Exterior

As a dedicated Mini-ITX case the Enigma is obviously very small indeed, measuring a miniature 230mm x 210mm x 65mm – yes, it’s just 6.5cm high, just a bit taller than a standard 5.25” drive and small enough to fit practically anywhere and even on the most cramped desktop.

The case's core frame and panelling is all made of painted steel which has been given a high quality black paint job on the exterior to match the moulded plastic front fascia.

The plastic front fascia is one of the best we’ve seen, moulded from a single piece of hard wearing plastic, well fitted to the metal casing beneath and sensibly styled to not look too imposing without just being a blank surface, although it lacks a little flair.

The fascia also houses the Enigma’s front panel, made up of a pair of USB 2.0 ports and the requisite microphone and headphone sockets as well as chrome effect power and reset buttons, activity LEDs and space for a single slim optical drive.

Akasa Enigma Outside the Enigma Akasa Enigma Outside the Enigma
Click to enlarge

It’s plenty of connectivity for such a small chassis and the inclusion of the drive bay, even it is a slim drive bay which can only accommodate laptop optical drives, is great for such a physically small case. Although, we have to wonder how a motherboard and all our kit will fit inside.

The space limitations mean there’s no option for an internal PSU, with the Enigma instead shipping with an external 80W DC power brick which plugs into the rear of the case. The DC-DC power distribution board fitted inside is cooled by a single 40mm acting as an exhaust to this and the rest of the internal hardware.

Akasa Enigma Outside the Enigma Akasa Enigma Outside the Enigma
Click to enlarge

This lonely cooling fan is it - somewhat worryingly there are no mount points for additional fans either, although ventilation grills are cut into the casing on the roof and side panels to help deliver some vital breathing gaps to the components inside. With no cooling fans we’re very concerned about the thermal performance – even low power low heat processors like Intel’s Atom need some airflow.

The case’s small size also means that there’s no option to fit expansion cards like sound cards or TV tuners. Even if you have a half height card and compatible board there’s simply no opening cut into the rear panel for it to fit into, leaving you only with the feature set that your Mini-ITX motherboard offers. Although Mini-ITX boards are becoming more and more impressive the omission of any space for expansion cards is something of a restrictive policy, but one that is mutually exclusive to the smallest of form factors.
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