capsule review

Iomega MiniMax, 250GB

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Though Apple’s Mac mini isn’t quite as popular as the iPod, it has attracted its share of third-party accessory vendors. In fact, there are at least five major storage companies now making desktop hard drives designed to sit beneath this ultra-compact Mac. The latest company to ship such a device is Iomega, whose speedy MiniMax drive not only increases the amount of available data storage, but also features an integrated hub which doubles the amount of available USB and FireWire 400 ports available to you.

As any Mac mini owner can tell you, with its one FireWire 400 port and two USB ports, it doesn’t take long to run out of peripheral options. And with the high-end Mac mini model offering only 80GB of hard disk space, it is easy to see how the 250GB MiniMax could be the answer to many a mini owner’s prayers.

Setting up the MiniMax is a breeze. Simply stack your Mac mini on top of the MiniMax and connect the two using the included FireWire and USB device cables. Plug in the power cable, flick the power switch on the MiniMax, and the drive will automatically mount on your Mac mini’s desktop. The MiniMax is bootable via FireWire in OS X, so you can use it as a your startup disk if you’d like. And you may want to, because in terms of speed, the MiniMax is the fastest mini drive we’ve tested in awhile, winning two out of three drive tests and trailing by just one second in the third test. For more reviews of these drives, see Buyers’ Guide: FireWire Hard Drives.

Timed Trials

Copy 1GB to Drive 0:45
Duplicate 1GB on Drive 1:12
Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite 1:38

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

How We Tested: We ran all tests with the FireWire drives connected to a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.9 installed and 512MB of RAM. We tested the drive using FireWire 800. (In cases where a drive does not have FireWire 800, we use FireWire 400.) We copied a folder containing 1GB of data from our Mac’s hard drive to the external hard drive to test the drive’s write speed. We then duplicated that file on the external drive to test both read and write speeds. We also used the drive as a scratch disk when running our low-memory Adobe Photoshop CS Suite test. This test is a set of four tasks performed on a 150MB file, with Photoshop’s memory set to 50 percent.—Macworld Lab Testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung


Price per gigabyte $1.00
Connectors FireWire 400 (3), USB 2.0 (3 plus one USB uplink port)
Rotational Speed 7200 RPM
Other capacities 160GB ($200)

Macworld’s buying advice

If you own a Mac mini, you should check out the Iomega MiniMax. It fits neatly under the mini and its speedy 250GB hard drive and integrated USB and FireWire hub make it a great companion to Apple’s littlest Mac.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

Iomega MiniMax, 250GB
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