bit-tech.net

Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review

Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review

Manufacturer: Antec
UK price (as reviewed):
£229.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable

The Cube is one of the latest mini-ITX efforts from Antec, a company that has arguably taken a bit of a backseat in the case market in recent years, at least as far as enthusiast products go. Originally, the Cube was sold with Razer branding, but this latest edition has done away with this and is considered 'Certified by EKWB'. With EKWB being a manufacturer of premium and well regarded water-cooling components, this sounds like a win, although in actuality what it means to end users is tricky to surmise. It does cost £230, however, so it'll need to do a lot to impress us.

Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review
Click to enlarge

In terms of design and styling, the name Cube seems a little misplaced, as the distinct forward lean makes this more rhombus than cube, but we're not here to nitpick over geometry. More important is the actual build quality, and here the Cube impresses, largely thanks to the 3mm aluminium used for the outer shell. This lends the case excellent strength and rigidity even though the side and roof panels have central acrylic windows. It's a shame that plastic rather than metal is used for the large grill that makes up the front panel, but we're happy with the thick rubber that the case stands on – there's plenty of grip.

The front I/O panel is easy to access with front-facing USB 3.0 and audio ports; the fact that they're blacked out is a nice touch too. You also get a large power button (no reset) on the roof, and this is flanked by one button on each side. The left one controls the case's integrated RGB lighting, and the right one changes the fan speed of the internal fan hub – more on that over the page. The buttons themselves are plastic and a little clunky but not loose or ill-fitted.

Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review
Click to enlarge

The aforementioned RGB lighting is present in five different places: two long strips on the underside; two smaller, vertical strips on the front panel; and the Antec logo also at the front. The button controls all five at once with no independent toggling possible aside from manually disconnecting any you don't want. You can turn the lights off or set them to one of seven different colours, which is a little less than we see with similar solutions from Phanteks, for example, where there are 10 options. The quality of some of the colours is also strange. Where some, like red and green, seem to display uniformly at all five points, others seem to show a different colour at the front compared to the bottom, leading to purple/pink and orange/yellow combinations. Whether or not this is intentional is hard to tell, but we can't say we're enamoured by it. There's no real white setting either; the closest thing to it is more of a light blue. Lastly, it's also a shame there's no internal lighting by default – it's not a deal-breaker, but with three tinted windows the Cube would really benefit from it.

Antec Cube EKWB Edition Review
Click to enlarge

The Cube ships with only one fan by default – a 120mm white LED model fitted as a rear exhaust. There's room for up to two more in the front (or one larger model). It's hardly the most complex cooling system there is, but it should suffice for most setups. That said, the absence of any ventilation in the roof could pose a problem for graphics cards, as the inverted tower layout means their cooling fans will be positioned here. On that note, the Cube is interesting in that it has three expansion slots, allowing even the biggest graphics cards to fit inside.

One final positive worth noting is that Antec hasn't forgotten about dust filtering. The entire front panel is guarded by a filter that's removable once the front panel itself is off, and the PSU is also shielded by some material installed along the bottom, although this isn't easily removable, which is a shame.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 250 x 460 x 365 (W x D x H)
  • Material Aluminium, steel, plastic
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 6.5kg
  • Front panel Power, 2 x USB 3.0, stereo, microphone, LED control, fan control
  • Drive bays 1 x 3.5", 2 x 2.5"; or 4 x 2.5"
  • Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
  • Cooling 1 x 180mm/140mm or 2 x 120mm front fan mounts (fans not included), 1 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mount (120mm white LED fan included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 190mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 350mm
  • Extras Removable dust filter, 6-port fan control hub, RGB LEDs