Taiwanese company Cubitek are relatively new to the industry having started operation in the spring of 2010. Since then they have been working diligently to create high quality and innovative cases that appeal to both gamers and enthusiasts users alike. With established cases under their metaphorical belt already, such as M4 series cases and the Tattoo series. Cubitek are adding another case to their already impressive range aluminium range - The Mini Cube. A Mini ITX case that adopts the minimalistic aesthetics commonly seen on many modern Home-Theatre cases, yet the Mini Cube aims to seperate itself from the crowd by offering a few features that are unseen on cases of this form factor.
Without further delay, let's see what the Mini Cube has to offer.
Item Name: Mini Cube
Item Number: CB-MNI-B004
Color External: Black
Internal: Aluminum Color
Case Dimension (mm): W 200 x H 320 x D 300
Carton Size (mm): W 250 x H 382 x D 370
Weight Net Weight: 2.3KG
Gross Weight: 2.8KG
M/B Type: Mini ITX
5.25" Drive Bay: N/A
3.5" Drive Bay: Hidden x 3 ( Max. )
2.5" Drive Bay: Hidden x 5 ( Max. )
I/O Panel: USB 3.0 x 2 L:400mm
USB 2.0 x 2
Audio x 1
Mic x 1
Expansion Slots: 2
Cooling System: Rear 80 or 90mm Fan ( Optional )
Bottom 120mm Fan ( Optional )
PSU: Standard ATX PSU ( Max. 150mm )
Maximum Compatibility VGA Max. 280mm long
CPU Cooler Max. 150mm height
Up Close - External
In the introduction we mentioned that Cubitek have adopted the 'Less is More' approach to the design of a few of their cases, the Mini Cube is no exception. The front and side panels are brushed black aluminium which adds to its elegance and subtleness of the case and it could be easily mistaken for another electrical item, such as a sub woofer. The company logo located at the bottom of the front panel is the only giveaway that this is a PC case.
Situated on the front panel itself are the usual power and reset buttons in addition to power & hard drive activity lights.
Located at the top of the case are; 2x USB 2.0 ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports and the input jacks for stereo output and mic input.
Towards the side of the case, we get to see how nice the brushed aluminium looks. Not only does this help towards the weight of the case, as it weighs next to nothing. The stylish effect is always stunning to look at.
The rear of the case has a slightly different styling to the rest of the case as Cubitek have chosen to keep the rear panel plain Aluminium. This doesn't take anything away from the aesthetics of the case as most of the time the rear panel is never in view. Cooling is provided by a stamped out area where an 80mm or 90mm fan can be fitted and additional venting is added by 2 vented blanking plates which can be removed (via thumb screw) to fit a dual width graphics card or a single width card with an additional PCI component (should your motherboard support it).
Up Close - Internal
When the side panels are removed by unscrewing the 4 small screws on each panel, the internal design of the Mini Cube may come as a bit of a shock. The all Aluminium design is always fantastic to look at, however the cut-outs are what draw attention more than anything else, the Cube Mini is a small case the packs a punch when it comes to features, its the first of its kind to support cable management (behind the motherboard) in a Mini-ITX case - a much needed feature that is impossible to ignore. The other small cut outs are a design feature to accommodate mounting internal drives, we'll explain how this works a little later.
The front panel connectors are bundled up neatly and tied together, conveniently all of the cables with the exception of the internal USB 3.0 cable - all manage to fit through the 'key-hole' cut outs which makes hiding them out of the way a doddle.
At the bottom of the case is a small vented area which can be used to mount a 2.5" drive. The power supply (if mounted fan down) is dust filtered. Located between the 2 area's is a small cut out of the motherboard tray - this is where PSU cables can be routed out, to be fed back into the case at the appropriate area.
Cable management is natively supported by the case and it is evident Cubitek haven't just throw it together. They have provided approximately 3cm of space behind the motherboard tray, which is more than adequate for routing cables. This space is also used by the drive mounting system as 3.5" and 2.5" drives can be mounted to the reverse side of the motherboard back tray.
Installing a system inside the Mini Cube is a little different to what we expected. As mentioned earlier in the review, the case houses no drive bays and any drives are mounted to the rear of the motherboard tray. To do this, Cubitek have provided a plethora of screws and fittings to allow you to do this with ease.
Following the provided installation guide, it advises installing the motherboard first followed by the power supply and eventually any storage drives.
Drives are mounted to the motherboard tray by screwing a rubber grommet to the underside of the drive, then feeding it through the allocated holes. A maximum of 3x 3.5" drives or 5x 2.5" drives can be fitted to this area.
The Cubitek Mini Cube is one of those rare cases that dare to be different and succeed. One of the first things we picked up on was the build quality, which is fantastic. Whilst it may be a little off the standards of Lian Li, it isnt too far away and with a few small changes - Lian Li would be in for a fight.
The aluminium construction looks fantastic, the brushed black exterior is a pleasure to gaze upon. Granted it is a little bit of a fingerprint magnet, but that isn't something we will hold against Cubitek as it's usually the case with aluminium products. On the flip side of that, it's incredibly lightweight which means for those who are looking to cram it to the max with powerful components, can relocate it will ease - which means it could be a favourite for LAN parties.
Inside the case is interesting to say the least, whilst it does serve its purpose and Cubitek have been very clever with its design, we thought the exclusion of any case fan to speak of was a little bold. With most mainstream cases coming with at least one 120mm fan - even at the lowest price bracket, this was an odd move for them not to include a single 90mm fan. However, Cubitek have redeemed themselves somewhat by being the first in the market to support 'real' cable management. For most users, the low power systems that are usually put together in these type of cases won't be too concerned with temperatures as generally the components won't get too warm.
This may be a reason to why Cubitek decided not to include a stock case fan - with decent cable management, the natural flow of air should be enough to keep things reasonably cool and warm air should naturally rise towards the top of the case.
With USB 3.0 support, clever and innovative design, cable management and a very stylish exterior, it was easy to award the Cubitek Mini Cube a well deserved Gold award. The pricing score has been left at 0 because at the time of writing no retailers have an ETA for stock arrival or any idea about pricing.
Thanks to Cubitek for sending us the sample in for review so early, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.