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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

mini - Experience with miniStack v2 from NewerTechnology?


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mac57

 
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I am considering buying one of the 250G external miniStack v2 drives from NewerTechnology. These are the ones that perfectly fit the Mac Mini form factor and can sit right underneath a mini - hence the "stack" in the name.

Does anyone have any experience with them? My major concern, since it would be sitting right on my desk, is noise. Is this drive as quiet as the mini itself (or even quieter?).

Thanks.

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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kaidomac

 
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I just ordered an empty miniSTack v2 from OWC for my Mini. I'll let you know how it turns out. Read through this review and discussion for some good insights:

http://www.123macmini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4409

Bottom line according to that review - good unit, somewhat noisy when the fan kicks on. Mine will just be for backup, so I'll only switch it on as needed.

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Thanks, I'll look forward to your review. The comments on fan noise go right to my major fear about the unit - I think I will hold off on any purchase just yet.

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
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kaidomac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac57
Thanks, I'll look forward to your review. The comments on fan noise go right to my major fear about the unit - I think I will hold off on any purchase just yet.
Yeah, my Mini is actually very quiet even with the 2ghz mod I did, so I initially didn't want something with a lot of noise. I only use my backup hard drive when I actually make a system backup, so it's not on 24/7. If you are planning on using it as your boot drive, then it's a different story. Anyway, I just picked up a nice Firewire/USB enclosure along with a 500-gig hard drive ($179 on sale from Outpost.com!). It's big, but it's very quiet since it doesn't have a fan. Aside from taking up extra space on my desk (which isn't that big of a deal because I have an external Firewire DVD burner and it sits nicely on top of it), the extra Firewire port doesn't work for daisy-chaining when my drive is off; same thing with my DVD burner. So in order to use one of the devices I have to turn on the other device. The 5.25" burner DOES have a fan in it and is kind of loud. Small annoyance because I then have to eject both drives when I'm done using just one of them. I use both drives on a near-daily basis so that would be pretty annoying. OTOH, the MiniStack has an integrated Firewire hub so I can plug in multiple Firewire devices without having to have the hard drive inside turned on (plus it matches the Mini). I just with they'd come out with a slimline, slot-loading 8x dual-layer DVD burner with Lightscribe, I'd be all set! Hopefully the MiniStack will show up this weekend, I'll let you know how it turns out. BTW, I'm going to put my current Firewire enclosure up for sale if you're interested. If you want a quieter solution it's a good way to go:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817146602

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Thanks for the offer, but it is the overall package deal that is of interest in the miniStack. For a very reasonable price you get a 250G hardrive (Seagate Barracuda, no less!), a USB hub, a Firewire hub AND a set of Intech disk tools. It is quite a compelling offer for a price which would normally buy just the disk alone.

LaCie makes some completely fanless and thus totally quiet drives, and there is a Seagate that has been reviewed by many folks on Amazon as being very quiet. All of these are options if the miniStack is just too noisy.

Do let us know how your miniStack experience turns out.

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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I got it up and running yesterday. It looks quite nice with my Intel Mini:

http://www.wiredbynature.org/comp/ma.../ministack.jpg

The color is close but is actually a bit darker than the Mini's silver. The blue light on the front is a nice touch; it's not blindingly bright like most blue LEDs. I installed a 500-gig Seagate drive in my MiniStack v2. Installation was a snap: screw the hard drive into the mounting plate and set it to Master, plug in the power and data cables, screw the mounting plate back into the enclosure, and press-fit the lid (it has clips) onto the top of it. There aren't any special clips or indentations for the Mini to slip into; it's purely a friction thing - just drop the Mini on top and line it up with the sides of the enclosure. I am very pleased with the overall looks; it fits in quite nicely with the Mini's decor.

Regarding noise, there are two types of noise: hard drive noise and fan noise. My hard drive is fairly quiet but is definately audible. The smaller Seagates that I own (250-gig for example) are nearly dead-silent; the 500-gig drive has more noise than those do. The fan kicks in after awhile. It is noisy in the sense that you can hear it, but it is not an annoying noise in my opinion. It sounds like a very distant vacuum cleaner, like you would hear from a different room. More soothing than annoying, I would say. Definately a nicer whir than, say, a Dell desktop. If you happen to be working in a completely quiet environment, it will be very noticeable. The nice thing about having a fan is that it drowns out the hard drive noise, so there are pros and cons to having a fan in your enclosure.

The hub does NOT function if the unit is turned off. I personally find this very annoying. I only like to keep my external hard drive on when I am making a backup; this way it stays safe and protected and gets less mileage (= longer life). The workaround here is to turn the unit on and when the hard drive appears on the desktop, drag it to the trash. You can then re-mount it via Disk Utility when you want to use it again, without having to turn the entire unit off and on again. If the fan is running, it turns off a minute or two after you eject the disk. Small hassle but what can you do.

Overall, I feel that it was a good purchase. It gave me extra USB and Firewire ports, as well as an external hard drive, without ruining the aesthetics of the Mini on my desktop. Now I just need to write an AppleScript or something to re-mount the drive without having to open up Disk Utility and remount it myself...

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Hmm, just got home and my hard drive is ejected yet the fan is still running

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Figured it out yet? I was heartened by your comment that you could just eject the disk to turn off the fan. Like you, I don't want that disk spinning all the time, but I do want the hub to be available all the time. I hope you find a way around this! Good luck!

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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kaidomac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac57
Figured it out yet? I was heartened by your comment that you could just eject the disk to turn off the fan. Like you, I don't want that disk spinning all the time, but I do want the hub to be available all the time. I hope you find a way around this! Good luck!
No, the fan still kicks in occasionally even with the drive ejected. Bummer. I just sold my MiniStack since I have a larger, fanless enclosure to put my hard drive in and because I've got a dedicated Firewire hub on the way. I'm also planning on selling my Mini eventually to get a MacBook and the non-Mini-style enclosure should work out better.

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