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Newer Technology Announces miniStack Max As Industry’s First Four-in-One Storage, Access, And Connectivity Solution

Newer Technology, Inc. today announced the miniStack Max, the latest version of its award-winning quad-interface powered hub storage solution. Offering Plug and Play ease of use with Macs or PCs thanks to five interfaces—USB 3.0, USB 2.0, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and eSATA—the miniStack Max is the only four-in-one storage, data access, connectivity solution on the market.  In addition to adding an optical drive and an integrated SD card reader to its time-proven design, the latest miniStack is now available with an expanded storage capacity of up to 4TB. The new miniStack storage line and other unique Newer Technology products will be shown in Other World Computing’s booth #5231, LVCC North Hall, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins today in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sized for the Mac mini, Ideal for Any Computer

Elegantly designed with an anodized aluminum body and glossy black top, the miniStack’s footprint is identical to the Mac mini (2010 or later) for a stackable, seamless look. The miniStack also provides Plug and Play ease of use with any Mac or PC that has an available USB 3.0, USB 2.0, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, or eSATA port.  With its quad-interface versatility and ultra-small form factor, the miniStack Max delivers cross-platform portability, enabling users to move easily among multiple Macintosh computers and laptops and virtually any Windows-based computer with a USB, FireWire, or eSATA port.

Professional-Level Storage Made Plug-and-Play Simple

Delivering storage capacity up to 4TB, the miniStack’s 7200RPM hard drive can easily handle the demands of extended storage or backup and data-intensive applications such as professional audio and video editing, digital photography, MP3 music libraries, and high-speed backup. And, with multiple interfaces, users can choose the data connection that’s compatible with their computer and workflow needs. It’s the ideal solution for storing entire music, photo and video libraries, and even burning backups via the internal optical drive.

Restores Optical Drive Convenience

With the newly added internal optical drive, the miniStack Max is ideal for users of the 2010-2011 Mac mini which no longer includes an optical drive, as well as legacy Mac mini users with an inoperative drive. The miniStack Max is the convenient solution users need to install software from a CD or DVD, load music into iTunes, access archived photos, or watch DVD movies on their computer without extra cords, clutter, or cost.

Reads SD Memory Cards in a Flash

The integrated SD (SDXC) card reader on the front of miniStack Max makes transferring photos and video super-simple—no more fumbling around the back of the Mac mini to access the SD slot. It also helps keep the desktop clean by eliminating the need for an external card reader and yet another cable.

Connects and Charges Digital Devices

Three powered USB ports on the back make the miniStack Max a convenient digital hub for connecting external devices like iPhones, scanners or keyboards. One of the USB ports is a high-powered 2.1Amp slot, making it ideal for charging an iPad or other devices that require more power than the standard USB provides.


• Storage options from 0GB kits up to 4TB solutions

• Optical read/write CD/DVD drive

• USB hub with three USB 3.0/2.0 ports, one with 2.1Amp power for charging devices like the iPad

• Two FireWire 800 ports (backward compatible with FireWire 400) and one eSATA port

• Front panel easy access SD card reader (SDXC)

• MagLev fan (same as used in the Mac mini) offers frictionless, whisper-quiet operation

• Integrated Kensington Security Slot for theft prevention

• High-quality, double-shielded connection cables included for all interfaces

• Identical footprint to 2010 and later Mac mini (measures 7.7 (W) x 7.7 (D) x 2.33 (H) inches)

• Durable anodized aluminum body complements Mac aluminum finish

When the original miniStack was introduced in 2005, it immediately became an industry best selling product because of its unique design and feature set,” said Larry O’Connor, President, Newer Technology Inc. “Over the past year, we worked diligently to perfect the new miniStack Max’s four-in-one storage, data access, and interface capabilities to ensure its broad appeal. While it’s the ultimate upgrade for 2010-2011 Mac mini owners, the new miniStack Max is also ideal for use with other Macs and PCs due to all the built-in convenience features not found in other external solutions.


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    • While we are working on several Thunderbolt-equipped products currently, we can’t really speak as to the possibility, specifications, or timeframes of future products here on the OWC Blog.

    • Knock on wood, the delay is almost over. We’re currently expecting these to be available towards the month’s end.

      • With so many unexplained delays….I have to wonder what is wrong with this product? I wanted to replace my old one that died….been waiting over a year for this and need an explanation as to WHY it’s delayed and are you confident the issues are addressed?

        1st one dying on me…I’ll deal with it. But issues with the “new” one… unacceptable …please give us more info.

        Thank you!

