) or something about having two external RAIDs attached to the same USB controller but I have had issues with doing large bulk file transfers wtih RichCopy. Basically what happens is I get "Explorer has encountered an error and needs to close" or "RichCopy has encountered an error and needs to close" messages and none of the googled solutions I found online seem to help. I'm in the process of wiping my main system drive and reinstalling everything. I strongly believe this is an issue with my system, NOT NextStar but I mention it for completeness because I once traced a problem like this to two identical WD external firewire drives attached to a single system.

EDIT 4/16/16
It is necessary to remove 4 Phillips head screws & external housing to access the jumpers. This is easy, but If you hate Phillips screws as much as I do, you will know what happens after 4-5 open/close events , especially if you overtightened the screws the last time. I was unable to remove one stripped phillips head screw and this meant I could not remove the drives or change RAID settings without drilling the head off the (very hard) screw. This caused some cosmetic damage to the rear plastic housing (very minor) and now I only can use 3 of the 4 screw attachment points. I have suggested an improvement to the company (tool-less screws for example), but in the meantime, if you wish to avoid my fate, I discovered that M3 x .50 P x 8mm (Hillman part number 410818 at Ace Hardware)
Metric Stainless Steel Socket Head Cap Screws (hex socket head) are drop in replacement, and at $0.41 cents each, cheap insurance against a repeat of what was a very frustrating wasted hours attempting to access the inside of this device (I even tried screw extractors, no dice --too impatient for the glue tricks)

One other mod I made was to attach the stand to the bottom of the enclosure (drive housing) so it does not fall off when the enclosure is picked up. Not sure why the base needed to be separable. It would be slightly unstable without it unless space is a huge premium. I used my favorite double sided Scotch Permanent Clear Mounting Tape (Cat 4010-Long). It's like 1/8" thick clear jelly & but strong - a bit tricky to remove the red backing, but holds like glue (to remove, use dental floss or wire). Added advantage in this case is that it provides a slight cushion (approx 1/8") under the enclosure to insulate it from any tiny vibrations from the drives proper. Same stuff works great to hold speakers & USB hub on edge of desk.
Not really a con because not enclosure's fault, but your computer's eSATA must have a port multiplier to see both drives. My computer does not. Nor does it have USB3, so I either use as eSata RAID1 or USB2 multi-standard drive mode. Can't use eSATA and access drives individually via same non-port-multiplied eSATA port on my old laptop!

Other Thoughts: It is important to read other reviews and google solutions to issues such as the jumper configuration and proper rebuild drive placement (for example, you need to hold the reset when power on, don't place a new replacement drive in the master RAID drive slot).

I used with two WD SE WD2000F9YZ 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Hard Drives

EDIT 4/16/2016
Now 2 days into a 4 day full format of 2 4TB Seagate NAS drives. Seatools passed on both in individual mode.

Google "Jonathan Ceci Unofficial NexStar" manual on RAID if you have more questions. Would only add don't need to format drives in single mode first - OK to do together in RAID1

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • david f.
  • 3/13/2016 7:12:37 PM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsgreat product

Pros: fast ESATA. USB 3.0, quiet operation, very little noise

Cons: E Sata interface only works with RAID, does not work with individual disk mode, only recognizes one disk, must use USB 3.0 interface

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1 out of 5 eggscontroller corrupts RAID 1 arrays

Pros: Affordable direct attached storage with nice aluminum case and easy installation.

Cons: Avoid product! Our office purchased 3 units to served as local direct attached storage for users in a RAID 1 array. After a few months (Jun2015-Oct2015) all raid arrays were corrupted. All drives used 3TB WD RED (WD30EFRX) and all had the same problems. Low-star reviews from other prominent e-tailers report similar issue in length. Pulling drives, de-partitioning, and running lifeguard diagnostics reports drives are individually healthy.

Other Thoughts: Other users experiences can all be confirmed: unmounted drives that reappear as unformatted; drives turning off in Windows environment mid transfer; degradation of the raid array (bad sectors) over a few months

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • David B.
  • 8/8/2015 8:04:59 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsHorrible Device - avoid

Pros: None, false sense of security

Cons: Many problems with this device, the setup was not intuitive, I put 2 4TB HGST drives in it, in a raid 1 array, set it up, and copied my pictures for the last 10 yrs onto it. After running it for a day or 2 I noticed I couldn't see it anymore. Ok not awesome, but not great, I read that it could be hit and miss whether it would mount on startup. After about a week I decided I needed to look into further, so digging further, I found that the device recognized it had 2 drives in there, but they appeared as new uninitialized drives, decided at that moment maybe 230 wasn't too much to pay for a proper raid enclosure and stopped using this unreliable, improperly marketed, under engineered device immediately.

