Newer miniStack Screw Type?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Makosuke, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #1
    I have a Newer miniStack, current USB 3 version, for which I somehow managed to lose the four corner screws that hold the main part of the case to the top cover.

    I dug through my computer screw bin, but only one screw in the whole thing fit. So I went to the hardware store--and not a single screw in the entire screw aisle was the correct size and thread.

    Anybody have any idea what obscure thread these crazy things are? The manual doesn't say and I'm still waiting for a reply from tech support...
     
  2. Hrhnick macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    #2

    Sorry in advance, I don't have the answer, but rather a question on your experience with the MiniStack, read mixed reviews.

    Is the enclosure aluminum, or plastic painted silver?
    Do you notice any wifi/bluetooth interference?
     
  3. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #3
    Material-wise, the bottom plate (to which the drive and electronics are attached) is black plastic, probably ABS. The top surface appears to be a thin, shiny piece of decorative black plastic, glued to a layer of sheet metal underneath for strength. The outside edge is a VERY thick sold block of aluminum--you could probably stand on it. The sheet metal is screwed to the aluminum, with the plastic stuck over the screws, concealing them. It doesn't have a finned piece of aluminum under the drive like the older miniStacks, but the drive does sit on some dense rubber cushions, so it is vibration damped pretty well.

    Which is to say the entire top portion is effectively a solid chunk of metal, although it doesn't look like it. Overall the build quality and finish is extremely good, and it's plenty strong enough to support a mini on top of it.

    As for wireless interference, never any that I noticed. There does not appear to be any electrical connection between the top case and the electrical ground, so it isn't technically a faraday cage, but I would assume the metal provides some degree of shielding. Besides, it uses an external 12V power brick, so the really noisy power electronics are located elsewhere--everything inside is ICs and DC power.

    As for reliability, I had mixed results. The eSATA connection worked fine. The FW800 seemed to work okay, although I had issues chaining anything which may or may not have been the fault of my crusty mini. The USB3 connection, however, had a tendency to drop out periodically, so it wasn't usable as a reliable external.

    What I don't know is whether it had the USB problem originally, or if it started flaking out after 1-2 years of use, since I didn't really try to use the USB initially until I started having problems with my Mini and repurposed (or tried to repurpose) the miniStack as a USB3 external.

    I can say that whatever controller it uses fixes the spin down problem that the older-style v3 miniStacks had (some--all?--hard drives, when installed in one, would spin down once a minute no matter what you were doing with the drive, which made it largely useless as a primary external).

    If you want to buy a used one cheap, I'm about to sell it, since I have no use for it now (I switched to OWC ThunderBays for external storage).
     
  4. Hrhnick macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    #4
    Thanks for the offer, USB 3 is what I need, so I'll pss on the offer
     
  5. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #5
    Just to note, if you want a budget roll-your-own USB3 external, the Vantec NexStar 6G checks all the basic feature boxes, is unobtrusive design-wise, has been running rock-solid for me for two or three weeks now, and costs all of $25 shipped. The HX series adds a large fan and bumps up the cost a bit, and I assume it has the same controller, although it's also bit ugly in my opinion.

    Of course, it's possible that a brand new miniStack would work perfectly via USB3. I've just heard over and over that some cases have a tendency to drop the connection occasionally while others don't, and the one I have is certainly doing that now.
     
  6. Oldmanmac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    #6
    "As for reliability, I had mixed results. The eSATA connection worked fine. The FW800 seemed to work okay, although I had issues chaining anything which may or may not have been the fault of my crusty mini."

    I had the same problem with the FW800 port. Actually, it didn't work.
     
  7. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #7
    If it didn't work from the beginning, at all, I'm suspicious there might have actually been something wrong with the controller. Mine at least worked for a while, so I could say it wasn't an infant failure/D.O.A., but at some point when I tried chaining something to it it didn't do what I expected.

    At this point, I'm not clear which of the issues I'm having are due to controller problems and which are just it not being a good product, but at best it started flaking out a little after the 1-year warranty expired, so it's not reliable and I'm not inclined to put any more time into figuring out exactly what the cause is. Real disappointment, because I liked everything else about it.
     

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