        • Hi Lisa:

          Not sure what you mean regarding “first one dying”….we have not shipped/sold one miniStack MAX unit. Perhaps referring to a previous generation miniStack? If so, sorry to hear of any issue you are having with it. As the product has been well proven over the years and with multiple variations of the product, it can be frustrating when that product experiences an issue. Have you discussed you miniStack with our customer support team?

          Quite simply, the delay is with our development partner on this product.

          But regardless of that delay, you can rest assured we will not release this product unless it meets our stringent quality, reliability, and performance standards.

  • Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really loved surfing around your weblog posts.

    In any case I will be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  • I’m a big fan of OWC and recommend them as my go-to for Mac upgrades. I just bought a new mini to replace my 2009 model and I’m really looking forward to the Stack Max. I have the miniStack V3 now but, of course, I must have the version to match my new mini. ;-) As soon as you’re selling, I’m buying!

  • I’m on the verge of getting something else at this point. I thought I’d wait for this, because of the matching footprint to my new mini, but I don’t like not having a backup. This is crazy waiting this long for an announcement.

    If not now, then never for me…. my last Ministack failed and left me high and dry days after the warranty ended… OWC wouldn’t help me and told me this was coming soon. Not sure this is something worth waiting for after all.

    Time to move on.

    • At this point, we’re estimating that the miniStack should be available in the next month or so – while the miniStack Max will not be available until late summer.

        • We’re still estimating that the miniStack should be available in the upcoming weeks – while the miniStack Max will not be available until late summer.

          • Hi Michael,
            any news on when the miniStack (not Max) will be available for purchase? Summer 2012, Fall 2012, ??

            • No real news yet other than they are delayed. We’ll update the comments here when we know how long of a delay we’re looking at.

              • Being an engineer who’s been intimately involved in getting products to market, I feel your pain!! Thanks Michael.

  • Is this product still on schedule for release this month? It’s March 21 and I’ve not seen an update.

  • Honestly, I’m not sure why folks keep whining about lack of Thunderbolt in this product – GET OVER IT OR GET SOMETHING ELSE!

    For me, the updated ‘standard’ miniStack fits the bill just fine for me. I have a mid 2010 macmini server (the one with 2 internal hard drives and no optical drive) that runs the standard Snow Leopard OS (not the server version), and I am running out of disk space, so just looking for something that is the same form factor and look and feel, and from the photos, looks just right, since this would be in my living room entertainment rack alongside AV equipment.

    Even the DC brick is not a big deal to me, since I have other components in my living room entertainment rack that also have DC bricks that are hidden from view behind the rack.

    Speaking for myself, I think you folks have hit the nail right on the head with these products, I just hope I can purchase one soon!

  • If you offer a version with a BluRay burner, preferably one that can write the 120GB media, I’ll be the first in line for it!

    (I don’t expect to be able to play or rip Hollywood movies, but it would be a sweet option for no-so-longterm backups.)

  • I’m guessing it may be too late for any changes, but a front USB port or two would be useful for connecting flash drives or other temporary connections.

    Otherwise I’m wondering how many drives can be attached internally, just a 3.5″ and a slim optical drive (or 2.5″ with caddy)? The footprint looks big enough for two 2.5″s side by side, which would be useful for extra storage or redundancy.

  • Hi,
    how much will the regoular will costs?
    do the esata and usb works together?
    I mean if one could connect the esata for data transfer and usb for the hub.

    • The units will be available by late March with pricing to be announced.
      You can access the drive via eSATA, FireWire, or USB – but use of the USB hub does require the drive to be attached via USB as well.

    • Both the Rosewill RSV-S5 (which I assume is the model you’re referring to) and the miniStack Max have but one eSATA port for direct connection to a computer with an available eSATA port (native or via add-on card).

  • While I’m very pro TB, it’s still early in its lifecycle. As Intel ramps the production of the next generation of chipsets on smaller die (cheaper / lower power), I expect that TB will become much more common place. In essence, I’m in agreement with OWC that there isn’t any great benefit to jumping in early.

    Somewhere in my future, I hope that a few of the high end audio builders look at a modular, black box approach using TB with OSX for setup and control, and Airplay and iOS for the remote UI.

    With TB’s low latency, this would be a very nice approach to home theater audio with a mac mini as host.

  • Sorry to say that the guys at Newer Technology have got this all wrong. They’ve made a product specifically designed for a computer that can’t use it. I can’t believe this was even announced, it’s a disgrace at best.

    I know that the product will “work”, but it’s going to be unusable at best. 3 different connections is fine I guess, but only one of them is worth anything (firewire). If this were properly designed, it would use thunderbolt as the one connection to the computer, and that would enable everything else to be used. It’s really simple guys. It’s time to move forward with the technology.

