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 Mac Mini Accessories

Review: Pressure Drop zStand  
Monday October 31, 2005 12:01 AM EST

The Pressure Drop zStand is one of the coolest looking Mac mini accessories you'll ever see. Its "Z" design and integrated USB 2.0 and FireWire hub make this one of the most unique Mac mini accessories on the market today.

The zStand comes packaged neatly in a small box. In the box you will find the zStand, 12 inch 6 pin to 6 pin black FireWire cable, 12 inch Type A to B black USB cable, A/C power cord, power supply, 3 velcro cable ties, and instruction sheet. You can opt for 6 foot USB and FireWire cables at no extra cost.

The zStand was designed to accommodate a Mac mini, providing a place to store the computer safely inside the stand while freeing up valuable desktop space. The stand itself measures 12 inches wide x 8 inches deep x 3.5 inches tall. It's made from solid metal that has been powder-coated in white and silver to match the finish of the Mac mini. The metal that makes up the "Z" of the stand is painted white. The dual support walls in the center are painted silver. These dual support walls and the stand's "Z" design give the zStand plenty of strength. The stand can support displays that weigh up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg).

Our Mac mini fit nicely into the zStand. The gaps between the Mac mini and the inside walls of the stand are perfect. It's almost like the Mac mini becomes a part of the zStand. The look is very contemporary and striking.

We found the top of the stand to be large enough to hold most LCDs. The height of the zStand is also right on the mark. Apple Cinema Display owners will find that the zStand elevates the display to a more comfortable height. On the bottom of the stand there are four rubber feet to prevent it from sliding. All-in all, we came away impressed with the design, sturdiness, fit and finish of the zStand.

Our favorite feature is the USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 combination hub hidden in the back. The self-powered hub includes one upstream Type B USB port, four downstream Type A USB ports, one dedicated upstream FireWire port, and four downstream FireWire ports. Chances are, you will never need to search for an open port again. All the ports are powered by the zStand's single, shared power supply. Each USB port is provided with up to 500mA @ 5V, and each FireWire port receives up to 300mA @ 12V. This is good news, because we prefer self-powered hubs over bus-powered hubs.

The hub supports Hi-Speed USB data transfer speeds of up to 480Mbps and IEEE 1394a data transfer speeds of up to 400Mbps. It uses the new Cypress TetraHub controller chip for USB connectivity and a Texas Instruments controller chip for FireWire 400 connections. The hub also has a yellow LED indicator for uplink status.

Setting up the zStand is really easy. You only need to connect three cables - one USB going from zStand to your computer, one FireWire going from zStand to your computer, and the power cable. Once everything is connected, you're good to go! The zStand doesn't require any extra software to be installed. You can use the included velcro cable ties to organize the cables once you're done.

Overall, we can recommend the Pressure Drop zStand to our readers and give it a score of 4 out of 4 stars. While there are many accessories out there that compliment the Mac Mini, few offer as many features in a single package as the zStand. Pressure Drop has proven once again that it's the leader in Art-Techo inspired design. The zStand has a suggested retail price of $99.99.

Pros:

  Solid metal design
  Build quality and finish
  Includes self-powered USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 hub
  Saves valuable desktop space
  Supports displays weighing up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg)
  Raises display to a more ergonomically correct height
  Protects Mac mini
  Includes USB and FireWire cables

Cons:

  Can be hard to access the Mac mini's power button.

More Pictures:  Click to enlarge

  

  

  

  





More Information:
  Pressure Drop, Inc
  Pressure Drop zStand
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