Nifty Minidrive Storage Hack

February 28, 2015

Adding storage to a Macbook Pro can be an expensive proposition given the compact hardware architecture the new MBPs have. For my MBP 15-inch retina laptop, which comes with a 512 GB SSD, I wanted to add a bit extra where to put all our Dropbox, GDrive, Box, etc. network share replica. Nifty Minidrive is one of the most attractive options.

Nifty is a young UK startup based out of Manchester. Coming out of kickstarter fund raising, with the usual manufacture out of China (possibly Shenzhen if I had to guess), they have managed to create a very elegant, practical and beautiful way to expand the storage for your laptop using the SD card slot.

Their Minidrive is a miniSD card reader with an SD form factor, so that you can insert it into your SD card slot. I liked two things about it: first, I can bring my own miniSD card which allows either to get SDHC (a lot of storage) or SDXC (fast storage); second, once inserted it does not stick out al all in the card slot.

I ordered the Nifty Minidrive from Amazon alongside a Samsung Pro 64 GB miniSD card (my researched showed this was the fastest and most reliable one at least for my needs). The package arrived next day with Prime:


The Nifty guys have learnt a couple of lessons from Appleā€™s beautiful package, to make it a truly pleasant experience to open it and look at the electronics:


I ordered the Minidrive for the MBP 15 Retina (each Macbook needs a different Minidrive). The package included a Kingston 4GB miniSDHC card, the Minidrive itself and a tool to help extracting the Minidrive from the SD card slot (which conveniently also serves the purpose of popping out the SIM card slot for the iPhone):


Pushing in the Samsung Pro card was straight forward, then insert it into the SD card slot, and we are done with the Minidrive being completely flush and not protruding at all:


The SD card slot is mounted as a USB storage drive. The Samsung card came formatted as extended FAT but using DiskUtility I reformatted it as MacOS Extended (Journaled, Not-Case Sensitive). It now shows up permanently on my desktop.

A speed test of the Minidrive using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app shows the promised sequential read and write speeds for the Samsung miniSDXC UHS-I card, rated at 80 MB/s for writes, and 90 MB/s for reads:


Overall I am very impressed with the little Nifty Minidrive. Although there are other storage expansion options out there, I did not find any other that was as easy and as elegant to use as the Minidrive. If you need a bit more storage on your laptop, or perhaps a separate drive for whatever purposes, I highly recommend the Nifty Minidrive.

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