    Thunderbolt has been out for long enough already, it should be used. There are really no good excuses at this point in time. I’m sure the engineers could send me a great sob story about how hard it is, or how expensive it is, or various other things, but they would all be bad excuses. One port could power the drive, USB 3.0 (with card reader), optical drive, firewire, and eSATA (that way the eSATA could be used to connect other drives!).

    Frankly, you could even throw in a Gigabit Ethernet port and make it a server solution, but that’s not necessary.

    Also… external power brick? Really? The Mac mini is smaller, and doesn’t need one. Build it in. Stop taking shortcuts, otherwise you end up with bad products, like this.

  • Sorry one more follow up comment, I have been doing some research and I could build a full TB connected – Full USB 3, firewire 800, SATA 6gbps device for less than £200!!!!

    using a Sonnet Echo external TB – PCIe box @ £120 (sonnet echo box has 2 x PCIe X8 slots and 1 x PCIe X4 slot)
    PCIe USB 3.0 controller card @ £15
    PCIe Firewire 800 card @ £20
    PCIe Sata 6gbps card @ £7 ( this would provide 2 internal SATA 6gbps ports and 2 external eSATA 6gbps ports, you can fit a 2.5″ SATA 3 HDD inside the Sonnet Echo box )
    SATA 3 HDD @ £32 (of course you could get a better hdd or even ssd)

    TOTAL COST = £194 (GBP) OR $296 (USD)

    • Was looking over that setup, and it would be quite sweet, if a bit of a hassle to swap out and store the PCIe cards or more expensive to daisy-chain multiple units. The Sonnet Echo Express and Echo Express XL haven’t been released yet and I think you’ll find they add one or two PCIe slots respectively.

      We’re excited to see those products come to market as well (as we do sell a wide variety of Sonnet products).

      The Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter is currently available and given the right ExpressCard/34 card, you certainly could add FireWire 800 or SATA Revision 3.0 (6Gb/s) devices via Thunderbolt. With only one TB port though, there isn’t any daisy-chaining of devices available though and it becomes a great chain terminating product.

      Speaking of more expensive, currently the only provider of the cables themselves is Apple and $50 (USD) per cable adds up fast to daisy chain multiple devices together.

      We’re as anxious as everyone to offer our own Thunderbolt products as well, but we simply do not announce products that aren’t ready yet.

  • Why has no-one pointed out the bleeding obvious!!! What is the point of USB 3.0 on the Ministack if it is just bottlnecked by its USB 2.0 connection!!!! Absolutely no point what so ever!!,

    ThunderBolt is essentially a PCIe x8 (or maybe x4) solt on a wire! you could get a USB 3.0 controller at 100% full USB 3.0 speed as well as an additional firewire 800 controller (not just hubbed) mega fast internal storage, full esata speed port plus a whole lot more. in addition to that there would only be 1 cable from the ministack to the Mac Mini itself!!!!!

    Come-on OWC surely you can see this was the product everyone was expecting!!!! you guys have made the coolest looking Mustang with a 125cc dirtbike engine inside!!!!!!!!

  • My wish would have been for an improved miniStack that is fanless, flatter, and with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt.

    • Well, we’ve got you halfway there.
      The miniStacks do have a fan – considering they’re designed to be stacked on top of each other and/or a Mac mini, heat dissipation becomes a concern. However, we’re using the same MagLev fans used in the Mac mini. If you have a mini, it’s not going to be any louder than that.
      The miniStack is about half the height of the miniStack Max, and both models have USB 3.0 built in.
      As for Thunderbolt… well… you can read about that in the rest of the comments. :-)

      • It may be the same fan, but definitely runs a lot faster and louder, really a disappointment. Even when the mini is shut off and presumably the ministack drive spins down (assuming that works as advertised), the fan is still quite loud, so I would need to turn off the power strip to return to a quiet room, which isn’t practical. The claim that it’s just as quiet as the mini is very misleading for the majority of users.

  • Why add an SD card reader? This is bloat.

    Do you want people to only buy ONE miniStack Max? Don’t you want people to buy two or more?

    After all, when you buy two or more, you wind up with redundant and useless SD card readers. This feature is a waste.

    The optical drive is also bloat, but then some people can actually use them to duplicate or rip multiple DVDs at a time.

    • Actually, we’ve found that many people would like an SD card reader where it’s easily accessible when needed, but out of the way when it’s not. The same thing goes with the optical drive. There are a number of situations that an optical drive is useful, such as for those with a 2011 Mac mini, a MacBook Air, or those who removed their optical drive to install a Data Doubler.

