Review: DeskMount and MacSkate

The MacSkate and the DeskMount show similar benefits and each product (September 7th, 2003)

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Product Manufacturer: Marathon Computer

Price: $99 each

The Good

  • Easy to install, Solid aluminum construction, Well written documentation that\'s also fun to read

The Bad

  • No current G5 mounts (but G5 mounts are being developed)

I recently reviewed two products from Marathon Computer; both with similar benefits and each product got the job done in a distinct way.

MacSkate

The first product, called the MacSkate, offers "Wheels for your Mac" and it does just that -- adds a platform to the bottom of your Power Mac towers. It offers easy mobility, if you move your machine around a lot, and the ability to have it off the floor to avoid dust, spills, or even the occasional pipe bursting in your office (See below).

MacSkate is not just a platform that your Mac rests on, but a designClick to enlarge that is custom fit to the case. You know those four handles on each corner of your tower? The procedure is to remove the bottom two handles with the included "Marathon Nifty Tool" and actually screw the case onto the Macintosh with the supplied screws. Sound scary? It's not. MacSkate fits perfectly into the bottom of the case where the two handles used to be. It looks so natural that at a casual glance, you might think it came that way from Apple.

MacSkate is made from heavy-gauge aircraft-quality aluminum so it's quite light and quite strong. Its base is also just slightly wider than the base of the Macintosh which prevents your Mac from tipping over. They even state in their documentation that it will not tip over, "even on the roughest chud." While I am not exactly sure what a rough chud looks like, take my word for it, it's quite stable.

DeskMount

Marathon's other product, DeskMount works very similar to the MacSkate above as well as being for PowerMacs including G4 Towers and G3 Blue and White Macs. The DeskMount doesn't offer the mobility of the MacSkate (nor does it claim to) but its real benefit is that it gets your Macintosh off the floor and off the desk.

The DeskMount comes in two parts: the "backbone" and the mounting plate. As with the MacSkake, it's made of that aircraft-quality aluminum. The DeskMount's backbone installs almost identically --Click to enlarge except it is screwed into the top of your Macintosh instead of the bottom! The mounting plate is then screwed to the desk from underneath. Thankfully, a safety lanyard is included so when the door opens up, it doesn't rip off and take half the motherboard with it. Installing the DeskMount is definitely more involved. You need to get some pretty solid screws and will probably have pre-drill the holes in your desk, if you want to do it in the most secure way. Check with your local hardware store for advice on which screws to use, depending on your desk material. Once the mounting plate is in place, the backbone equipped Macintosh just slides right in. None of this is particularly difficult and I installed mine in a few minutes. If you've had your G4/G3 tower hanging out under your desk (or on top of it) for a while, you will quickly appreciate the additional room provided.

It's really quite a good idea to get your Mac up off the floor, whether a couple of inches with MacSkate or six or more inches with DeskMount. Take my real life example. Just last week, a few days after I installed Marathon's products, a water pipe in the storeroom next to my office broke in the middle of the night and leaked around 2am and continued until about 7am when I walked into a soaking wet floor, the same floor that held my G4 just a few days ago. A new shopvac and 20+ gallons of water later, I managed to get my office back in shape. Don't let disaster strike your precious hardware. MacSkate and DeskMount both offer protection and added functionality to boot.

by Joshua D. Wachs


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