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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:10 PM   #1
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NewerTech Releases miniStack MAX Hard Drive/Blu-Ray Burner/SD Card Reader/USB Hub




Other World Computing has begun selling NewerTech's miniStack MAX, an ambitious all-in-one hard drive, Blu-Ray/CD/DVD reader/burner, SD card reader and USB hub in one compact enclosure meant to match the footprint of the Mac mini. There is also a version that reads Blu-Ray discs, but does not write them.

A number of products designed to fit under the Mac mini have been released over the years, but with the addition of Thunderbolt and powerful CPUs, the Mac mini has become a viable option for users looking for an inexpensive and flexible workstation.

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The only four-in-one storage, data access, and connectivity solution available!

The Newer Technology miniStack® MAX puts the diverse functionality of a high-capacity hard drive, Blu-ray/CD/DVD optical drive, SD card reader and USB powered hub into a single elegant aluminum finish enclosure. A perfect compliment for ANY Mac or PC, yet sized to match the footprint of the Mac mini, miniStack MAX offers fully bootable data storage/backup along with three USB ports for powering and charging external devices.
The miniStack MAX includes three options for connecting to the Mac including eSATA, FireWire 800, or two USB 3.0, as well as a separate USB port for charging devices with no data transfer.

It comes in a number of configurations, including versions with a Blu-Ray Reader starting at $150 for a bring-your-own-disk option, 500GB for $260, 1TB for $280, 2TB for $330, 3TB for $400, and 4TB for $530.

Versions with a Blu-Ray Reader/Burner are available for $40 more.

Article Link: NewerTech Releases miniStack MAX Hard Drive/Blu-Ray Burner/SD Card Reader/USB Hub
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:17 PM   #2
ThunderSkunk
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This would be a handy base station for the optical-less iMac as well. ...and Retina MBP. ...and MBA.

...and Apple TV and iPad (if iOS were a more functional OS).
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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When I had a older Mini Core Duo for a year as a stop gap machine, I had a miniStack. Great little product. Port expansion, stackable drive, etc.

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Originally Posted by ThunderSkunk View Post
This would be a handy base station for the optical-less iMac as well. ...and Retina MBP. ...and MBA.

...and Apple TV and iPad (if iOS were a more functional OS).
Very good point. If I didn't have a 2011 iMac with remote disc and 4 external hard drives, this might be a good solution for my MBA. Certainly not a bad idea for the new iMacs. I am a firm believer in external iTunes drives.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:20 PM   #4
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Wasted space on top. They could have used the top as a cup warmer.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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not horrible pricing
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by treyjustice View Post
not horrible pricing
If you say so. I got a Memorex Blu-Ray/DVD/CD USB 3.0 burner for $69 on sale and my 3TB USB 3.0 external drive for $110 for a grand total of $179.

My Mac Mini already has the card reader on it (why would I need another one?). That leaves the extra two USB 3.0 ports which are nice, but not worth the $261 difference in price (i.e. $440 for a Blu-Ray Burner with 3TB; $400 for read-only Blu-Ray and 3TB).

I suppose it'd be nice to have the FW800 OPTION (theoretically it could come in handy if I had to use it with another computer), but the computer I'm using it with has USB 3.0 so I don't really then NEED the slower FW800 option.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 02:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MagnusVonMagnum View Post
If you say so. I got a Memorex Blu-Ray/DVD/CD USB 3.0 burner for $69 on sale and my 3TB USB 3.0 external drive for $110 for a grand total of $179.

My Mac Mini already has the card reader on it (why would I need another one?). That leaves the extra two USB 3.0 ports which are nice, but not worth the $261 difference in price (i.e. $440 for a Blu-Ray Burner with 3TB; $400 for read-only Blu-Ray and 3TB).

I suppose it'd be nice to have the FW800 OPTION (theoretically it could come in handy if I had to use it with another computer), but the computer I'm using it with has USB 3.0 so I don't really then NEED the slower FW800 option.
I thought the base model had a blu ray drive in it. Apparently not pricing doesn't look so great now
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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Lack of Thunderbolt gives me little hope of that small plug ever taking off.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:43 PM   #9
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Lack of Thunderbolt gives me little hope of that small plug ever taking off.
I was going to say something about how I saw the lack of Thunderbolt as something that would make it affordable, but then I looked more closely at the $150 HDD/SDD-less model and saw that it was also a bring-your-own-optical-drive situation. (This is not clear from the article, as others have mentioned.)

So maybe not.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 02:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by themanfromvlad View Post
Lack of Thunderbolt gives me little hope of that small plug ever taking off.
Exactly my thoughts.

If they had made it with thunderbolt so you could use it for its storage and blu-ray + a hub for other interfaces, gosh, that would be the killing thing to have. If they had put two thunderbolt ports to allow the chain, simply awesome.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 02:14 PM   #11
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If I connect it through FireWire to my Mac, will I be able to read USB disks attached to the hub (or vice versa)?

Would make a nice hub. Use FireWire now as it is the fastest port on my computer. Later switch to USB 3 and still use the FireWire drive I have now.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 02:35 PM   #12
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Be kind of neat for backups. You could use it for your backup solution, and create off-site copies with the Blu-Ray burner, all in one place!