      Fortunately, you only need to buy one miniStack Max – if you need more storage and want to stack them, you’ll want to check out the latest “regular” miniStack. Same footprint, same capacities, but no optical drive or SD reader.

  • I bought 2 miniStacks last year. I cannot stand them on the desktop. They are simply TOO LOUD for continuous use on the desktop since the fan is always on. They are like having a white-noise machine on all the time. The noise is terrible and distracting. Yes it is “quiet”. But in a quiet room it is loud.

    I now just keep one on only when needed for direct backup use. And the other one I keep away from me in another room attached to an Airport Extreme for backups over the network.

    For the shear quietness, I love my Mercury Elite Pros – which do not have fans. I have 12 of them on my desktop and they make hardly any noise. For hard drives that I keep on continuously work work on the desktop, the Mercury Elite Pros are fantastic.

    So how “whisper quiet” is the new miniStack? The previous miniStack is NOT quiet by any means. They are louder than my MacBook Pro 17 when its fans are on. I wish they were fanless in design since the miniStack is a lot lighter than the Mercury Elite Pro, making them good for portable use.

    • I’d venture to say that your situation is outside the norm. I have used several miniStacks over the years and have had no problem with noise at all. The exhaust fan on my Dad’s 2010 mini is louder than the mS 2.5 he’s got right next to it. The same thing goes with the one running at my workstation here at OWC. It sits less than 3 feet from my head, and it hasn’t bothered me in the least, though I will allow that my Mac Pro can get pretty loud. At home, though, I have another pair – one of which is part of my home theater setup. I can tell you, any unacceptable noise would be noticed there, and it has worked without incident.

      However, different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Some people are more sensitive to fan noise than others.

      • Have to agree with James here. I have the previous generation ministack too, and the fans was replaced once by newer because it was so loud, and now the replacement is equally loud. I have it in an upstairs common area and when the fan comes on I can hear it on the first floor. It’s that loud.

  • When I read about this device, I just expected it to be the new Belkin TB Hub done right with two HDDs so we Mac (mini) users could get some USB 3, eSata love etc but it wasn’t to be. Reading all the comments it looks like you and NewerTech should consider a Thunderbolt Hub version of this :)

  • This looks like a nice addition for any Mac Mini even with the types of ports it offers. Seems that Firewire 800 for now and later, when Belkin or others roll out their Thunderbolt Hubs, we can go to eSata.

    For now, I see this as a nice back up tool and work space for large files and of course one could use it for TimeMachine.

    Just a wayward opinion – I think its miserable that Apple would put Thunderbolt on their machines and many many months must go by before reasonably priced devices with Thunderbolt would come out. i am reminded of the debacle with Firewire and why USB ruled the roost (even with slower connectivity). About the time we get decent priced Thunderbolt options, PC world will also have Thunderbolt. So much for bleeding edge technology on Macs – Sigh.

  • So without Thunderbolt, it would appear the best Mac Mini connection on this gadget is FW 800.

    Now FW 800 is faster than spindle drives, so that’s fine.

    But if connected to a Mini by FW 800:

    1. Are the USB Ports Active at the best USB 3.0 speed a FW 800 connection could provide, or active at all?
    2. How about the eSata port. Is that pass through, or input?

    • For attaching to a Mac mini, FireWire 800 offers the best current data transfer speeds. To use the USB ports and SDXC card reader, as with the last version on the miniStack, a second USB connection is required.

      The eSATA port is there for connection to machines with eSATA available, such as an iMac that has an added High-Performance eSATA Port via our OWC Turnkey Upgrade Program.

      • Because eSATA is the future!

        Just so we are clear. No to the superior ports shipping natively on all new Macs from 2011 and going forward into the near future, but yes to an old port the Mac has never supported and yes to a future, but inferior, tech that may or may not be in future Macs.

        I’m sure Apple won’t, but I could make an argument for leaving off USB3 all together, opting for a bunch of TB ports that can be anything and more.

        While the competition gives us blazing SSD options for TB, OWC gives us FW800.

        • You should probably keep in mind that we sell products not only for the latest model Macs, but for older Macs and PCs, too. Our currently released products can connect in a number of different ways to a wide variety of machines, making them more versatile than being locked into just using Thunderbolt.

          And, like I said elsewhere, you can hook this miniStack to a TB to eSATA or USB adapter down the line and get much the same speed as you would with a direct TB connection.

