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best enclosure for 2 TB hard drives

I bought the hard drive (WD 2 TB Caviar Green) and enclosure (NexStar CX) recommended on spudart.org (complete with links of where to buy) and they are GREAT! Spudart gives a great rationale about this setup. The post on this blog is dedicated to discussing why the Vantec NexStar CX enclosure is so nice.

I bought two of the forementioned hard drives and two of the enclosures. I just finished getting both drives up and running and it was super easy to set up.

The NexStar CX case is a great deal for $23. Here’s what’s great about this case:

  1. Build. It doesn’t feel flimsy like other enclosures in this price range.
  2. Power Button. Many enclosures don’t have power buttons. This one does.
  3. Power Light. Again, some enclosures don’t have power lights. This one does. If the power light is too bright for your liking, it’s easy to disconnect. There’s even a power light on the AC adapter. I never had an external hard drive that had a power light on the AC adapter until now.
  4. USB Connection. It has a traditional A-B (hexagon-shaped) USB mount on the enclosure. Many new USB-enabled devices nowadays have the much smaller and much more flimsy mini port. The cord is 4 feet in length. Many external hard drives now come with only a 2 foot USB cord.
  5. AC Adapter. The connector is a good size. Just like USB cords, many electronics nowadays have much smaller and much more flimsy connectors. The adapter and cord are 4 feet 2 inches from end to end.
  6. Secure SATA Connection. Some enclosures have a flexible wire attached to the SATA connection (this is where you mount the hard drive to the enclosure). Often these flexible wires make it a slight challenge to connect the hard drive. The NexStar CX does not have this flexible wire so it is very easy to just slide the hard drive into the SATA connection. It feels secure and stable.
  7. Screws. There’s four easy-to-mount screws that secures the hard drive to the enclosure. These screws really are not necessary if leave the unit alone. If you move around the unit, then it’s best to use the screws to make sure the drive never becomes dislodged from the SATA connection.
  8. Design. Simple is better when it comes to external hard drive design. The case has rounded edges with a streaming horizontal dimple. Logo and identification markers are simply white. My favorite part of the design is the case is all-black.
  9. Ease of Set Up. Take the enclosure out of the box. Slide the back (hard drive caddy) off the enclosure. Slide your hard drive of choice into the SATA connector. Turn over the caddy and screw in the four Phillips screws. Slide the caddy back into the enclosure housing. This step is nice because there’s a well-shaped aluminum track on the housing that the caddy slides into. Just before closing the enclosure, the LED connector needs to be hooked up. There are two small Phillips screws to secure the caddy to the housing. I didn’t bother with these screws because it already holds itself together pretty well.

Here’s an important note. The box for the NexStar CX says it supports up to 1.5 TB 3.5″ drives. I was able to easily and successfully reformat the 2 TB drives on my Mac. I opened Disk Utility (standard with any Mac). Then, I connected the enclosure/drive’s USB, plugged in the power, and powered on the unit. The drive appeared in Disk Utility. I selected it, made sure the “Volume Format” was “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and hit “Erase”. Bam. Done. The hard drive then mounted on my desktop and was ready to use. Super easy.

Also of note, there is a vertical stand included in the kit. It works well if that’s your preferred method. I’m a bit old school and prefer to keep my hard drives sitting platter-side flat to ensure a longer life.

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Matt Maldre
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Good point about keeping them horizontal. I’m gonna give that a shot, since I have space on my dedicated shelf for hard drives.