A few months ago, I reviewed the new Satechi docking stand custom designed for Apple’s M1 powered Mac mini. Apple’s gorgeous little computer offers a lot of power for the money, though it doesn’t come with a lot of connectivity. It only has two Thunderbolt ports and two USB-A ports and that’s all you get. If you want more ports, you need to get a hub.
Like most Apple Macs, upgrading RAM and SSD is not possible. The Mac mini’s RAM is built into the M1 processor, while the SSD is soldered to the Mac mini’s motherboard. If you want additional storage beyond the meager base of 256 GB, you have to specify this when ordering or rely on an external drive to store the data.
Apple’s high prices on storage have prompted some companies to make Mac mini hubs that not only offer more ports and connectivity, but can also be fitted with an external SATA drive so the user can store documents. , photos, music and everything in the external storage. media and leaving the Mac mini’s internal SSD only for macOS system folders and applications.
Like the Satechi hub I tested in July, this new Mac mini hub from Elecife offers two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports – one of the USB 3.0 ports is USB-A type while the other is USB-C. The docking station also has two slots for SD and microSD memory cards. The docking stand connects to a Mac mini using a USB-C cable that plugs into one of the mini’s Thunderbolt / USB 3 ports.
Once connected, the Elecife docking stand sits underneath the Mac mini and provides access to the ports on the front of the device, meaning there’s no need to rummage around the back Mac mini to try to find a port. Unlike the Satechi hub, the Elecife model doesn’t include an audio jack, so if it’s something you think you want, it might not be the one for you.
Inside the Elecife hub is a cradle that can hold a standard 2.5 inch SATA drive that can come in the form of an SSD or traditional mechanical hard drive. The Satechi hub also has storage space, but in the form of an M.2 SATA disk. The M.2 form factor looks the same as an NVMe drive, but the Satechi only works with SATA and not blazing fast PCIe drives.
M.2 SATA drives are available in sizes up to 1TB, but 2.5-inch SATA drives can be purchased in capacities up to 4TB. However, you should keep in mind that a traditional spinning hard drive is much slower than an SSD and hard drives also make some noise. I would choose an SSD every time, but if all you need is to store data like music, photos, or documents, a 2.5 inch hard drive could be a good bet, especially if you have it. have an unused spare.
Installing a 2.5 inch drive in the Elecife docking bracket is so easy. The reader simply clips into a cradle that sits under a round plastic cover. The hub matches the silver finish of the Mac mini M1 and sits underneath, increasing the overall height of the Mac mini by less than an inch. The top of the hub has a series of radial air inlets that allow air to flow freely to the Mac mini to cool if the internal fan turns on.
It should be noted that there is a similar docking stand on the market for a Mac Mini M1. It is manufactured by Qwiizlab and can support SATA and M.2 NVMe drives. If you are interested, you can find more details here. I cannot guarantee its quality but will try to get one for review,
Verdict: Like the Satechi bracket I reviewed in July, the new Elecife docking bracket is a great solution for increasing the storage capacity of a Mac mini M1 as well as moving ports forward. If you want to use an M.2 drive and have a headphone jack in your cradle, the Satechi is probably your best bet. However, if you don’t want a headphone jack and want to use a standard 2.5-inch SATA drive that you may already have, the Elecife is your best bet. Both mounts do the job well and both offer great value for money. And as long as Apple charges such high prices for its SSD, these external solutions will find grateful customers.
Price and availability: The Elecife USB-C docking stand is available now and costs $ 69.99.
More information: www.amazon.com
- Hardware interface: USB Type C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0
- Number of ports: 7
- Compatible devices: Apple Mac mini
- Dimensions: 8.27 x 8.27 x 1.18 inches