Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 2, 2012.

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An easy to use device that allows anyone to quickly and simply increase the available memory in their MacBook computer.

Note on rewards:  As we now offer three types of MiniDrive we have simplified the rewards system. All you need to do is choose how many MiniDrives you want, and we will collect your choice of model (i.e. the Nifty MiniDrive Pro, the Nifty MiniDrive [Air], or the Nifty MiniDrive Retina), as well as your choice of color and shipping address in our email survey at the end of the campaign.

UPDATE - MiniDrive for the Retina MacBook Pro now available: See Update #2 for details.

IMPORTANT: The MiniDrive does not come with a MicroSD card - that must be bought separately and can be easily acquired at almost any online or high street consumer electronics retailer :-)

NOTE: A couple of people have pointed out to us that we have mixed our terms a little. To clarify; when we refer to the MiniDrive increasing the "memory" of your computer, we mean the storage space, not RAM. Sorry for any confusion that this might have caused!

THE PROTOTYPE

The main difference between the prototype and the production model is that we change the casing material of the body from mostly aluminium to an engineering plastic.

The front of the MiniDrive (the bit can be seen when the drive is inserted into the computer and is used for removal) will still be machined from high grade aluminium to ensure the fit and finish matches the MacBook.

Note 1: The MiniDrive is really easy to remove from your computer - you just stick a paper-clip through the specially designed eyelet at the front of the device to pull it out!

The first time you use a paper-clip you can use the front of the drive to bend the paper-clip into a little hook - then you have your very own MiniDrive removal tool! Macgyver would be proud.

Or, if you are not the paper-clip kind; if you can help us get over $500,000 pledges before the end of the Kickstarter campaign, we will be sending one of these out free with every MiniDrive we ship:

The Nifty Tool - Specially designed for removing your MiniDrive
The Nifty Tool - Specially designed for removing your MiniDrive

See our updates for more details on the Nifty Tool!

Note 2: The devices shown on all videos are the prototypes we made to test the concept - the appearance of the production drives will be as close to the following pictures as possible:

Nifty MiniDrive - for the Macbook Air
Nifty MiniDrive - for the Macbook Air
Nifty MiniDrive Pro - for the Macbook Pro
Nifty MiniDrive Pro - for the Macbook Pro

Note 3: Pink and blue are special editions for our Kickstarter supporters, and will not be initially offered after the Kickstarter campaign.

WHAT IS THE NIFTY MINIDRIVE?

The Nifty MiniDrive is an easy to use device that allows anyone to quickly and simply increase the available memory in their MacBook computer, as well as providing a set and forget back-up solution. 

The Nifty MiniDrive + MicroSD Card
The Nifty MiniDrive + MicroSD Card

THE STORY

It all started with the MacBook Air. We wanted to create an easy way to add memory to the MacBook Air, without having to rip it open with a torx screwdriver.

The easiest way to do that of course is to use an external hard disk drive, but as that is not really integrated with the computer we thought we could do better.

The MiniDrive is designed to be an integrated solution to that problem by using the SD card slot in the 13" MacBook Air.

While a normal SD card, which sticks out by about 1cm from the body of the computer when fully inserted, the MiniDrive is designed to sit completely flush with the body of the MacBook, becoming a semi permanent part of your computer.

We made our first protoype by 3D printing our design out of plastic before building a smalll batch of working prototypes that we had indiviually precision machined out of aircraft grade aluminium

Prototyping the MiniDrive
Prototyping the MiniDrive

We also developed a simple way of removing the MiniDrive from the computer by hooking a paperclip through our specially designed eyelet at the front of the device.

THE PRODUCTS

We are proud to announce the launch of not one but two products; the MiniDrive and the MiniDrive Pro.

The MiniDrive and the MiniDrive Pro have been designed to fit securely into the SD slot of the MacBook computers.

