Company: Newer Technology
Have a Mac mini sitting on your computer desk but you’ve gotten somewhat tired of the small hard drive and, at times, frustratingly slow laptop hard drive speed? Wish there was a better way? Never fear, Newer Tech is here. This time they’ve brought us miniStack V2 to solve our mini problems.
The miniStack V2 is an updated miniStack that has been improved with the movement of one USB 2.0 and one FireWire 400 port to the left side of the unit, still leaving two USB 2.0 and two FireWire 400 ports on the back. The USB 2.0 Uplink port has still remained on the back of the unit. The dimensions remain the same, 6.5″ width x 6.5″ depth x 1.5″ height (16.51cm x 16.51cm x 3.81cm) and the unit still provides the blue led light up front to let you know that the drive is being accessed.
I specifically requested an enclosure only, primarily due to the fact that I have several hard drives available and I wanted to see how hard it would be for a user to set up. The unit arrives with everything that you are going to need; the enclosure, the top for the unit, the external power supply and cord, (1) 17” FireWire cable, (1) 17” USB A-B cable, one bag containing screws for the unit and an owner’s manual (1 page). NOTE: if you order the miniStack V2 with a hard drive already installed, Dantz Retrospect Backup and Intech HD Speedtools are provided.
Setup of the unit is easy, particularly for anyone with any experience whatsoever with placing a hard drive in any type of enclosure. Once you’ve placed the hard drive into the enclosure, there is a temperature-monitoring sensor that will control the fan if things start to heat up in the unit. The fit is tight but I encountered no problems in getting the hard drive connected and placing the lid on. (I ran my tests of the miniStack V2 using a 60 GB, a 80 GB and a 250 GB hard drive, all with OS X already installed. Showing the unit to Mac users with less time and experience did not provide any major hurdles or obstacles to hard drive installation other then a comment that more information in the manual on how to connect and place the hard drive in the enclosure would have been greatly appreciated, especially for a first timer.
Only once during my use of the unit did the fan come on and I didn’t find overly noisy; of course I’m used to the G4 MDD “Wind Tunnel” prior to the power supply fix, so the little bit of noise from the fan was very, very minor. On the back of the unit is a switch marked Auto and 1394A. You simply set the switch to 1394A if you plan on using the miniStack connected to your Mac mini. If you want, you can use the USB 2.0 cable by setting the switch to Auto.
Place the unit under your Mac mini, plug in the power supply and then connect your miniStack to your Mac. If you want to use the hub features of the miniStack V2, you must connect both FireWire and USB cables to your Mac mini. Any one of the FireWire ports will do while the USB 2.0 Uplink port is used to connect to any USB port on your Mac mini. Once you’ve done that, turn it on and away you go. The miniStack V2 also has a Smart Power Switch that permits you to turn the unit off yourself or leave it on and it will power up and off in sync with your Mac mini.
As you can see by the pictures above, the miniStack V2 compliments and blends in very nicely with the Mac mini. Desktop space in this particular situation is at a minimum but both units together still provide additional space for other items to be placed around it. I did not encounter any problems using the unit with my Mac mini. I thoroughly enjoyed the speed bump (my term) when using the larger size hard drives than the smaller one that comes with the mini. The move of a FireWire and a USB 2.0 port to the side of the unit is a really great idea. No longer did I have to fumble around or move the Mac mini to plug an iPod Shuffle into the mini. Now the Shuffle plugs quickly and easily into the port on the left side, as well as my digital camera connection. Thank you Newer Tech!
Now besides working very well with the Mac mini, it also worked great with my G4 867DP MDD. No problems encountered with its operation other then the fact that I needed to get a USB 2.0 A-B cable that was just a tad bit longer then the provided 17” cable. The miniStack’s ability to provide even more ports for a Mac is really great, something that you will not get with just a plain hard drive enclosure.
So to review: Cost effective, looks good with the Mac mini, side USB and FireWire ports a great idea, does perform as advertised, useful software provided with units with drives already installed… oh, it also works with PC’s.
Cons: None that I found.