Cubitek Mini-Tank - Miniature Collossus

Interior Design

Sound in Theory, Bad in Practice

In theory, the Mini Tank has its internals well sorted. There are three main areas - to the right there’s the drive bays for both 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch devices; and to the left, the motherboard tray area; and below it, the PSU bay. Each of these areas are well sized, for example, the HDD drive cage can accommodate up to four hard drives, which is plenty for a Mini-ITX board, while the PSU bay will accommodate ATX-sized PSUs of up to 200mm in length.

However, in practice, it’s quite hard to get things to fit. For one, because of the way the PSU bay is designed, PSUs can only be installed via the back and considering how close the HDD drive bays are behind, it's hard to route the cables to where you need them. Also, even if there's enough space (lengthwise) for graphics cards up to 340mm, there isn't enough depth. As it is, the bigger graphics cards will jut out from the motherboard tray area and we found that the drive bays behind are not recessed enough. This is not a problem for most cards, but we found cards with rear backplates - like a Radeon HD 5970- to be a real tight fit, as it would rub against the screws holding the drive cage behind. Fortunately, this problem can be fixed by removing the offending screw, but really, Cubitek should have taken this into consideration.

Another thing we didn't like about the Mini Tank is that there's little space between the PSU bay and the HDD cage. In theory, the Mini Tank will accommodate PSUs up to 200mm in length. In practice, however, users will find that with the HDD cage so close behind, it's terribly tiring to have to thread the various cables through to the components. Also, there's little in the way of cable management, so it's best to prepare some cable ties of your own.

Lastly, we also we didn’t like the Mini Tank that despite having USB 3.0 ports at the front, the casing lacks proper USB 3.0 headers and instead requires users to use an adapter instead. The adapter is pretty clunky and this causes unnecessary clutter within the casing.

The casing is actually pretty spacious and it uses a horizontal configuration, where the motherboard lies flat instead of being mounted vertically. The motherboard tray area is really big and can not only accommodate large graphics cards, it can also fit large CPU coolers, up to 160mm in height.

There two 5.25-inch ODD bays on the top. One of which can can converted to a 3.5-inch bay using an adapter. The adapter also lets users install 2.5-inch SSDs on it too.

There's space for up to four 3.5-inch hard disks. However, if you were to be using a long graphics card, chances are the top two bays would be unusable, because the card would extend out from the motherboard tray. Note that under the drive cage is space for installing an SSD drive.

Installing hard drives is a pretty primitive, but thankfully straightforward process. No elegant clip-on racks here, instead users are required to use a screw and rubber bushings.

The PSU is located at the bottom of the casing and for reasons beyond us, Cubitek has decided to "shield" the bay area, which makes it a hassle to install PSUs, because they have to be inserted from the rear. And with the drive cage just in front, it's hard to route the various cables through.

Frustratingly, PSUs can only be installed via the back, and while the bay can accommodate most PSUs (even this 750W one), the fact is that the PSU bay area is pretty cramped and that makes cable routing tiring.

With a Radeon HD 6870 installed, there's plenty of space left, but the fact is, the HDD drive cage needs to be further recessed so that cards with backplates can fit more easily. Right now, it's too tight a fit.

The Good
Able to accommodate large graphics cards and CPU coolers
Sufficient cooling fans
Large motherboard tray area
The Bad
Poor position of HDD cage
Side panel access and design could be better

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