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

Ships from United States. Most customers receive within 6-10 days.

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  • 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
Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
3/ 5
Best 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

EDIT 2/14/2019

Time moves on, and my opinion of these housings has gone down. I have started needing more space, so installed two 4TB drives. I am 90% sure I formatted the drives first (most don't need, but interior of RAID has sticker that says it is necessary). I then placed in storage for several months. When I tried to mount the drives they were not recognized on either USB2 and eSATA. I was working with Linux but attempted eSATA read on Win 7 as well. Nothing mounted in Linux. In Win 7, it offered to format the drives. I eventually did format them in Linux using gparted and Drive preferences NTFS but although the drives show up in my Startech dock, they simply will not appear in the NexStar even with the housing in individual drive mode (no JBOD or RAID 0/1). So combined with previous comments about jMicron controller, I'm knocking off a star.

I really wish there was a hardware RAID option out there that was simple, stable, and reliable. This came close, but life is too short for all the fiddling I've done to try and get these drives recognized. I'm moving to individual USB drives and rsync manual copy. RAID is overrated afterall it seems. I was just the last to figure it out.

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Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Very Reliable, easy to setup

Pros: - Its been running for 5 years non-stop, as a backup device for my Dell Server running Windows Server 2008 R2.
I have it set up with 2 x 1TB SATA drives running RAID 1
- The price is right!

Cons: As mentioned before by other users, configuring RAID was not straightforward but I finally figured it out. I know it uses Linux as the OS for the software. Would like to see it improved

Other Thoughts: I am actually ordering another one today.

Did you find this review helpful?
Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Works great for me

Pros: Has worked great for 2 years without any failures. I use it for holding my movie collection for my plex server and have had no issues

Cons: None

Did you find this review helpful?
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Verified Owner
1/ 5
Dead Drives

Pros: N/A

Cons: I have two 4TB drives, using them separately through the USB. After about 3 weeks one drive wasn't responding, flicking the power would eventually get it to connect. Then it failed to start completely. I RMA'ed the drive. Then the same thing started happening about 3 weeks after getting the RMA drive. I'm certain it is the power delivery for the second drive. I wouldn't recommend using this product, spend the extra money for a quality enclosure.

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
Verified Owner
5/ 5
great 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

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
1/ 5
controller 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?
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
1/ 5
Horrible 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.

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Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
Verified Owner
1/ 5
Reset 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.

0 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?
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