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Review: ADS Tech Mini Drive Kit
Wednesday November 23, 2005 12:06 AM EST

The ADS Tech Mini Drive Kit is an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable and well-made USB 2.0 hard drive enclosure for their Mac mini. The ADS Mini Drive Kit comes packaged neatly in a small red and white box. In the box you will find the ADS Mini Drive USB 2.0 Enclosure, 5' Type A to B black USB cable, 6" Type A to B black USB cable, power supply, power cable, screw kit, Drive Kit CD, and instruction manual. The software bundle includes Intech TouchBack, Intech SpeedTools, and Dantz Retrospect.

The ADS Mini Drive has a metal body and white plastic top. It stands 2" tall by 6.5" wide by 6.5" deep. On the front of the enclosure you will find a single LED status light. The LED stays unlit when the enclosure is turned on and flashes blue when the hard drive is being accessed. We were happy to see that ADS decided not to include a logo on the front. It really makes the front look a lot cleaner. Our only gripe is that the color of the enclosure is slightly darker than the Mac mini. The bottom of the enclosure is made out of plastic. There are four non-skid pads on each corner of the bottom to prevent it from sliding.

On the back of the enclosure you will find the On/Off switch, AC input jack, USB 2.0 port, SimpleTouch backup button, and micro security slot. The On/Off switch and SimpleTouch backup button feel very solid. We really liked the size and feel of the horizontally mounted On/Off switch. It's easy to access and manipulate when reaching around from the front of the enclosure.

The SimpleTouch backup button is a handy feature for backing up files and folders. It allows for easy one-touch backups when used with the included Intech TouchBack Software. The only problem is, we couldn't get it to work with OS X 10.4.3. It seems to work all right with 10.4.2 and Windows XP. We have made ADS Tech aware of this issue and they have assured us that a fix is imminent.

We installed a 160GB Maxtor drive into our ADS Mini Drive. The enclosure operated flawlessly with our drive. Transferring files and folders was a little slower than with some of the other enclosures designed for the Mac mini we have tested. This is mostly because the ADS Mini Drive only offers USB 2.0 connectivity. USB 2.0 performance still lags behind FireWire 400 even though the specs may suggest otherwise. USB 2.0 is substantial for the average user looking to back up files, photos, and music.

Installing a hard drive into the ADS Mini Drive is easy. First, you will need to remove the four screws on the bottom of the enclosure. Once the screws are removed, you will be able to pull the two halves of the enclosure apart. Turn your hard drive upside down and connect the power and ATA cables to the back of the drive. Make sure your hard drive is set to be the master. Then screw your hard drive into the support brace with the four included screws. Finally, tuck in the ATA and power cables and put the enclosure back together in reverse order.

What about heat and noise? The top of our enclosure was only slightly warm after 12 hours of testing. We were surprised the enclosure stayed relatively cool because it doesn't have an internal fan for cooling. The acoustic properties of the enclosure are also excellent. This might be one of the quietest enclosures we have tested for the Mac mini. It's a shame this enclosure doesn't have FireWire connectivity because it would make an awesome boot drive.

Overall, we can recommend this product to our readers and give it a score of 3 out of 4 stars. The ADS Mini Dive Kit is available now and has a suggested retail price of $59.99.


  Build quality and finish
  Quiet operation
  SimpleTouch backup button
  Horizontal On/Off switch is easy to manipulate
  Includes 5' and 6" USB cables
  Software Bundle


  No FireWire connectivity.
  Lacks additional USB ports.
  SimpleTouch and Intech TouchBack not working with 10.4.3.

More Pictures:  Click to enlarge





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