Other Thoughts: avoid - spend some cash on a good solution, the QSNAP is fantastic, and comes with some awesome backup software. You can pick your directories, it will keep them in sync backed up, and it doesn't use a proprietary backup format, it just copies the files across as they are, and checks with md5 or something if they need updating.

0 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • William F.
  • 6/19/2015 5:43:32 AM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsReset drive from GPT to MBR

Pros: stable enclosure so you won't knock it over, both eSata and USB 3.0.

Cons: The raid mode switch is internal so you have to remove the cover to set it. 4 screws to open the enclosure and additional screws required to mount each drive.

The worst was that it overwrote the drive partitions and lost the data on the drive.

Other Thoughts: I just used JBOD on a 5TB drive intending to add a second for separate backups. I formatted the drive without any issues, added a GPT partition, and set it as my backup destination. After the first backup succeeded the drive went offline and was no longer a GPT. Instead it had an unformatted MBR partition (2TB) with 3TB unused. The data was gone and the partition had really been written over this way. I waited to review until I switched to a different enclosure (that wasn't on newegg when I got this) to make sure it was only this enclosure with the issue. It was; the new enclosure I purchased works fine on the same usb 3.0 port.

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  • Joshua C.
  • 3/3/2015 8:04:14 AM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

2 out of 5 eggsIf you just have to go cheap....

Pros: It is a cheap solution IF you can find drives cheap enough.

Cons: Just not really worth it. Go look at pre-built RAID solutions on this same site, and you will see. VERY annoying setup. And it randomly shuts off for me and has to be remounted. I've noticed that just after a shutdown like this the enclosure is very warm. Also this seems to happen under sustained load, like streaming video to my HTPC, which is what I use it for, so.....

Other Thoughts: Just not really worth it at all. At the time I bought mine I got a steal on 2TB drives that made it worth it. But now you can get complete built boxes WITH HDDs already installed for around the same cost as building it yourself.

If you're going DIY, just build a cheap real NAS. If you understand the basics of Linux you can use a free OS to run a dedicated cheap PC with as many HDDs as you have room for, and in whatever RAID or mhddfs or aufs or etc that you like.

After over a year with this piece, I have to say I wish I'd just built a real NAS from the beginning, which is what I've done now.

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  • Frank G.
  • 1/18/2014 4:57:53 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsNexStarMX is a Great Enclosure

Pros: Runs Cool, Very Fast USB 3.0 Speeds, Works Great

Cons: Involved Set Up, Instruction Manual Is Wrong and Not Very Helpful

Other Thoughts: I bought this enclosure and set it up with 2 x Western Digital SE WD2000F9YZ 2TB Hard Drives in a RAID0. I use it exclusively to back up my home server.

The setup of this enclosure was very cumbersome. The included instructions said to press the reset button for 10-15 seconds, which is wrong. I downloaded the set up manual it says to press the reset button for only 5-7 seconds, which is correct. This would have saved me a lot of time setting it up of sealing the enclosure and finding out it my computer is still seeing 2 separate drives and having to reopen it to press the reset button again - had to do this about 3 times. I recommend when setting up this enclosure connecting it to your computer with the USB cable and have Disk Management open before sealing it. When you press the reset button you will see the enclosure disappear when you have pressed it long enough and reappear with your correct settings, in my case 1 drive in a RAID0.

I installed a USB 3.0 PCI-Express card in my home server to connect the NexStarMX and the speeds are incredible. I was using a USB 2.0 NexStar3 with a 2 TB drive and using Backup Exec the backup was running at 1,800 MB/min and taking 7.5+ hours to back up over 800 GB of data. With the NexStarMX connected using USB3.0, the same back up runs at over 6,000 MB/min and completes in a little over 2 hours. A huge improvement and I am very satisfied with the results of this upgrade.

One of the other reasons I purchased the NexStarMX is my NexStar3 would run very, very hot. However the NexStarMX with its rear exhaust fan runs very cool. It is barely even warm to the touch and feels like its running at room temperature.

I would definitely recommend the NexStarMX and give it 5 eggs for it speed and performance.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Anonymous
  • 1/11/2014 1:37:24 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsGreat

Pros: Raid1
USB 3.0
Works great with MAC
Metal feels cool everytime I touch it

Cons: The software from the website is not really good but it does the job!

Other Thoughts: Purchased for the Raid 1 feature, I have alot of Blu Rays that I dont have time to redownload if my hd fails! I also store programs and photography photos on it, also back up my mac via time machine, but my main reason.....PLEX!!!!!!

