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Apple’s Mac mini has just celebrated its first birthday and received a new Intel makeover. If you own one, especially the PowerPC version, you may have outgrown its modest hard drive capacity and connection ports. If so, you may be a perfect candidate for the Wiebetech Maxelerate 160GB FireWire drive. This external hard drive will, at the very least, double your available disk space while adding another USB and FireWire 400 port.
Setting up the Maxelerate is easy. It’s designed to sit beneath the Mac mini, and it comes with all of the cables necessary to connect the USB and FireWire 400 ports on the mini to the built-in hub on the drive. Most mini-inspired drives are designed to look identical to the mini with a combination of white plastic and aluminum sides, but the Maxelerate uses an all-aluminum case, which is slightly smaller on top than on the bottom. And though it’s not a big enough difference to make the mini unstable, it doesn’t stack as seamlessly as the other four mini drives we’ve reviewed (Please see FireWire Buyer’s Guide and our review of the Iomega MiniMax, 250GB [ ]).
In our performance testing, the Maxelerate was a bit sluggish when compared to other mini drives, but still faster than the mini’s internal drive. Something to note: The speed of the Maxelerate, and any drive we test, will vary depending on the drive mechanism. In this case, Wiebetech had originally sent us a 120GB model that was no longer available for purchase by the time we were ready to review it. We did test it, however, and found that the discontinued drive was 14 percent faster than this 160GB model, and nearly 30 percent faster in our file duplication test.
Macworld’s buying advice
Though the Maxelerate 160GB FireWire hard drive is not the fastest of the Mac mini-inspired drive-hub combos we’ve tested, and it doesn’t blend in as seamlessly with the mini, it will greatly expand your peripheral connection options as well as your usable storage space.
|Copy 1GB to Drive||0:53|
|Duplicate 1GB on Drive||1:55|
|Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite||1:53|
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
|Price per gigabyte||$1.39|
|Connectors||FireWire 400 (3), USB 2.0 (2 plus one USB uplink port)|
|Rotational Speed||7200 RPM|
|Other capacities||250GB ($233), 400GB ($443), 500GB ($590)|
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]Wiebetech Maxelerate 160GB