Cubitek Mini Cube Mini ITX Case Review

The Introduction:

Meet the Cubitek Mini Cube (Mini ITX) with brushed, black anodized finish!

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With Mini ITX becoming the new “up and coming” form factor, many manufacturers are gearing up to fill that market. Cubutek is one such manufacturer. Following styling cues similar to heavy hitter Lian-Li, but, with a friendlier price. They’re new to the enthusiast scene, but, using innovative design to win us over (it’s the first Mini ITX with hidden wire management space). Cubitek’s first attempt at a full featured, enthusiast case will please many enthusiasts (but, not all). Let’s take a look at the new Mini Cube, to see what it has in store for us.

 

Find more information about Cubitek HERE:

Find more information on the Mini Cube HERE:

 

The Specifications: (from the Cubitek Website)

  • Dimensions: 200mm(W) x 320mm(H) x 300mm(D)
  • Approximately: 7-7/8″(W) x 12-9/16″(H) x 11-13/16″(D)
  • Item Name: Mini Cube
  • Item Number: CB-MNI-B004 (Black)
  • Item Number: CB-MNI-S004 (Silver)
  • External Color: Black; Silver
  • Internal Color: Original Aluminum Color
  • Size: Case Dimension (mm) W 200 H 320 D 300
  • Size: Carton Size (mm) W 250 H 382 D 370
  • Weight: Net Weight (KG) 2.3 (approximately 5 Pounds)
  • Case Material: Aluminum
  • Motherboard Type: Mini ITX
  • Drive Bay: 5.25″ Drive Bay N/A
  • Drive Bay: 3.5″ Drive Bay Hidden x 3 ( Max. )
  • Drive Bay: 2.5″ Drive Bay Hidden x 5 ( Max. )
  • I/O Panel: USB 3.0*2
  • I/O Panel: USB 2.0*2
  • I/O Panel: Audio*1
  • I/O Panel: Mic*1
  • Expansion Slots: 2
  • Cooling System: Rear 80 or 90mm Fan ( Optional )
  • Cooling System: Bottom 120mm Fan ( Optional )
  • PSU: Standard ATX PSU ( Max. 150mm )
  • Maximum Compatibility: VGA Max. 280mm long
  • Maximum Compatibility: CPU Cooler Max. 150mm height

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The Exterior:

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The Cubitek Mini Cube is available in brushed aluminum.

(In either a Black or Silver anodized exterior finish)

 

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The front and top panel are made from a single piece of aluminum,

rolled from the top, down the front and rolled under the bottom.

This gives a clean look with a smooth wraparound transition.

 

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The front panel plugs (2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Audio, and Microphone)

are on the top just behind the smooth rolled edge from front to top.

 

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The Power/Reset switches and Power/HDD lights are on the right front.

They seem like quality buttons (feel solid) and the lights are bright!

 

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Both side panels are flat pieces of matching anodized aluminum.

They use four counter sunk screws to hold the panels in place.

 

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The bottom panel, back panel and internals are shiny bare aluminum.

 

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The back panel has mounting for a 80mm/92mm case fan (the only exhaust).

 

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The fan grille shows, that If they had made the case 1/4″ wider, it would fit a 120mm fan.

 

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There are two backplane slots to support double slot graphics cards.

 

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The power supply mount holes allow for right side up, or upside down mounting.

 

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The bottom panel is ventilated (and filtered) for your power supply intake.

 

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The filter is removable, but, the thumbscrew will be in the way of your PSU.

 

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There is also a bottom intake that has mounts for a 120mm fan.

 

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Note: This is your ONLY air intake area (other than your PSU intake)

 

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Installing an SSD in the bottom will block much of your only intake!

 

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Installing a 120mm fan may conflict with your power supply wiring.

 

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It also may fry your fan bearings, due to a partially blocked intake.

(I hung a grille to show the unventilated area of the 120mm opening)

 

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The case feet give ample height to allow air to your intakes.

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The Interior:

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The Mini Cube case uses an innovative hard drive / SSD mounting system.

The drives mount on the back side of the case (behind the motherboard)

 

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It also comes with all the hardware you need to finish your build.

 

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They give you just over an inch of space for hard drives and hidden wiring.

 

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Just screw the O-rings onto the drive and slide the drive into the slots.

 

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It comes with (24x) O-rings, (12x) 3.5″ drive screws, and (20x) 2.5″ drive screws.

 

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It has slots for up to three 3.5″ hard drives.

 

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Or, for up to four 2.5″ drives (SSD or laptop drives)

 

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Most would probably go with a single SSD and two data drives?