The MiniDrive in the Macbook Air
The MiniDrive in the Macbook Air
The MiniDrive Pro in the Macbook Pro
The MiniDrive Pro in the Macbook Pro

By utilising standard micro SD cards the MiniDrive can add plug in and forget memory to your computer.

The MiniDrive & MicroSD Card
The MiniDrive & MicroSD Card

This gives you the extra space for the things that are most important to you - holiday snaps, music, movies and any documents you may need with you, wherever you go.

THE MINIDRIVE AS A BACK-UP SOLUTION

One of the cool things about Micro SD cards is that they are practically indestructible - in fact a major manufactuer of them claims their cards can survive under the sea for over 24 hours, withstand 1.6 tons of force, and are impervious to magnets and X-rays.

Therefore, when combined with the Nifty MiniDrive, this makes them perfectly suited as a primary back-up disk.

As the Minidrives are designed to stay in your computer without getting in the way, a daily back-up  of your critical files may be set up and then happen automatically without having to remember to plug anything in.

Then if you happen to spill coffee on your computer or drop it down the stairs, or some other disaster strikes you will not be forced to re-do days, weeks or even months worth of work, or even worse lose memories in the form of photos, or videos that may be irreplaceable.

TECH SPECS - Micro SD cards

All MacBook Air and Pro computers from the mid 2010 refresh onwards have a Secure Digital Extended Copacity, or SD XC card reader in their SD card slot.

This format can support a Micro SD card of up to 2TB - roughly 2000GB in size. The largest capacity Micro SD card available to put in a MiniDrive today is 64GB which would already increase by 50% the capacity of an entry level 13" MacBook air.

Of course we are excited to see what the memory manufacturers will be doing in this highly active market in the near future.

TECH SPECS - Nifty Minidrive

For us it is critical that the finish and quality of the drives match the computer for which they have been designed for.

This is particularly true for the aluminium front of the MiniDrive, as this must become as much like the computer it sits within in order to truly become part of it.

To achieve this we will be putting the aluminium of the MiniDrives through the same kind of rigorous anodising process that the Macbook Air and MacBook Pro go through themselves.

But of course, it is not just how good it looks that counts, but also how well it works, and to ensure reliability and longevity we have selected components that have been tested to be reliable for over 10,000 insertions and removals of a Micro SD card as well as coating our main connectors with immersion gold to enure the connection to your MacBook does not degrade over time.

THE MANUFACTURING PLAN

The money we raise on Kickstarter will help us pay for the tooling needed to commercially produce the MiniDrive, as well as the cost of materials themselves.

Almost all of our manufacture and assembly is done in the UK, using high quality local expertise in machining and manufacture. The exception to this is the circuit-boards which are printed and assembled in China by a UK based company, as the UK, sadly, does not seem to have facilities to print 0.4mm circuit board.

Manufacturing schedule:

- End of Kickstarter campaign

- Up to 20 days for funds to clear (yes 20!!)

- Week 1: Order placed for the MiniDrive injection mould to be made

- Week 1: Order placed for machined fronts for MiniDrive & MiniDrive Pro

- Week 1: Order placed for PCB manufacture & assembly

- Week 3-4: Machined fronts sent for finishing and anodising

- Week 5-6: Finished machined fronts received and checked. 

- Week 5-6: Finished and assembled PCBs received and tested.

- Week 4-6: Tooling for injection mould finished + first 50 sent to check for mould finalisation.

- Week 6-8: Final injection moulded components delivered

- Week 7-8: MiniDrives assembly and testing.

- Week 9: MiniDrives dispatched.

- Week 10: MiniDrives arrive

Based on above - expect shipping at the end of October/start of November.

WHERE WE ARE

So that's the MiniDrive, we have finished the design and made the prototypes, and we're just about to start production. But we need your help to get the MiniDrive into your computer.

We hope you'll join us, thank you!

