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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:10 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, 12:17 PM   #2
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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, 12:18 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, 12:20 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, 12:21 PM   #5
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not horrible pricing
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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Nope.


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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:22 PM   #7
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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, 12:25 PM   #8
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Does the $150 model include a Blu-ray reader?

This article makes it sound like it does but OWC's website make it sound like to have to bring your own drives, including the Blu-Ray drive.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:25 PM   #9
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The BYO drive option sounds like a very decent deal, especially considering how that you also get a few additional USB 3.0 ports. I think one of these with a 1- or 2TB drive might just be my next upgrade if I get more into video editing and need fast storage.

Never mind. I read this too fast and thought it had Thunderbolt. Forget it.

Last edited by curmudgeon32; Feb 14, 2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:27 PM   #10
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Is there any concern that the vibration from the optical drive will damage the hard drive, with them being right on top of each other?
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
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, 12:28 PM   #12
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I think I haven't seen such ridiculously overpriced HDD options in a long time...

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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgiguere1 View Post
Does the $150 model include a Blu-ray reader?

This article makes it sound like it does but OWC's website make it sound like to have to bring your own drives, including the Blu-Ray drive.
You're right. The specs on OWC's site list "compatible" Blu-ray drives, along with a price for each.

Last edited by curmudgeon32; Feb 14, 2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:33 PM   #14
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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, 12:35 PM   #15
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Correct me if I am wrong but it seems like this is purely a USB hub and if you connect using USB you can't use the Firewire or eSATA. It looks like the Firewire and eSATA are only for alternative connections from a computer to this should you not have a fast USB3 in which case you would still need to connect a USB2 cable for the USB (and presumably the card reader) to work.

Is this right?

If so it limits its usefulness to me.

Ideally I would have liked a thunderbolt connection that then gave additional USB3 and Firewire ports in addition to the bluray and hard disk expansion but alas this does not seem to be the case for it.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by brownpaw View Post
Is there any concern that the vibration from the optical drive will damage the hard drive, with them being right on top of each other?
that why, rubber Grommets for.
there is more chance optical drive will damage itself with own vibration
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by themanfromvlad View Post
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, 12:49 PM   #18
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Hopefully OWC has fixed the MiniStack USB 3.0 interference with Bluetooth and WiFi.

I bought a new MiniStack in December and it killed my Mac Mini WiFi connection. It might work if you place it far away from the computer but I didn't have a long USB 3.0 cable so I could test it. Since I purchased it so I could stack it with my Mini and it was unusable, I returned it for a refund.

I replaced it with a Mercury Elite Pro enclosure. Unfortunately, when connected via USB 3.0 the enclosure does not allow the drive to spin-down when the Mini is powered off. OWC is currently trying to figure out what is causing the problem...

Last edited by Mojo1; Feb 15, 2013 at 09:50 AM.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kerryn View Post
Correct me if I am wrong but it seems like this is purely a USB hub and if you connect using USB you can't use the Firewire or eSATA. It looks like the Firewire and eSATA are only for alternative connections from a computer to this should you not have a fast USB3 in which case you would still need to connect a USB2 cable for the USB (and presumably the card reader) to work.

Is this right?

If so it limits its usefulness to me.

Ideally I would have liked a thunderbolt connection that then gave additional USB3 and Firewire ports in addition to the bluray and hard disk expansion but alas this does not seem to be the case for it.
That is correct. Even without Thunderbolt, if it had a USB 3.0 connection that also acted as a hub PLUS added an eSATA and firewire (over that single USB 3.0 connection), then this seems like a decent deal (especially if the ESATA had port multiplying capabilities). Unfortunately, all this is, is a USB 3.0 hub with single hard drive and an optical bay. Not terrible, but when you really get down to it, the eSATA (especially) and the firewire are virtually useless.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryn View Post
Correct me if I am wrong but it seems like this is purely a USB hub and if you connect using USB you can't use the Firewire or eSATA.
From the article:

"A quad interface allows you to choose the data connection that suits your workflow–USB 3.0/2.0, FireWire® 800/400 or eSATA–with data transfer speeds up to 300MB/s."

That's what you connect to the computer. I have an external drive from them and I use FW800 since it is bi-directional fast. There is probably a way to do a TB to eSATA converter to further increase the speed.

It seems like a good price for what amounts to an airplay/NAS compatible external storage and burn unit. It is attached to your computer to function.

The interesting thing is they are going against the flow by emphasizing the optical media in an era where it is declining in popularity, but for a media center or media ingest station, it's not bad at all.

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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by brownpaw View Post
Is there any concern that the vibration from the optical drive will damage the hard drive, with them being right on top of each other?
Apple built Mac Minis for years that were constructed just as closely together. Why would it be any less reliable now?
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:56 PM   #22
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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, 12:58 PM   #23
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I know nothing about Bluray. Past discussions have talked about how OS X lacks Bluray codecs, so even if you plug a Bluray in, you can't watch them as you would a DVD. Is that right? If so, are there third party codecs you can download and/or purchase?
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:06 PM   #24
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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, 01:14 PM   #25
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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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