Cubitek Magic Cube 8HDD Review

Compxpert - 2011-04-07 22:26:38 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: April 21, 2011
Price: $288.44

Introduction:

One of the most important things in any build to consider is the case you buy. For many a case is simply something to just house your components in and keep them cool. For some however, this may simply not be enough. A case should look good but at the same time protect the components you spent your hard earned money on. Today however, a new comer to the case market, Cubitek, has something a bit different than usual to present.

You may be familiar with modular cases because of the ThermalTake Level 10. In case you aren't though a modular case incorporates separate sections for the motherboard and other components in order to isolate heat sources from one another. Unlike the Level 10 this case from Cubitek, dubbed the Magic Cube 8HDD model, it goes about separating the components in separate cube shaped chassis. Thus we have a separate box to house the motherboard, CPU, and video card in addition to other expansion components as well as separate boxes for the hard disk drives and CD/DVD or other 5.25" devices you may have. This case already seems interesting enough given the modular design, but how much will this really impact internal temperatures? First let's see what exactly we have here.

Closer Look:

First impressions given the front of the box, only lead me to believe this case is somehow cube shaped. Accord to the front of the box this series of case from Cubitek supports E-ATX as well as XL-ATX. The side of the box is a little deceiving, as first it informs me that this case supports Mini-ITX which scared me a bit, although after a look at their website my fears quickly went away. This is the only area the multi language specifications mess up on, otherwise this case appears to be quite a contender just from these specs, which include support for up to eight hard disk drives and the inclusion of a total of six fans.The back of the box gives a little more description of the major case features in addition to giving us a glance of what this case looks like. Finally on the last side of the box we have a printed list of features, which include large graphics card and heatsink support as well as mentioning that the chassis is split between three separate units, which house the motherboard and PSU, 2.5" and 3.5" internal drives, and 5.25" external drives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon opening the box we are greeted with a piece of Styrofoam which covers the top of the first two case components. Once outside of the packaging we are greeted with our three modular cubes wrapped in plastic.

 

 

So just what does it look like? More on that in the next section.

Closer Look:

Since the case is divided into three unique units I'll go over each one individually. Starting with the 5.25" external drive box we have a small cube which can contain up to two 5.25" or one 5.25" and 3.5" drive. As a whole, all of the cubes are made of aluminum and are all painted black inside and out. Each side of this box is able to be removed via the screws, which allows for a easy installation of your 5.25" devices. The paint scheme and design sort of remind me of a Lian Li-Li in the way the paint looks and the overall simple look of the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of the smaller cubes which consist of the 3.5"/2.5" drives and 5.25" drives respectively can be configured in any way top to bottom using the holes in the feet of each cube. The tops of each box contain screws which can be removed and allow for the boxes to be stacked on top of one another. The front and back of the hard drive unit all feature grating, which allows air to move through the unit. The front of the unit itself is outfitted with two 140mm fans. Just like the optical drive unit the hard drive unit is able to be fully taken apart to allow for an easy installation of hard drives. Finally, if you look at the bottom of the HDD cube you will find screw holes, which allows for up to two solid state drives to be installed.

 

 

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least, we have the all important motherboard/PSU cube. As you can see on the top panel, we have two USB 3.0 connections, which are able to be connected to an internal motherboard header for USB 2.0 via a provided adapter or to your rear USB 3.0 ports. Also on the top, we have our usual power and reset switches as well as front audio out and eSATA. In addition to all of that, we also have a top mounted 140mm fan. The front of the motherboard cube much like the DD cube, also includes two 140mm fans. Bringing up the rear of the case, we have a set of grommets for water cooling capability as well as a total of eight expansion slots. Additionally the rear also features a bottom-mounted PSU and a 120mm exhaust fan. You may have also noticed that there are holes between the top and bottom of the rear and sides of the motherboard cube. These holes are where your wires will run out to the other portions of the case. Lastly we have the bottom of the motherboard cube, which is also able to mount up to two solid state drives.

 

 

 

 

Quite an impressive case to say the least. With this mind numbing amount of fans and the modular design, this case is sure to be able to keep your components cool, right? Let's move on with a closer look at the inner workings of this case.

Closer Look:

I couldn't really get away without talking about the inside of the case. Every panel is removable from all three of the cubes, which allows full access to the inside of the case. This is great not only for the ease of access to your components, but it also allows the case to be used as a easy to access test bench. Some panels are secured with screws that require a provided 2.5mm Allen wrench. Starting again with the ODD cube we have a look from every side top to bottom. With the Magic Cube, it seems we don't have any provided tool-less solution for the ODD bays, which means you need to secure your drives with screws. Also provided in the second bay is an available 3.5" slot via an adapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlike the ODD cube the HDD cube does feature an almost tool-less solution to install the drives. Provided are enough screws and rubber wheels to get you going. Simply secure four wheels to the sides of the hard drive you're inserting and then install. Looking at the first image you may notice a thumb screw securing a plate that is covering the area around the hard drive rails. Once you install your drives this plate can be moved down to secure them in place.

