Apple's decision to strip its most recent Mac mini of an optical drive didn't go without controversy, and now Newer Technology (whose products are distributed by OWC) is hoping to capitalize on users still clamoring for some disc-based media in their lives. The company has announced the miniStack Max, integrating an optical drive, expanded storage, and a plethora of additional ports into a single, individually-powered hub intended to be a companion to the miniature desktop. With design traits modeled after Apple's hardware, the device fits well beneath the Mac mini, though it more than doubles the overall height — a potential concern for those using the pair in a home theater setup.

Newer Technology will be offering the miniStack Max both as an empty kit and in preconfigured models with up to 4TB of disk storage — both 2.5 and 3.5-inch varieties are compatible — and a rewritable CD / DVD drive. Blu-ray will also be a build-to-order option, though you'll need to be running Windows to take advantage of said functionality as Apple continues to turn a blind eye to the platform. Around back you'll find ports aplenty: three USB 3.0 (which unfortunately fall back to 2.0 speeds on the Mac mini), eSATA, two FireWire 800, and a DC-in supplying power for the whole affair.

OWC says the miniStack Max will be available by the end of March, but the company has yet to finalize pricing.