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A Mac Mini Wants The miniStack 2.0TB Compact USB 3.1 Gen 1 Solution

Daily Two Cents | November 22, 2016 | By Marshal Rosenthal
Original Article Link: http://dailytwocents.com/mac-mini-wants-ministack-2-0tb-compact-usb-3-1-gen-1-solution/
Product Being Reviewed: OWC miniStack


OWC miniStack


Mac users have long enjoyed the idea of a small PC that didn’t burden them with a built in display – hence the value and appreciation for the Mac Mini. But with a small footprint comes the reality that adding an external hard drive dilutes the appearance and adds those pesky cables and power adapter into the equation. So the value and appreciation now focuses on OWC’s miniStack 2.0TB Compact USB 3.1 Gen 1 Solution.

The miniStack can be broken up into what you see and what you can't. What you can see is a stylish, aluminum constructed Mac Mini-like slab whose footprint is just as small as the Mini’s is. In fact, you’ll be sliding the minStack under the Mini because stacking the two together makes perfect sense and just increases the sleek, futuristic appearance by blending the two together. So if the Mac Mini becomes the “background” of your computing, the miniStack is the Plus One and the only thing you’d see if you turned it around would be the USB 3.1 interface port, the On switch, the power supply plug and a security slot. What all of these do is obvious, including connecting c a USB cable between the miniStack and the Mac Mini (2010 or later models).

Now with X-Ray vision we can look inside and see past the circuitry to the single important component: a 2 Terabyte DT01ACA Series hard drive. Spinning away at 7200rpm (not the puny 5200 of a laptop model), the hard drive relies on the USB 3.1 Gen Interface to enact a high speed performance. What that means in the real world are transfer speeds of up to 206 MB/s (megabytes a second). What that means in real world use is that you’re not sitting there tapping your feet when a large file is being copied or a video being played or a backup being made. Yeah, having a fast hard drive is something one can get used to real quick.  

So you turn on the Mac Mini and the minStack's hard drive gets recognized by the macOS operating system (no need to load in drivers unless you plan to use it with Windows - which you can). Format the drive using Disk Utility and you’re ready to go - saving whatever you want onto the miniStack's drive. And while Spring may be far off now, heat and hard drives are never friends so OWC thoughtfully included a MagLev fan (yes the kind that avoids blade friction and noise using a magnetic field) to keep the air circulating inside and exiting to the outside.

So the final question is why get the miniStack. Obviously because as it pertains to your Mac Mini, storage has become an issue, or is about to. Like death and taxes, you can’t get away from needing more storage space, because there’s always going to be “more” digital files that are going to need a home (that includes text, photos, videos, projects, books, music, etc. and etc.). So instead of sticking some unsightly hard drive up against the Mini and shuddering every time your eyes scan from what's well designed to just plain ugly, getting the miniStack 2.0TB Compact USB 3.1 Gen 1 Solution for $169.99 retail for your Mac Mini makes the most perfect of sense.