Today, we get hands on with the Anidees AI Crystal. I spent a lot of time admiring this case, and then a bit more building in it, so sit back and grab a snack as we jump right in to it.
First up, here are some specs about this case, straight from Anidees.com.
|Anidees AI Crystal Specifications|
|Available Color||Black Interior / Light smoky Glass|
|Material||Steel body / Plastic / 5mm thickness Tempered Glass|
|Dimensions||475*216*497mm / 18.7*8.5*19.6 inches|
|Side Panel||Solid, Windowed|
|Weight||Net Weight: 10.9 kg / 24 lbs|
|Motherboard Type||M-ITX,M-ATX,ATX,E-ATX(12″x13″ EEB)|
|Internal Bays||3 x 3.5″, 3 x 2.5″ (Hidden)|
|I/O Panel||USB3.0 x 2, USB2.0 x 2 ,3 steps Fan Controller, Audio* 1,Mic *1|
|Fan Support||Front: 3x140mm or 3x120mm(3x140mm White LED 1100RPM included)|
Rear: 1x120mm or 1x140mm (140mm White LED 1100RPM included)
Top: 2×140 or 3x120mm (optional)
|Power Supply||Standard ATX PS2 / EPS (optional)|
|Graphics Card||410mm /16.1 inches|
|CPU Cooler||Up to 175mm height|
|Cable Management||95mm behind motherboard tray|
240/280/360 mm Rad on top 60mm total clearance for Fan and Rad (Optional)
240/280/360 mm Rad in the front 63mm total clearance for Fan and Rad (Optional)
120/140 mm Rad in the rear (Optional)
The features, as shown on the Anidees website, are shown below:
- Supports E-ATX (12″x13″EEB), XL-ATX, ATX, m-ATX, mini-ITX MB.
- High end component support.
- Supports 360/280/240 mm on top or 360/280/240 mm Radiator in front
- Dust filter in the front and top, and under the PSU for easy maintenance
- Metal SSD cage behind MB tray
- Air cooling support up to 7 fans
- 5mm thickness tempered glass as side panels and front panel
- Fan controller and Fan Hub included
- Include 4 x 140mm White LED Fans
The box made it to me, maybe a week’s worth of shipping time. As you can see it took a bit of damage in the process. I wanted to document any damage fairly well in case it didn’t quite make it in one piece. We see numerous scratches, dents and even a puncture wound sustained which had me a bit worried.
Upon opening the box, my heart beat returned to normal speed, seeing this case was nestled in between two large foam stabilizers and wrapped in thin plastic. No damage was found on the case itself, only the box.
Parts and Accessories
As for the spare parts and instructions included, it seems to be just enough to get by. The hardware comes in labeled bags describing as to which component they should be used with to install. The instructions are a large fold out with general how to’s for installing components. I really wish they would have included at least one spare thumbscrew for the glass panels and a spare rubber washer or two for it as well.
From the Outside
On to the case itself. Even empty, this case is one very delicious piece of eye-candy. The AI Crystal hosts a very large piece of tempered glass which is great for viewing all of the beautiful blood, sweat, and tears you poured into building inside of this case. Four thumbscrews keep the glass installed. The pane actually rests on the female part of the screw, which is wrapped in silicon, and the thumbscrew, with silicon washer, secures it very nicely. The case comes with four 140mm fans, all clear acrylic (blade and body) and lit with white LED’s, that spin at 1200 RPM. They are rated at 12V 0.30Amp. Andiees states that on low, the fan controller operates the fans on on the 5V supply, and on high, it uses the 12V rail. The L-S-H switch is located on the button bezel just to the left of the Mic input.
On top of this case we see a very seamless magnetic filter covering the mounting locations for the top of the case. On top, it supports three 120mm or two 140mm fans. Behind the front glass pane, we find a magnetic mesh filter exactly the same as the one on top. This location not only supports three 120mm fans, but can also support three 140mm fans allowing for a monstrous 360 (3×120) radiator. As an added treat, you can also install fans between the steel front of the chassis and the glass pane allowing an over-sized radiator to be inside of the case, but your fans are still tucked nicely behind the tempered glass pane, maintaining the elegant look of this case. The bezel around the front piece of glass sports large openings to maintain a steady supply of fresh air to be pulled into your case (see test build photo below).
On the Inside
Inside of the case, starting at the top, We have the mounting location of a cooling system. This location can support fans, or a rad, and has room for both. It can support 3×120 or 2×140. A 360mm rad and fans should have no problem squeezing right up there. There are large air flow holes for less restriction and the magnetic mesh outside helps maintain the elegant look. Continuing our progression down, we have the motherboard tray, capable of supporting mITX, mATX, ATX, and even an EATX size motherboard.
Please note, with an EATX motherboard installed you will lose the ability to use the cable management cover, but it may not be necessary given the new distance of the cables running from the motherboard to the backside of the motherboard tray. There is also a spot to mount a 140mm or 120mm fan at the rear of this case, though there is no filter included in that mounting location. The small feet on the bottom provide clearance to allow airflow to the PSU, where there is also another removable filter, but this one slides in and out laterally so there is no need to lift or rotate the case to clean or check the filter. While not advised, the feet do leave enough room to set it on carpet and still breathe. The seven PCI expansion covers are very nicely made and fairly easy to use. Like some other cases you don’t have to bend them to break them out. You can simply remove and reinstall at your leisure.
Just below our motherboard tray, we find the PSU and HDD housing with a very nice finish and a beautiful Anidees mirrored logo. In this case, this was simply a sticker pre-attached but when I went to remove the plastic from what I thought was a polished metal, the sticker began to lift, so be sure to apply some pressure and ensure the sticker is sufficiently attached. Just in front of this metal housing, towards the front of the case, there is quite a lot of room. I personally installed a 360mm (3×120) radiator that is 60mm thick without an issue here. This location may also fare well as a pump location given the correct style of pump.