 

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Thankfully, 3.5″ hard drives have adopted standard sizing, due to the tight fit.

 

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The motherboard installs easily using the four included risers.

 

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The case supports double-slot graphics cards with a 280mm maximum length.

 

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Using a double-slot graphics card gives you just enough room for air intake.

 

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I would have liked to see smoother edges (or grommets) instead of stamped holes.

Luckily, most new power supplies have sleeved cables for wire protection.

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The Conclusion:

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While I believe Cubitek’s first attempt has some potential, I think there are a few glaring problems. Their concentration on keeping the case “Mini” cost them some features that would make this case rock. Their website states that it will fit “All-In-One” liquid cooling systems, but, I can’t see that happening without serious restructure. Making the case 1/4″ wider would facilitate a rear 120mm exhaust fan (or a 120mm AiO liquid system). Plus, a simple 1/2″ deeper would help the partially blocked off 120mm intake breathe (or make more room for PSU wiring). In the days of yesteryear, this case would have enough airflow. But, not by today’s standards. Maybe, I’m an airflow snob by wanting to see full sized features in a mini cube. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe.

Pros:

  • Innovative and flexible hard drive/SSD mounting system.
  • The first Mini ITX case with hidden wire management.
  • Backside wire management (HDD) space makes case ridged.
  • Brushed aluminum wraparound front gives a clean look.
  • All aluminum construction makes the case super light.

Cons:

  • Partially blocked off bottom intake hole reduces airflow.
  • would 1/4″ inch wider case facilitate a 120mm rear fan?
  • Tight space between PSU and intake fan (and no deep PSUs).
  • No provision for an optical drive (not even a slim one).
  • The punched holes for wiring seem a little unprotected.
  • Upper left SSD mount covers one of the two wiring holes.

Modabilty:

I think this case is crying for some airflow! I think this sturdy little case can take a few more fan holes to improve it’s bad breathing! Maybe a double 120mm (or 140mm) black anodized grill on front (with modder’s mesh) and a 240/280 radiator behind that! And don’t forget to block off that anemic bottom intake! (then you can actually mount an SSD there). Of course you need to evacuate all that new found air, so, maybe a 100mm x 140mm rectangular exhaust hole with modder’s mesh. I can even see full view, Lexan side panels (easily done by tracing the originals onto Lexan) as they are simply screwed on. Heck, you could use any material for side panels. Silver brushed aluminum (for contrast), polished stainless steel, painted steel, aluminum tread plate, or even corrugated cardboard! Maybe you could switch it daily for the “Side Panel de jour!”?

 

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About PCPackRat

22 thoughts on “Cubitek Mini Cube Mini ITX Case Review

  1. I like how Greg used the 120mm wire grills to show how this case could be even better, if Cubitek made the chassis a 1/4″ wider…..
     
    Cubitek_Mini_Cube_ITX_Case_Review_026.JP

  2. Nice review Greg. Good to get the visual of what a 120mm would look like in the back. I was curious if it would fit or not, but it looks like not really, with out some convincing :)

  3. Nice review, thanks Greg. Even with the oversights by Cubitek they still have a very nice looking product. I see a lot of cool mods with this case being done in the future, along with the couple already being done in our community. Hopefully Cubitek reads this and takes what you’ve said into consideration and eventually has a V2 that fixes the cons.

  4. Hopefully Cubitek reads this and takes what you’ve said into consideration and eventually has a V2 that fixes the cons.

    Amen brother, Amen!

  5. I would have to say 4 nanners is awfully gracious, personally.  This is like… 2 1/2…  Cubitek needs to re-evaluate this and rethink it prior to releasing it.
     
    Trying to go small is great, but when it can’t accommodate a large amount of hardware out there, even for small builds, it’s kind of pointless.  I can see some really good potential mods of this chassis, but…. I can’t say I like this new offering.

  6. Everytime I see this case I want to slap an overkill grill right on the front, perhaps even a dual 120 for a radiator if it could fit.
     
    I waited forever on their waiting list and then all the customs shipping problems so I finally gave up and cancelled my order.

  7. I would have to say 4 nanners is awfully gracious, personally.  This is like… 2 1/2…

    I gave it a 4 nanners because it has great potential. It’s very sturdy for a lightweight all aluminum case. My main nag is still the airflow. But, in Cubiteks defense, it’s airflow is still far superior to the cases of yesteryear (or any current Dell, HP or Compaq :^)

  8. Everytime I see this case I want to slap an overkill grill right on the front, perhaps even a dual 120 for a radiator if it could fit.
     