  • Nice stepping stone, but as said lacks Thunderbolt connectivity for daisy-chaining/secondary monitor.
    Also lacks a PCIe x16 slot for a video card ;-) I’d trade the 3.5 hdd for that.

      • Very true — though it would then be a product I’d be likely to buy. With thunderbolt and all ports active through that this is a killer product… Without thunderbolt this isn’t very compelling at all.

  • OWC OWC … why would I connect an eSata or USB3.0 port to my Mini via a USB2.0 connection? Come on, it’s 2012 and I want to transfer files to/from my Mini at TB/eSata/USB3.0 speeds. Yes FW800 is hanging in there but it’s getting long in the tooth and none of the PC people I know can take my FW800 external drive since they lack those ports . TB is the go.

    • It’s not offering Thunderbolt… but there will be high performance options for eSATA and USB3 to Thunderbolt in the future.

      Thunderbolt isn’t there yet and from a market perspective adds a ton of cost that isn’t justified today for each and every storage solution. Everyone asks for it – but between the cable and chipset implementation with the other interfaces that are a must for the market it adds more than $100 to retail which doesn’t make sense with better options/flexibility via future adapters.

      Anyway – this is built for today and for tomorrow and we’re really pulling for USB3 on the next Mac refresh.

      • Thunderbolt isn’t there yet for you. But if you leave your booth at CES, I’m sure you’ll find a few people that disagree. (As I write this, my latest RSS feed comes across, “Will 2012 be Thunderbolt’s year? Devices arrive in force at CES.)

        I guess you guys must be pretty impressed with Seagates $99 GoFlex adapter for Thunderbolt… since its such a huge expense to add to your devices.

        And you’re right by the way, TB doesn’t make sense for every type of storage solution but it does make sense for some. And what I consider(ed) to be the top Mac “after market” company ought to be leading the TB charge, but instead we get, “oh its not ready yet”, or “oh its too expensive”. Your competitors seem to be finding ways to get products to market. Honestly I thought we’d see some kind of PCI-e/SSD/TB solutions (as well as a freaking TB dongle!!!) from you guys but instead we get FW 800, and USB 3.

        Your last line almost brings me to anger, but as I am a man of peace, I will abide. This is not built for today or tomorrow, its built for yesterday. Your hoping USB3 shows up? WTH?? You’ve got a much faster port and its actually on Macs right now, you don’t have to hope they will ship with it some time!!!! Arrgghhh! Your making devices for ports that aren’t even on Macs!!!!! But you ignore the port that is faster and already on the Mac?

        Sorry, I like you guys but this is monumentally stupid.

        • LOL it doesn’t really make me angry in the literal sense, that was a joke, but rereading the post I see I forgot to mention that.

        • Mind you, we’ve not said that a TB device is not coming. We have just not made any announcements regarding any potential future products. That goes with most any product we produce – it’s better to announce it when it comes out and is ready, rather than announce it and have it delayed multiple times.

          As Orson Welles once said (or at least was paid to say), “We will sell no wine before its time.” – and that was for some fairly mediocre wine, we’re talking high-speed storage. If/when we release a TB product, it’ll be after we’re sure it’s ready.

          In the meantime, the products we are releasing will work with your Mac (or, dare I say it, PC) quite adequately right now via its current connections. Down the road, that same drive can connect to Thunderbolt via an eSATA or USB adapter. Considering we’re mostly dealing with single-drive units you’re not losing a whole lot of speed by not having a direct TB port anyway.

  • What a great product – IF IT ONLY HAD THUNDERBOLT.
    Whithout thunderbolt, this device is just another “mac Mini shaped” disk case :(
    Me and my colleagues and friends are going to wait until a case with thunderbolt arrives.

  • How will the mac mini be connected to the miniStack?

    Must be through the thunderbolt interface no? How else ?

    • As with the last version of the miniStack, it connects via USB and FireWire. Firewire gives you the fastest data transfer speeds possible for the drives between the Mac mini and this product while USB provides plenty of throughput for the USB hub and SDXC card reader.

  • I was all excited when seeing this miniStack Max until I read further and realized that it doesn’t connect via Thunderbolt. So disappointing!

      • It’s not kind of strange. It’s a relatively new Apple technology, and it’s still wait and see (from what I’ve read) whether it’ll take off and become standardized in the industry.

        • It may not be strange, but without it, how is the Mini Stack Max connecting to the Mini, and how is it supporting simultaneous eSATA and multiple FireWire and USB 3.0 interfaces? Something seems strange if you ask me.

        • It’s Intel technology. Lots of windoze based computers announced with Thunderbolt. It is strange it’s not included in this otherwise great unit. I’ll wait till it has Thunderbolt.