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least we have the primary area of our build, the motherboard cube. As you can see included on the motherboard tray are plenty of holes to run wires through in addition to a back plate hole for your heatsinks and water blocks. Note also the notches in the front and top of the case. These notches are where the included fans mount up. Probably the greatest feature about this case is its form factor compatibility which ranges from mATX to E-ATX. The case also benefits in its modular design in yet another way, besides large form factor support. This also benefits graphics cards, because, let's face it - they just seem to be getting longer these days.

 

 

 

Up next we have the bottom of the motherboard cube as well as our internal connections for our front panel I/O, which includes the audio and USB connections as well as eSATA, power, reset, HDD LED, and power LED. Here we also have our included accessories which consists of all the needed hardware to set up the case as well as included power cables, which allow you to hook up your distant fans, hard disk drives, and optical drives. All of the included power cables are SATA based so no 4-pin Molex connectors here, besides the 4-pin Molex to SATA power.

Not included however are any data cables for your drives so you will have to buy some and depending on how you want to configure the case you will need even longer cabels. In the default configuration shown on the box, which has the ODD/HDD cubes stacked on one another next to the motherboard cube, you need at least a minimum of a 1 meter (39") length SATA data cable for all of your drives including your optical drive. Lastly, we have three of our included 140mm fans. In total, six fans are included - five of them are 140mm whilst one is 120mm. Each of the five 140mm fans are screwed into two brackets, which have screws and grommets in the side. Included are five fan filters which sit under these brackets on the reverse side of the fan. These then mount into the slider holes included in the fan areas of the motherboard and HDD cubes. Other than the size specifications no other specification is given for the fans.

 

 

 

Now we finally arrive at the build results. Being able to take all of the panels off was a nice touch, as it made installation easier, though removing the screws can be a bit tedious. The install went fairly smoothly with minimal problems. However, given how this case is laid out, there is little space between the motherboard tray and the side panel behind it, so there is no place to go with wires beside outside the case to the other chassis compartments, or to the bottom of each chassis compartment. The case also quite literally has enough space for a ThermalRight Ultra Extreme mounted vertically. I say quite literally, because the heatsink needs to be tilted slightly to have the fan brackets avoid contact with the top fan. It would be nice if long data cables had been included as I had to acquire some in order to complete the build. However, that should be obvious given the nature of this case design.

 

 

So it does need longer cabling to get it going, but that doesn't detract from the potential this case has. The modular design should serve it well in testing.

Specifications:

Model Name
Magic Cube / 8 HDDs
Model Number
CB-MA-B211
Drive Bay
External: 5.25” x 2 (including a 5.25” to 3.5” converter)
Internal : 3.5” x 8 + 2.5” x 4
Size
M/B Cube x 1 / mm (W, H, D)
Optical Cube x 1 / mm (W, H, D)
HDD Cube (fits 8 HDDs) / mm (W, H, D)
Material
Anodized 5052 aluminum
M/B Type
ATX / E-ATX
PCI Slots
8
Front I/O
USB 3.0 x 2 / HD+AC-97 audio / Mini USB Type B (Mini to Micro USB adapter included)
PCI Space
Maximum Graphics Card length: 340mm
CPU Cooler Height
Maximum CPU Cooler height: 180mm
PSU Space
Maximum PSU length: 220mm
Fan
M/B Cube / Front: 140mm fan x 1; Rear: 120mm fan x 1; Top: 140mm fan x 1
HDD Cube (fits 3 HDDs) / Front: 140mm fan x 2
Side Panel
Aluminum
Internal Finishing
Aluminum

Features:

All information courtesy of Cubitek @ http://www.cubitek.com/products/chassis/magic-cube-8/features.html

Testing:

Testing focuses on four major heat producing components which consist of the motherboard chipset, CPU, GPU, and HDD. Two types of tests are done on each component which helps show how well the case is keeping things cool. Each component is left to idle for a whole hour after which the current temperatures are recorded. After the idle testing we move on to load testing which places load on each component using a variety of load generating programs such as HDTune, Folding@Home GPU client, and Prime 95 in blend mode. After running for an hour each temperature is recorded. All temperatures are recording useing a combination of RealTemp and HWmonitor. Of course, lowest temperature is always best.

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As expected, the combination of the large number and size of fans and the modular design of the case allowed for the individual components to be better cooled, which led to the case ultimately winning in nearly every test.

Conclusion:

Seemingly the only downfall this case has is its requirement for longer data cables. Otherwise, this case has the makings of something great. It has a nice brushed black almuminum look inside and out. The case excels at keeping your componets cooler than other cases and it accomplishes this by isolating heat sources from one another. With its modular design though, there of course is the added setback of more space being taken up. But given what it accomplishes in temperature reduction, it certianly mitigates this problem. The case didn't wire-manage well, but did manage to keep wires out of the way of fans well enough. It could have a little more space for large heatsinks, but it is at least adequate enough to still fit one in with the top fan still installed.

Despite the few setbacks the case has, it balances out well with big features like the ability to hold eight hard disks or even E-ATX support. So you might be wondering how you can get your hands on this case. Well a quick google search finds very few e-tailers carrying the case and of the ones that do, none of them are in North America. Current exchange rates from Euros to USD puts this case with a decent price tag of $288.44, putting it right up there with competitors like the ThermalTake Level 10 GT.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: