NexStar GX USB RAID Enclosure Review

The NexStar GX USB RAID enclosure is a great way to keep your data safe and secure. Featuring both JBOD and RAID support, the NexStar GX gives you the flexibility to choose the storage configuration that best suits your needs. With transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps, the NexStar GX can quickly back up your data or store large files with ease. And thanks to its plug-and-play design, setting up the NexStar GX is a snap.

Vantec Nexstar GX USB 3.0 Dual 2.5" SATA SSD/HDD RAID Enclosure, Black (NST-272S3-BK)
  • Support Dual 2. 5" SATA I/II/III SSD/HDD/SD HD (hard drive not included)
  • Usb 3. 0 at super speed up to 5Gbps; Support Individual)/RAID 0/RAID 1; Auto RAID 1 rebuild; support UASP
  • Support SATAIII at 6Gbps; capacity support over 2TB per drive*; USB Micro-B connector for additional power; LED for power on/standby/activities/RAID configuration

In a previous article I covered how to create a USB RAID array using Windows 10 Storage Spaces. While that is a awesome solution it does require using multiple USB cables connected to your computer which uses extra ports. What I really like about the NeStar GX USB RAID enclosure is that it only uses one USB cable. Whether you’re looking for a simple way to store your data or a more robust solution for backing up your files, the NexStar GX is a great option.

When it comes to setting up a personal RAID storage system, the Vantec Nexstar GX caught my eye as a reliable and user-friendly option. The device’s compact design is deceivingly simple for what it accomplishes: you can quickly plug in two 2.5″ SATA SSDs or HDDs and set them up in your preferred RAID configuration. I found the setup process to be incredibly straightforward; whether you’re after the speed of RAID 0, the security of RAID 1, or simply using JBOD to keep drives separate, this enclosure handles it all seamlessly.

Vantec Nexstar GX Main Image

My experience with data transfer speeds was quite positive, thanks in part to the USB 3.0 connectivity, which facilitates swift file movement. The solid aluminum casing is more than just aesthetically pleasing—it also serves as an efficient heat dissipater, working alongside the front vents to ensure your drives stay cool under load. This is particularly important during long data transfers or heavy use, which can cause other enclosures to overheat.

Bottom Line

The Vantec Nexstar GX offers the simplicity and efficiency necessary for a personal RAID setup. Its sleek design, ease of use, and cooling efficiency stand out, making it an asset for anyone serious about their data storage and protection. Whether you’re a creative professional, an avid gamer, or someone who values their digital library, this could be an ideal choice.

Interested in safeguarding your data with this dual-bay enclosure? Click here to purchase the Vantec Nexstar GX today!

RAID Functionality

In my experience with the NexStar GX, its RAID functionality shines with flexibility and ease of use. I found setting up the RAID configurations quite straightforward, thanks to the enclosure’s support for both RAID 0 and RAID 1, as well as the option for Individual mode. The most compelling aspect was the auto RAID 1 rebuild function which is a lifesaver for data protection.

While working with large files, RAID 0 allowed me to maximize speed and capacity, noticeably enhancing the transfer rates. Conversely, when I switched to RAID 1 for redundancy, it provided a solid layer of data security, mirroring my HDDs so that if one failed, I wouldn’t lose my crucial information.

Performance enthusiasts like me appreciate the product’s attention to heat dissipation – the aluminum housing and front vents ensure drives remain cool even during intense write/read operations. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re planning to use drives with higher power demands, you’ll need the provided AC adapter to ensure stable operation. All in all, the NexStar GX’s RAID capabilities strike a delightful balance between speed and security for everyday use.

Heat Dissipation Build Design

Having put the NexStar GX through its paces, I’ve noted its design’s attention to heat management—an essential aspect for maintaining drive performance and longevity. With dual 2.5″ SSDs generating heat during intense operations, the enclosure’s build quality comes into play. Crafted with an aluminium housing, the NexStar GX doesn’t just give off a sleek look; it acts as a heat sink for the drives inside.

Notably, the front vents incorporated into the design are not just for show. They actively channel away heat, allowing for a continual flow of air which is crucial when the enclosure is handling data-heavy tasks. During my time with the NexStar GX, despite the load, the drives remained at a stable temperature, which is a testament to the effective heat dissipation offered by the aluminium body and ventilation system.

On top of that, the compact size surprisingly doesn’t compromise this function. Some enclosures get worryingly warm, but here, Vantec seems to have struck a decent balance. The only quibble one might have is that there are no active cooling mechanisms, such as a built-in fan, which could be a point of consideration for users planning on putting the enclosure through sustained high-performance use. However, for everyday tasks and moderate use, the passive cooling design works sufficiently well.

Easy Installation and Compatibility

Having recently had the opportunity to work with the NexStar GX, I was struck by its user-friendly setup. The unit supports dual 2.5″ SATA SSDs or HDDs (note that drives are not included), and features a seamless, tool-less design that made it a breeze to install my drives. No screws or complicated mechanisms involved – I simply slid the drives into place, and they were firmly secured.

What I appreciate is the NexStar GX’s compatibility: it works effortlessly with Windows, Mac OS X 10.6 or later, and Linux distributions with Kernel 2.6.38 or above. In terms of connectivity, the USB 3.0 interface provides rapid transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps and supports UASP for even faster data access, which is a significant advantage when working with large files.

The auto RAID 1 rebuild and support for capacities over 2TB per drive ensure that not only is installation quick, but the device is adaptable to expansive storage needs. The additional USB Micro-B connector is a thoughtful inclusion for drives that might require extra power, ensuring stable operation without interruptions. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that if your drives demand more power, the provided AC adapter is indispensable.

Overall, the experience with the NexStar GX has been straightforward and hassle-free. It was ready to use in minutes, providing a no-fuss solution that didn’t require a deep dive into technical manuals or online forums.

What is RAID0?

RAID0 is a data storage technique that combines multiple disks into a single logical unit. It is typically used in servers and high-end workstations to increase storage capacity and improve performance. RAID0 works by striping data across the disks, which means that each disk stores a portion of the data. This striping of data allows the system to read and write data in parallel, which greatly increases speed and throughput. However, RAID0 also comes with some risks. Because data is spread across multiple disks, a failure of any one disk can result in the loss of all data. As a result, it is important to have a backup plan in place if you are using RAID0.


What is RAID1?

RAID1 is a data storage virtualization technology that combines multiple physical disk drive components into a single logical unit for the purposes of data redundancy and performance improvement. RAID1 is typically used in servers, workstations, and storage arrays in enterprise storage environments. In a RAID1 configuration, data is written to two or more drives simultaneously, which creates an instant backup in case one of the drives fails. When one of the drives fails, the other drive(s) continue to operate without interruption. RAID1 can also be used to improve performance by reading from multiple drives simultaneously.


What is JBOD?

JBOD is an acronym for “Just a Bunch Of Disks”. It’s a storage method that simply utilizes multiple drives as individual volumes, rather than combining them into a RAID array. This has the advantage of being much simpler and cheaper to set up, but the downside is that there’s no redundancy or performance boost. So, if one of the drives fails, you’ll lose all of the data on it. However, JBOD does offer some flexibility in terms of choosing which drives to use. For example, you could mix and match SSDs and HDDs, or utilize drives of different sizes. Ultimately, it just comes down to personal preference and what your needs are.


NexStar GX Specifications

Device Support


Device Size

2 x 2.5”  SSD/HDD

Internal Interface


External Interface

USB 3.0 Micro-B

HDD Capacity

2TB per bay - Total of 4TB combined


130(L) x 83(H) x 25(W) mm


300g ( 10.6ozs) without drives

System Requirements

Windows 7/8/10/11, MAC OS X 10.6 or above, Linux Ubuntu 10.4(Kernel 2.6.38) or above 

Setting up the NexStar GX USB RAID Enclosure

The NexStar GX is easy to setup. Sliding the cover off will show the open drive bay with a SATA connector. Just push in the first drive and then flip over the enclosure and push in the second drive. Next slide the enclosure back into the cover and install the 2 screws provided in the box. A screwdriver is also included in the box.



Vantec Nexstar GX USB 3.0 Dual 2.5″ SATA SSD/HDD RAID Enclosure Overview

I’ve had my hands on the Nexstar GX for a while now, and its compact size packs a punch when it comes to data expansion and protection. Especially well-suited for SSDs, it can hold two drives, offering flexibility with JBOD, RAID0, or RAID1 configurations. This is incredibly handy for varying performance or redundancy needs—great for safeguarding everything from family photos to your extensive media collection.

It’s simple to set up, with an intuitive RAID in a box approach, and if you’re thinking speed, pair it with solid-state drives to really see it fly. The aluminum housing is a standout feature for me; not only does it feel sturdy, but it dissipates heat efficiently, ensuring your drives stay cool even under heavy use.

However, it’s worth noting that larger drives might require the provided AC adapter for extra power, but that’s a minor inconvenience for the reliability it offers. With support for USB 3.0 and UASP, file transfers are swift and hiccup-free. Its capacity to support over 2TB per drive also means you won’t be running out of space anytime soon. The balance of performance, durability, and versatility makes the Nexstar GX an asset for anyone serious about their data.

Next flip the dip switches to set the RAID method you would like the device to leverage.  In my example I’m using two 1 terabyte 5400 RPM 2.5″ drives and I will be selecting RAID1. The box has detailed instructions but you can also just reference the pictures on the enclosure. To use RAID1 mirroring just push the first dip switch up and leave the 2nd one down.

After connecting the USB cable from the RAID enclosure to your computer  just open up the Windows Control Panel and go to Computer Management and select Disk Management. Alternatively you could open a command prompt and run diskmgmt.msc. After the Disk Management gui opens you should see your new drive listed as an unallocated drive. If you see both drives individually try holding the reset button on the enclosure and power cycling it.



After pushing the reset button on the enclosure Windows correctly sees the new RAID1 volume as one disk drive instead of two.



The next step is initialize the disk so that Windows can use it. Right click on the it and select Initialize Disk.




Next you will be prompted to select the partition style for the new volume. MBR (Master Boot Record) is the older partitioning method of the two, and it’s restricted to drives up to 2TB in size. GPT (GUID Partition Table) doesn’t have that size restriction, so it’s the better choice for new drives. GPT also offers some other advantages. For example, it can create more than four partitions on a drive, and it’s more reliable than MBR thanks to its redundancy. If you’re formatting a new drive, you should definitely choose GPT over MBR.



Creating Windows 10 New Simple Volume

Now the new disk drive has been initialized you have to create the volume. This is done by right clicking on the unallocated drive and selecting New Simple Volume.



This will launch the New Simple Volume Wizard. With just a few more clicks the new RAID array will be ready for storing files.



Select how much disk space you want to use. I’m going to use all the available space.



Next choose which drive letter you would like to assign to the new drive.



Next format the drive using NTFS and select quick format otherwise it may take a while to complete.



The wizard will complete once the drive has finished formatting.



Your new USB RAID array is now ready for use. Windows will now recognize it like a normal drive.


Pros and Cons


From my recent experience with the NexStar GX, I immediately noticed the solid aluminum housing, which is excellent for heat dissipation—an essential feature when dealing with HDDs or SSDs. Its capacity to support over 2TB per drive is significant, allowing for ample storage solutions. One aspect that stood out to me was its versatile RAID configuration, offering options like RAID 0 for performance or RAID 1 for redundancy, along with an auto-rebuild function for RAID 1 that adds to the convenience.

The product’s performance is enhanced by its USB 3.0 interface, providing transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, and it further supports UASP for faster data transmission. I found that compatibility isn’t an issue, as it worked seamlessly with my Windows 10 and Linux Ubuntu setups. Additionally, the design is sleek and the installation process is surprisingly straightforward. An added practicality is the included mini screwdriver and extra screws, ensuring that you rarely need any additional tools for setup.


However, a few drawbacks caught my attention. While the enclosure supports SATA III at 6Gbps, this might be limited by the actual performance of the drives used or the interface it’s connected to. Users with thicker 2.5″ drives may encounter fitting issues, so it’s essential to check compatibility before purchase—a realization I came to when attempting to install an older, bulkier drive. Also, while the enclosure is fantastic for SSDs and offers ultra-fast speed, the performance boost might not be as significant when used with older HDDs.

Another point to consider is the need for an external power source for certain drives. This can be inconvenient if you’re looking for a more mobile solution. Lastly, while most customer experiences are positive, there are sparse reports of individual units facing technical issues over time, a reminder that electronic devices can have inconsistencies. Nonetheless, these concerns are minor compared to the overall functionality and value the NexStar GX offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

After setting up and using the NexStar GX, I found myself answering several questions for friends and other interested buyers. Below, I’ve touched on some of the most pertinent questions regarding its features and functionalities.

What are the RAID configuration options available in the NST-272S3-BK enclosure?

The NST-272S3-BK allows users to configure their drives in several RAID modes. From my experience:

  • RAID 0 for performance, combining both drives’ storage into one larger, faster volume.
  • RAID 1 for redundancy, mirroring the data across both drives for better data protection.
  • JBOD lets each drive appear as individual volumes to the system.

How does the NST-272S3-BK enclosure handle drive failures and data recovery?

In RAID 1 mode, the NST-272S3-BK offers a safeguard against drive failure by mirroring data on both drives. If one drive fails:

  • The system can still function with the remaining good drive.
  • The enclosure can auto-rebuild the RAID array once the failed drive is replaced.

Remember that RAID is not a replacement for regular backups, so always keep another copy of important data elsewhere.

What are the maximum individual drive capacities supported by this enclosure?

Each bay in the NST-272S3-BK can handle a drive larger than 2TB. In my tests, I used 2TB drives without issues, and I’m confident it can support the larger drives on the market.

Can the NST-272S3-BK enclosure operate in JBOD mode?

Yes, this enclosure does support JBOD mode, which allows each hard drive to operate independently. I found this to be a convenient feature when I needed to use drives for separate tasks.

What are the differences in performance between RAID levels in the NST-272S3-BK?

Based on my usage:

  • RAID 0 significantly boosts performance, suitable for tasks requiring high read/write speeds.
  • RAID 1 offers a slight dip in performance because it’s focused on data redundancy.
  • Performance in JBOD mode depends entirely on the individual drives used.

Overall, choose your RAID level based on your need for speed vs data protection.

Is the NST-272S3-BK compatible with both SATA SSDs and HDDs, and what are the implications for speed?

The NST-272S3-BK is compatible with both SATA SSDs and HDDs. I tried both and found that:

  • SATA SSDs dramatically improved data transfer speeds, ideal for users who prioritize performance.
  • Traditional HDDs are better for cost-effective storage solutions, albeit with slower speeds.

Choose the type of drive based on your balance of speed and storage capacity needs.


In Summary

The NexStar GX USB RAID Enclosure is a great way to protect your data. The enclosure supports up to two 2.5″ SATA hard drives, and you can configure it for RAID 0, 1, or JBOD.  It features a USB 3.0 interface with data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps. So whether you’re looking for protection from data loss or just wanting to expand your storage space, the NexStar GX USB RAID enclosure is a winner. Thanks for reading!

Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

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