Bought it, set the raid setting before powering up, held reset button, i used software from website to set raid 1, then formatted the drive via disk utility on my mac. It stays on 24/7 which is fine by me because I have 2 wd red 3tb drives in it and those made to be on 24/7! =) You can use "Put you hard drive to sleep when possible" option on mac and the drives will sleep when not being used but the fan and lights will keep going even if drives are sleep!

Initially i had this plugged into my Airport Extreme, but then i realized that airport extreme is usb 2.0 SMFH so i was handicapping my speeds so i did a little research and figured out how to mount it to my mac mini(which is usb3.0) and still access through my macbook(Perfect)
Now i have the right speeds when transferring files!

I use PLEX on my Roku 3 and have the media server on the mac mini with this enclosure mounted....I access my movies pretty quick, none of those "retrieving information" hold times that you might encounter if you were using usb 2.0 external hd

When/If i max out of space ill try vantec 4 bay system on raid10, ill be starting to do video editing soon so maybe a drobo 5d(thunderbolt) but for now this is just fine!

I did not try any of the other raid or jabod modes. When i touch the metal it always feels cool, fan seem to be doing a good job. Its pretty quite to me, not annoying loud but then again i have it in my living room not my bedroom. Had it for a couple weeks and so far so good, They had an option of receiving an email if one of the drives fail in tthe software on the website, i didnt set it up though.....ill update my review if anything changes Hope this helps....

NOTE: Tech support said that wd green drives seem to have problems in this enclosure f.y.i

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  • Steven M.
  • 1/7/2014 12:32:14 PM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsGreat enclosure, problems with USB 3.0

Pros: +++ Supports individual disk, JBOD and RAID 0/1 setups
++ Easy to install drives and get it up and running
++ Not any more loud than my system
+ Small size and has a weight to it that says "This is quality"
+++ Nice brushed aluminum and minimalist aesthetic
+ The drive(s) will shut down with the system when connected via eSATA (but not USB 3.0)

Cons: -- Blindingly bright LEDs
- The enclosure gets warm after long periods of reading/writing to/from the drive as the aluminum absorbs the heat and dissipates it (not a true con, just a heads-up to potential buyers)
- An intake fan, in addition to the exhaust fan, would have benefited this chassis
--- USB 3.0 either refuses to work or will cut out in middle of your using it (see other thoughts)
- Drives inside are prone to corruption if you leave it on as you hard reset your system multiple times as I did when trying to get a new monitor to play nice with my GPU (again, not a real con, just don't be stupid like me)

Other Thoughts: For my initial setup, I had a 1TB drive for games and storage and a 500GB drive for backup of the other drive in individual disk mode. I first tried with USB 3.0 and went to copy a bunch of files to the 1TB drive from an external drive (about 50+ GB worth of stuff) and, roughly 2 minutes in, the enclosure unmounts itself and refuses to show up until I reboot the system. I try it again multiple times only for it to happen each time. Removing the 500GB drive and doing the same process yielded the same result. Since then, I've run the enclosure off of eSATA and haven't had a single issue. Unfortunately, that means I can only run the 1TB drive as my motherboard doesn't support port multiplier (part of the reason I bought the enclosure in the first place was to sidestep that issue by using USB 3.0). I'll eventually run the enclosure in a RAID 1 over eSATA where PM won't matter but, until that time, I can only run one drive.

Just be wary of the issue as it happened to me and could happen to you.

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  • Mark S.
  • 12/3/2013 7:07:41 PM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsDon't trust it

Pros: - Cooling fan
- Small
- Reasonably priced

Cons: - Can't be trusted

Other Thoughts: I bought the NexStar MX in March 2013, intending to use it for weekly backups, which meant regular but very light use. I put two small-ish drives in it (300 GB, 500 GB) and used them simply as individual drives (no RAID or JBOD). I had trouble from the beginning. About half the time I plugged in the the NexStar MX (USB), it complained that the drives needed to be formatted, and a rhythmic clicking suggested to me that it was running the drives through some sort of cycle trying to read them. Unplugging and re-plugging the the unit usually resulted in the drives being mounted, but I was very nervous that it couldn't mount the drives every time. Then last month I was right in the middle of writing some files and the unit spontaneously unmounted itself. I couldn't get the unit to power up after that. If I'd been using the drives in JBOD or RAID 0, I'd probably have lost my data. I've since put the drives in other enclosures (Sabrent EC-7F83's) and they both work fine. I don't know if I could eventually have gotten the NexStar MX to come back on, but at this point I've decided that it can't be trusted with my data. On the plus side, it turns out that the NexStar MX is a nice size and weight for a doorstop.

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