NewerTech Releases miniStack MAX Hard Drive/Blu-Ray Burner/SD Card Reader/USB Hub

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.

    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
  2. macrumors 68000


    Dec 31, 2007
    Colorado & Ontario
    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).
  3. macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    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.

    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.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2006
    Lost Angeles, Ca. usa
    Wasted space on top. They could have used the top as a cup warmer.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2009
  6. macrumors 68000

    Mar 5, 2012
    Central California
  7. macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    Lack of Thunderbolt gives me little hope of that small plug ever taking off.
  8. macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    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.
  9. curmudgeon32, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2012
    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.
  10. macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    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?
  11. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 2, 2007
    The post is coming from inside the house!
    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.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany
    I think I haven't seen such ridiculously overpriced HDD options in a long time...

    Glassed Silver:mac
  13. curmudgeon32, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2012
    You're right. The specs on OWC's site list "compatible" Blu-ray drives, along with a price for each.
  14. macrumors regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    Lincoln, NE
    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).
  15. macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    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.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2011
    that why, rubber Grommets for.
    there is more chance optical drive will damage itself with own vibration :D
  17. RMo
    macrumors 65816

    Aug 7, 2007
    Iowa, USA
    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.
  18. Mojo1, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013

    macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    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...
  19. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    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.
  20. macrumors 603


    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.

  21. macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Apple built Mac Minis for years that were constructed just as closely together. Why would it be any less reliable now?
  22. macrumors 6502


    Mar 2, 2010
    Same here. Just moved from a 1 TB to a 3 TB (both FW 800) over Christmas. Makes it so much easier.
  23. macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    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?
  24. macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2008
    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.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2011
    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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