    I waited forever on their waiting list and then all the customs shipping problems so I finally gave up and cancelled my order.

     
    I would love to see if a 240mm Overkill would fit on the front. I think one black like what Mike used on the Metallica build would look awesome.

  9. I’m going to see about getting a hold of one, and I will mod it!
     
    Been a while since I’ve taken some tools to some unsuspecting metal muahaha.

  10. Greg made valid points about how Cubitek can improve the design. I invited our Cubitek Rep to this thread, and hopefully their will share response. :)
     

  11. Greg made valid points about how Cubitek can improve the design. I invited our Cubitek Rep to this thread, and hopefully their will share response. :)
     

     
    That would be awesome.
     
    Hey Bill, do you know if a 240mm Overkill fits the front? Or it the overkill to big? Just curious.

  12. do you know if a 240mm Overkill fits the front? Or it the overkill to big? Just curious.

    A 120mm x 240mm grill on the front is no problem.
    ( I’ll take a pic with two 120mm grills to show )
     
    A 140mm x 280mm grill would also fit. However,
    you would have to remove the “Cubitek” logo and
    have them offset to the left. If not it would likely hit
    the backbone (motherboard and hard drive tray)
     
    Cubitek_Mini_Cube_ITX_Case_Review_012.JP

  13. That would make an Overkill a VERY tight fit if it works at all. Probably just have to settle for a 240mm rad grill then. Thanks Greg.

  14. Here is the Simulation Report for air flow pattern. The 9cm fan installed at rear and 12cm fan installed at bottom inside of Mini Cube. The air flow is quite healthy inside of system.
     
    Cubitek%20Mini%20Cube.jpg

  15. Thank you for sharing the diagram and Welcome to the Mod Zoo Cubitek!

    I encourage you to share any other feedback or thoughts you may have about our review. Having a dialogue between manufacturers and enthusiast consumers can be very beneficial to both parties.

  16. Thank you for sharing the diagram and Welcome to the Mod Zoo Cubitek!

    I encourage you to share any other feedback or thoughts you may have about our review. Having a dialogue between manufacturers and enthusiast consumers can be very beneficial to both parties.

     
    +1 to this, Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing the air flow simulation with us.
     
    Adding my 2 cents here. But I don’t think that anyone here is saying that with the 120mm bottom and 90mm rear fans that airflow is below par. I think that we would all like to see a 120mm on the back because you have a much greater choice of fans, much wider selection of noise/airflow levels, and a lot more choices for color/LED/Non-LED and so on.
     
    Also Bill thank you for confirming that a 240 Overkill will fit. I really want to pick up a case and one of the overkills along with a 240mm rad and all of that and have some fun. But I fear I may end up divorced if I do that right now lol.

  17. Except for the interior layout, this case is very similar to the Lian Li PC-Q07 (one of which I have.)  That case has always been a challenge to balance between heat, noise, and dust.  I have my Lian Li torn down for modding right now, and I think both the Q07 and the Cubitek case have similar challenges for the modder.
     
    One thing the Lian Li has — that could be well-used on the Cubitek — is an SFX PSU.  Installing a Silverstone SFX power supply in the Cubitek will clear space for that bottom fan.  It will also mean the odd thumb screw would fit.  I’d do a custom adapter bracket (in aluminum) to drop an SFX PSU right down to the bottom of the Cubitek; this would make for better filtering as well as provide more interior space.
     
    Giving the Cubitek some taller feet (from MNPCTech) would be good, and then installing either an NF-F12 or an Air Penetrator with a filter would help that air flow image become reality.  And it would eliminate the need for breaking that smooth front.
     
    And then just possibly an H-80 AIO cooler on intake?
     
    Finally, air flow might be improved by a plastic sheet bent in a 3″ radius in the top front corner.  That would change the flow of air from upwards to backwards without so much turbulance.  Reduced turbulence would increase air flow as well as reduce noise.  Drop a Noctua NF-R8 on the back and even at 7v on both fans the air in the case would be exchanged 30 times per minute.  Quietly as well.
     
     – Samwisekoi
     
    p.s.  Any 3.5″ drives look like they would get hot.  Perhaps some TIM tape for GPU waterblock memory would allow heat trasnsfer to the side panel, creating a hugte heatsink without too much noise transfer.  Or just use SSDs.

  18. Forget widening the case to fit a 120mm fan. Instead put a filtered vent on the top for a 140mm fan which should fit no problem. In conjunction with the 120mm at the bottom, this would work nicely.

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