Iomega 500GB MiniMax review

Half a terabyte in a surprisingly compact package

The MiniMax has been around in this shape for over a year

TechRadar Verdict

The perfect companion for your Mac mini, now available with substantially improved capacity


  • +

    Large capacity Doubles as a USB/FireWire hub Perfect Mac mini shape Packaged with backup software Very fast


  • -

    Slightly pricey

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

We Mac mini owners are well served when it comes to peripherals designed to perfectly stack under our beloved little Macs. In the past couple of months, we've seen the new Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station, and now this: the latest update to the MiniMax range of external drives from Iomega.

This is a powered 500GB external drive. Given that the mini only comes with a 60GB or 80GB hard drive of its own, the MiniMax is a very welcome addition indeed, and one that doesn't take up any more desk space.

The MiniMax has been around in this shape for over a year, but has only now been expanded to 500GB to reflect the growing demand for extra storage - something we can certainly never get enough of.

250GB used to be a whopping amount of space for most of us, but the explosion in digital camera use and the general ease of making multimedia projects on a Mac has consistently ratcheted up the demand on capacity.

Thankfully, 500GB is approximately 750 hours of video if compressed at 11MB/min, or approximately half a million photos in JPEG form. You'd need several new babies in the family and a fair few holidays to fill up that quota.

Aside from the obviously gorgeous shape and small footprint, there are a few other plusses. You get three FireWire 400 ports and three USB 2.0 ports, which means that you can double up the drive as a hub for peripherals.

It's also speedy, with a 7200rpm disk whirring inside it, compared to the standard 5400rpm drive that comes in the mini. In our test we duplicated a 1GB file on the drive 21 seconds faster than we could on a Core Duo Mac mini.

Also in the package is Dantz Retrospect, a data backup and recovery software package from EMC that's quite commonly bundled on external drives from a variety of manufacturers. We've reviewed the software as a standalone product in the past; it's basic but effective at automating data backup, and though not exclusive to this drive, it's a welcome bonus.

External storage has dropped in price considerably and continues to do so. The price of the MiniMax is at the top of the scale of what you'd expect to pay for 500GB.

It's an easy enough job to build your own drive at hardly any cost, but it would be hard to provide this generous amount of ports or, of course, the all-important form factor. You're paying a slight premium for the design, but we think it's easily worth it. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.