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Review: LaCie mini for Mac mini
Tuesday September 13, 2005 12:10 AM EST

The LaCie mini is an ideal companion hard drive for the Apple Mac mini. It's good looking, solid as a rock and pretty quiet. What separates this hard drive enclosure from some of the others we have tested is its unique four-corner crown design for cooling. The LaCie mini comes packaged in a box that is approximately the same size as the Mac mini's box. In the box you'll find the LaCie mini, 9" white FireWire Cable, 18" white FireWire Cable, AC Adapter with Cord, LaCie Utilities CD-ROM with Quick Start Guide and User's Manual.

The LaCie mini has an aluminum body and white plastic top. It stands 1.77" tall X 6.5" wide X 6.5" deep and perfectly matches the Mac mini's form factor. The color match of the enclosure is dead on with the Mac mini. There is an embossed LaCie logo on the front of the enclosure with a single LED status light. The bottom is made out of metal and has four no-skid pads on each corner to prevent the unit from sliding around. There are four crowns on top of the enclosure that lift the Mac mini. This allows for better air circulation and heat dissipation. They also hold the Mac mini in place and keep the two units aligned.

On the back of the LaCie mini you'll find two FireWire ports, AC input, security slot and power button. One of our gripes with the LaCie mini is the size and location of the power button. It can be hard to find with all the cables packed into such a tight area. Moving the power button over 2-3 inches to the left would have made it much easier to access. The LaCie mini provides two FireWire ports. One port is for connecting to the Mac mini and the second is for daisy-chaining additional FireWire devices.

Noise levels are totally acceptable with the LaCie mini. This is one of the quietest enclosures we have tested for the Mac mini. The lack of having an internal fan with goes a long way towards keeping the LaCie mini quiet. Our 80GB LaCie mini has a Western Digital WDC800BB drive inside. The drive makes a little chatter when reading and writing, but is still relatively quiet compared to other drives we have tested. This all makes the LaCie mini a perfect candidate for being used as a boot drive if you're concerned about noise.

One of our concerns with the LaCie mini is its finish. Our two models have scuffs and scratches down the sides of the enclosure. We confirmed this with another one of our testers. His enclosure has the same scuffs and scratches as ours. The scuffs and scratches aren't really noticeable from a distance, but are more obvious upon closer inspection. The enclosure itself comes packaged in a plastic bag and is laid loosely in an egg crate tray inside the box. Therefore, it's possible the packaging may be to blame for the scuffs and scratches.

The LaCie mini also includes Silverlining Pro and SilverKeeper software. SilverKeeper is an application from LaCie that automates backups to external storage devices like hard drives, and other removable storage devices that have IDE, ATA/ATAPI, SCSI, USB, or FireWire interfaces.

Overall, we can recommend the LaCie mini and give it a score of 3 out of 4 stars. We are a little troubled with its finish, but it's not enough to take away from the LaCie mini's solid design and performance. The LaCie mini is shipping now with a suggested retail price of $119 for the 80GB, $149 for the 160GB and $199 for the 250GB models.


  Quiet operation
  Solid aluminum case
  Excellent performance
  Perfect color match with Mac mini
  Design accommodates airflow between Mac mini and enclosure


  Small power button is difficult to operate
  Exterior scuffs and scratches on case
  Lack of additional USB and FireWire ports

More Pictures:  Click to enlarge






LaCie mini Tech Specs:
  80-250GB with 7200rpm, 2MB or 8MB cache
  2 x FireWire ports (6-pin)
  400Mbits/s transfer rate
  <11ms seek time
  1 Year Limited Warranty

LaCie mini Dimensions:
  6.5 x 6.5 x 1.77 in / 165 x 165 x 45 mm

LaCie mini Weight:
  < 3 lbs. / 1350 g

More Information:
  LaCie mini Datasheet [269KB]
  LaCie mini Manual [453KB]
  Buy: 80GB LaCie mini Hard Drive
  Buy: 250GB LaCie mini Hard Drive
  Related: LaCie Unveils Drive for Mac Mini
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