Follow The Nifty MiniDrive on Twitter! @NiftyMiniDrive
For high resolution images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ncgtu5tyv2dmc44/h_VXQS3piU

FAQ

  • No, unfortunately the SD card slot on the Retina MacBook Pro is 1mm deeper than the rest of the MacBook range. Please tell us that you want the MiniDrive Retina if you plan to use the MiniDrive in your MacBook Retina computer. You can do this when we send round the backer email survey at the end of the campaign.

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  • Yes it is, please choose the MiniDrive Pro for best fit with the iMac.

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  • Following the end of the project (Aug 2nd), backers will be contacted to confirm colour choices.

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  • Following the end of the project (Aug 2nd), backers will be contacted to confirm which combination they would prefer.

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  • We strongly recommend getting the correct MiniDrive for your version of MacBook.

    However, the MiniDrive Air can go in MacBook Air, Pro and iMac

    The MiniDrive Pro can only go into the MacBook Pro and iMac.

    The MiniDrive Retina can go into the MacBook Pro Retina, MacBook Pro and iMac.

    Please note

    - if you use the MiniDrive Air in the MacBook Pro or iMac, there will be a small gap either side of the SD card slot. The MiniDrive Pro is designed to fit completely flush.

    - if you use the MiniDrive Retina in the MacBook Pro or iMac, the drive will stick out from the body of your computer by 1mm

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  • Short answer: Yes, flash memory wears out. No, it won't be a problem!

    Long answer: A typical microSD card has a write cycle durability of 10,000 writes per bit. As modern microSD cards are designed to write evenly across the entire bank of memory, theoretically, any bit that has just been written to should not be written to again until all other bits have been written.

    In practice, you will have some bits sitting idle as you often will keep certain files for an extended period on the drive (i.e. only reading those bits), while others are changed regularly. However, on the provision that the drive is never completely full, and you do a full re-write every time you use it, you will generally have a fair degree of latent memory that any write cycles may be spread over.

    As a result you will have far more than 10,000 writes of your drive before you see any failure. In the most extreme example; you should be able to do a reformat of the entire drive, 10 times a day, for 3 years before there is a memory failure (if you were really going for broke to get one!). Under normal use, you should not experience memory failure.

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  • You will need to do a little investigating to find this out.

    The dimentions of the MiniDrive are : 21.5mm (depth) x 24mm (width) x 2.3mm (height)

    The depth measurement is critical - if your SD card slot is deeper than 21.5mm, it will not be able to read the MiniDrive. Less than 22mm and you should be fine (but it may stick out a bit).

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  • The MiniDrive has no restrictions on the format or speed of MicroSD card used within it.

    The limiting factor for you will always be the speed/compatibility of the SD card reader in your Macbook Air/Pro.

    According to Apple [http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3553] the maximum speed of the SD card reader in the current readers is 480mbits/s - this is approximately 60mb/s.

    So, any card up to a read/write of 60mb/s is perfect.

    Additionally (for those still reading) - write speeds are generally a lot slower than the read speeds on a MicroSD card. This means that even if your card can be read at faster than 60mb/s, if the read speed is at or below 60mb/s you will still see a decent performance lift over slower cards.

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  • The short answer is, maybe. The MiniDrive will work with Windows or Mac, but it all depends on how deep you computer's SD card slot it.

    The easiest way to measure the depth of the SD card slot in your computer is to put a normal SD card into it, draw a line on the SD card where it meets the body of the computer, pull the SD card out and then measure how deep the SD card sits.

    If the SD card sits 22.5mm or less in the body of your computer, you can use a MiniDrive!

    Here are the dimensions of the MiniDrives so you can work out which one you need.

    All dimensions below are length x width x height
    The MiniDrive Air: 21.5mm x 24mm x 2.3mm
    The MiniDrive Pro: 21.5mm x 26mm x 2.3mm
    The MiniDrive Retina: 22.5mm x 26mm x 2.3mm
    The most important dimension is the depth. If you computer's SD card slot is too deep then the MiniDrive won't work.

    Last updated:
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