Posted: August 18, 2003
Author: Jason Kohrs
Source: Logic Supply
The popularity of small form factor computers is on the rise as people are finding them to be desirable for use in home theater applications, as a portable computing alternative, and even as a replacement for the typical desktop pc. With this increased popularity has come a welcomed increase in the variety and quality of options to custom tailor a mini pc to your needs and personal tastes. Morex is one manufacturer who is taking the mini pc market seriously, as well as being the company behind the Cubid 3688 Mini-ITX case provided by Logic Supply for this review. The Morex Cubid 3688 case is one of the newest products released by Morex, and has just recently found its way to the virtual shelves at Logic Supply.
In case you are unfamiliar with Morex or Logic Supply, the following brief introductions are provided, but please visit their respective websites for more information… Morex is a Taiwanese manufacturer of pc cases and power supplies that got their start back in 1986. They offer one of the larger selections of Mini-ITX cases, with no fewer than 6 models to choose from. Logic Supply is an online retailer specializing in mini PCs and accessories (specifically based on the Mini-ITX form factor), with a real world address in Boston, Massachusetts. Their growing inventory includes just about anything you would need to build a Mini-ITX pc, including: motherboards, cases, drives, and memory.
Morex Cubid M3688 Specifications (taken from the Logic Supply website):
• Case dimensions: 2.5" (H) x 8.25" (W) x 10.25" (D)
• Available colors: Silver & black (as pictured on the right)
• Main board size: VIA Mini-ITX Form Factor (170 x 170)
• HDD Bracket: Slim type (2.5") x 1
• CD-ROM Bracket: Slim type x 1
• Front Access USB ports: 2 (version 2.0)
• Internal Power Supply (DC-DC Converter)
• Dimensions: (mm) 160 (L) x 45 (W)
• Input: DC 12V in (From External AC Adapter)
• 5VSB 1.50A
• +5V 4.50A
• +3.3V 4.00A
• +12V 1.50A
• Maximum Output: 62.40 Watts
• External Power Supply (AC Adapter)
• Input: AC 100~240 V
• Output: DC 12V, 4.58A
From the information provided in the specifications above, you can tell that the 3688 is about as small as you can get. The overall dimensions of the case are a mere 2.5 x 8.25 x 10.25 inches! Due to the size, you are forced to use a notebook style hard drive and optical drive, so any plans to use some of your old desktop components in here should be abandoned. But, if you want to build a small system in a “big” way, you might as well do it right and use the smallest components possible.
The Morex Cubid 3688 arrived from Logic Supply in a plain cardboard box pictured in the above left image. The case itself is wrapped in plastic and suspended in a foam frame for protection (middle image), while the accessories are packed in the smaller cardboard box shown on the right. Everything is well protected, and damage from transit shouldn’t be a concern.
The accessories bundled with the Morex 3688 include the items pictured on the left, and include the following: A plastic base for standing the unit on end, A power adaptor and electric cord, miscellaneous hardware, a slim optical drive to IDE adaptor, and a special IDE ribbon to allow a notebook hard drive and slim optical drive to share one channel. The power adaptor is much like a notebook computer’s, and will free up some valuable real estate in such a small enclosure.
The above left image provides a closer look at the special IDE ribbon included with the Morex 3688, and the above right image details the adaptor provided to use a slim optical drive on the IDE ribbon. If you have a Mini-ITX case that uses a notebook style optical drive, you will most likely need one of these adaptors. Many cases do not come with them, and they must be purchased separately for around $15.00. A definite plus to see it included with the Morex Cubid 3688.
The two images above give you a look at both the front and back of the case. The front of the case has a clear acrylic plate held in place by four oversized chrome screws. The acrylic plate has become a fairly common feature on cases of all sizes, and I think it looks good in general, and particularly on this case. The front of the case includes two USB 2.0 connectors, one expansion bay for a slim optical drive, and silver power and rest buttons. As you can see on the back of the case, there won’t be much room for anything but the features on the ATX back plate, and the power plug located on the right.
The case is constructed of steel and painted silver so that it almost looks like an aluminum case upon first glance. The two images above give you a profile view of the top (image on the left) and the bottom (image on the right). When using the case in the upright fashion pictured, the exhaust fan will work like a chimney, drawing the hot air up and out of the case, while drawing in cooler air from the perforations shown.
Three screws hold the cover in place, and once removed you have the internals as pictured in the above left image. The upper surface is a tray used to mount the hard drive and optical drive. The tray is held in by 4 screws, and once out of the way allows plenty of room to install the motherboard, and will make drive installation easier, too. The above middle image shows this tray removed from the case, and the above right image shows the case as it looks with the tray removed.
As you can see in the previous set of pictures, and detailed more clearly in the image on the right, all of the electronics for the case are mounted near the front panel. The large exposed board is the power supply (which is fed power by a plug on the rear of the case), and other boards present include the front USB 2.0 connectors (on the right), and the power button, reset button, and indicator light board (on the left). The header on the left of the power board sends power to the ATX connection on the motherboard, as well as one 4-pin power connector for the hard drive, and one floppy drive style 4-pin power connector for the optical drive.
Please read on to page 2 for more of the Morex Cubid 3688... Next
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