Also, one more futile attempt to remind people that even USB took YEARS to take off, thunderbolt will have it's day, though it will always be a small market share product for certain pro level hardware. It's not nor ever will be a consumer grade port, this is for enthusiasts and pros. It's like saying the 7xxx series AMD cards will never take off because not everyone on the entire planet uses them... well not everyone needs that level of performance!
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 03:15 PM   #13
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From the manual:

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The USB hub, card reader and optical drive all function exclusively over USB so if another cable is connected, they will continue to function over USB. If either a FireWire cable or an eSATA cable is plugged in, the hard drive will function over that interface.
The manual also mentions that it "requires" USB3, with no mention of backwards compatibility. Kind of disappointing.

Source: http://www.newertech.com/downloads/NWTMANMSTKMXOM.pdf
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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It can stack onto the Mac mini... I wonder if one day, the Mac mini will be the pro computer. One module for the 10TB SSD, one for a motherboard and 10GHz CPU and 256GB RAM, and... oh wait, none for optical media
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 07:26 AM   #15
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Usb 3

I just had to return 2 of OWC's MiniStack drives due to interference with both WiFi and Bluetooth signals. The drives are designed to be stacked but the proximity to the computer itself renders the mouse useless and puts a halt to wireless internet connections. OWC sells a kits to fix the problem and has a video showing how apply it- you have to completely tear down the Mini, voiding its warranty, to apply the shielding.

I hope that this new MiniStack has been designed to address the issue, otherwise you'll be purchasing long cables distance it from the Mini, not stacking it as it's designed to be used.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 12:53 PM   #16
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No thunderbolt? USELESS!

What the heck were they thinking?!?! No Thunderbolt connection?!?!? Useless!!! While I'm sure this helped keep the price down, it seems pretty dumb not to have TBolt...

And what good is a Blu-Ray drive on the Mac? If you boot camp, fine, but can you even play Blu-Ray movies on the Mac???
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 03:23 AM   #17
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At least two Thunderbolt ports is a must. No Thunderbolt is a deal breaker!!!
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themanfromvlad View Post
Lack of Thunderbolt gives me little hope of that small plug ever taking off.
Just buy the Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adaptor by Apple. Good to go, especially since that drive doesn't need bus power from the computer as it has its own.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:28 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by roland.g View Post
...I am a firm believer in external iTunes drives....
I have always had a strong feeling I should keep my iTunes library externally - could you say more why you believe as you do? A product like this might be very useful for that indeed.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:33 PM   #20
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This looks/sounds like an awesome little device.

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Originally Posted by GeekLawyer View Post
I have always had a strong feeling I should keep my iTunes library externally - could you say more why you believe as you do? A product like this might be very useful for that indeed.
For me, I keep my library on a 2Tb NAS share. Adding that (much) space to a MacBook or whatever could get very expensive, very quickly. Something like an external drive you can just keep upgrading and/or adding to quite cheaply ($100 per Tb isn't hard to find these days).
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by philr5150 View Post
This looks/sounds like an awesome little device.



For me, I keep my library on a 2Tb NAS share. Adding that (much) space to a MacBook or whatever could get very expensive, very quickly. Something like an external drive you can just keep upgrading and/or adding to quite cheaply ($100 per Tb isn't hard to find these days).
Same here. Just moved from a 1 TB to a 3 TB (both FW 800) over Christmas. Makes it so much easier.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 03:21 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by GeekLawyer View Post
I have always had a strong feeling I should keep my iTunes library externally - could you say more why you believe as you do? A product like this might be very useful for that indeed.
1. External drives mean that if your internal drive fails, you still have that data separate.

2. Your internal drive is usually smaller and is more expensive to upgrade. An external can easily be upgraded. And I have always bought an enclosure and a bare drive but deals at places like Costco make either option viable.

3. As you upgrade your machine, you simply copy the iTunes data library file to the user folder on your new machine and point iTunes to the external drive.

4. And while I use Time Machine to back up my internal drive, I use a second external drive along with Carbon Copy Cloner to backup my iTunes drive. So that I only need a backup as large as my media drive and don't weigh down my Time Machine backups. I also use CCC to clone in incremental backups, so that if anything gets accidentally deleted, I don't lose it. Which is why for this I think a mirror is a bad idea. I had originally looked into a Drobo, but they have poor performance and reliability from what I have read, at least they did when I was considering options a few years ago.

It may sound like a lot, a media drive, and media backup and a Time Machine backup, but after years of not backing up, I chose to get realistic about my needs and didn't want to lose all that data, from music and movies to iPhoto libraries with family photos.

Now iTunes match and iCloud do make it very easy to not need a physical backup of your data as the match and Cloud make it so you can redownload anything that goes missing, but not if Apple stops carrying it in their catalog, or in my case, a large part of both my music and movie libraries are from old media and not purchased through iTunes. I also don't currently use iTunes match.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 09:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roland.g View Post
Now iTunes match and iCloud do make it very easy to not need a physical backup of your data as the match and Cloud make it so you can redownload anything that goes missing, but not if Apple stops carrying it in their catalog, or in my case, a large part of both my music and movie libraries are from old media and not purchased through iTunes. I also don't currently use iTunes match.
Which inevitably is going to happen with a lot of media. Contracts do eventually expire, resulting a the publishers' losing their distribution rights.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 08:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by roland.g View Post
1. External drives mean that if your internal drive fails, you still have that data separate...
Thank you for that. I may just pull the trigger on an external drive of some variety for my iTunes/media library.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:22 PM   #25
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Nope.


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