Mini Companion Becomes First Certified Thunderbolt 4 Storage Solution
Review by Erik Vlietinck
The miniStack from OWC has long been a Mac Mini companion device. The newest version is the miniStack STX, featuring storage and Thunderbolt 4 expansion.
The miniStack STX has the same form factor as the earlier miniStack models and as a Mac Mini, but it comes in black and has a universal SATA HDD/SSD and an NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD slot. Both can be used, even in RAID, so you can expand your Mac Mini’s storage capacity to a level that previously was useful only if you owned an Intel Mac Pro. The miniStack STX also has three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C type ports to hook up USB drives, displays, A/V mixers, cameras, and tablets, as well as supports charging 60W notebooks via Thunderbolt or USB-C. It comes with a power brick and, while the top is glossy black plastic, the sides are in black aluminum. The back is home to the power port, a Kensington lock slot, and four Thunderbolt 4 ports, one of which is designated as the one to connect to your Mac, but no USB-A ports.
When I hooked up the STX to my iMac, it was clear it isn’t as whisper-quiet as OWC’s recent storage units. The noise from the fan is definitely audible in a quiet office, although it isn’t high-pitched, and will be silent enough for most people. My 2-TB SSD test unit’s performance was good, but by no means comparable with OWC’s fastest. Still, a write speed of about 680MB/sec and read speed of more than 750MB/sec is fast enough for anything from photo editing to small 4K video projects.
The miniStack STX is also Apple Time Machine and Windows File History ready, and can be used with Thunderbolt or USB-equipped Macs, PCs, iPads, Chromebook, and Android tablets. ■