Around the back side of the motherboard tray, we find a location for everything else needed to make this a computer case. At the top, we see a channel for our cables to run in, configured with the fan controller, fans, buttons, and audio wires all held in place by Velcro straps. Below them we have three 3.5″ HDD trays stacked vertically inside of our PSU housing. They are made from steel but do include some vibration dampening material, and I never once heard them rattle. Moving to the right we find the grommet for our cables to pass through, then we see where our PSU will mount. Just above the PSU on the backside of the motherboard tray, we three 2.5″ HDD/SSD mounting trays. They simply slide down onto metal tabs and are secured by a thumbscrew, these also never made a peep.
I found that 5050 LED lighting fits extremely well into the small gap at the base of the PSU housing on the motherboard side, really allowing you to have flexible options when it comes to showing off all of your hardware inside of this case.
So, here I find myself wanting to point out the bad things about this case, or the lack of whatever, but I am really finding it hard to do. Honestly, there are a few things that gave me trouble but nothing I couldn’t work around or re-imagine. The two biggest ones that stand out to me are the lack of depth for cable management between the glass pane and the back side of the motherboard tray, and the lack of a dedicated water pump mounting location. Like I stated, some re-imagining and subtle workaround made them manageable. On top of the PSU housing, where my pump/res combo is located would have been an excellent location for them to include a mounting solution for a pump footprint. It would have allowed a pump to be secured via the 3.5″ tray area or even holes for a 120mm mount to use one of the popular pump brackets available. The cabling area behind the motherboard tray also seemed really cramped as I attempted to install the glass after I was done. Fear of breaking the glass as it began to go convex had me taking it off and re-securing things to make it slimmer.
While building in it, I did run into a few items that I found to dislike or caused me difficulty. Because my cards are water-cooled and configured for SLI, they are installed as one unit. The cable management cover and expansion slot door were just close enough together to make it very difficult to install my cards. The expansion door did not slide far enough to allow my cards to sneak by it. I ended up removing the thumbscrew and taking the door off for the install. Another thing that I found is how it looks as if this chassis was designed to be used for another case or re-purposed from another case. If you look at the pictures in the gallery or the one below, you can see the cut outs for metal tabbed side panels to be attached. A quick and simple fix is to cover them with electrical tape to keep any custom lighting from illuminating through the holes.
I did contact Anidees in regards to the availability of a metal panel for the backside of the motherboard tray, they informed me that it could cause an aesthetic difference because the metal panel could not be as thick as the glass. Also, i asked them about the availability of replacement glass in case someone is to break theirs. Currently it will be a case by case basis until the parts are more readily available. I also inquired about the possibility of fan options, specifically the ability to select a specific color of fan to be included or even RGB fans and was informed that they are currently looking into the cost and could possibly be released with the next version of this case.
With the case tour out of the way, on to the testing.
For this build I will be using the following components:
|CPU||Intel i7 6700K (OC 4,632 MHz @ 1.35v)|
|Cooler||Intel Raystorm CPU Block, Coolgate Triple 120(60mm thick) Rad, MCP355 w/ek150 res|
|Motherboard||Asus Maximus VIII Formula|
|RAM||16GB of HyperX Fury [email protected]|
|Graphics Card||2x Asus Matrix Platinum 780 TI|
|Solid State Drive||PNY XLR8 120GB SSD and 4TB Toshiba X300|
|Power Supply||Corsair AX1200|
|Operating System||Windows 10 x64|
Building in this case was very straightforward. The cable management of this case allowed me to thread and hide wires really well, anything that wasn’t able to be tucked out of sight blends beautifully with the matte finish inside and is smoothed by the lightly tinted glass panes.
I began load testing using Realbench and in the current cooling configuration, compared to the open air case this was build was previously in, my temps did increase by about 3 °C across the board. My idle temp floats closer to 30 °C compared to 27 °C before. I then loaded up Forza Motorsport 6: APEX and after an hours worth of gaming, my cooling delta has increased from 9 °C to 13 °C. When I say cooling configuration, my radiator is set inside of the case, and the most bottom cooling fan is restricted because the air that passes through the radiator is met by the 3.5″ HDD bays. Also, in this layout, all of the heat that the radiator is exhausting is being dumped in the case to be exhausted out of the top, so the hot air passes over all of the components before it leaves the case. The slight increase in temperature was to be expected, but I did not expect them to be so minimal, so once again, I am thoroughly impressed by this case.
In conclusion, this is an incredible case for the absolutely amazing price of $139.99, available from Newegg.com. This case is far more than I expected from Anidees, especially for the price. Three panes of tempered glass giving you endless possibilities of color and light. The flexibility of the radiator mounting locations, not to mention that the fans can be installed inside or outside for the front of the chassis and remain hidden within the glass, is a huge plus. That trait is not mentioned on their website but I believe it should be. Cable management is really quite good, just the spacing is limited. The filters, fans, and items included are all of fair quality and the chassis itself is rigid and open. Anidees really went above and exceeded my expectations with this case. When I contacted them as a consumer (not a reviewer) with general questions about the item that any customer may have, they responded quickly, and very nicely but on top of that, they were sure to detail their answer for me which is great to see from a manufacturer.
Overall, the quality of this case is seemingly more than your money’s worth. It supports a very large system in a small, very elegant, package. A mid-tower supporting an EATX board with the class and styling that this one does is incredible. Unlike some other cases from this manufacturer, an open water loop is a real possibility in this case as well as air, AIO, or even multiple AIO solutions. The cable management cut-outs are exactly where you want them to be and the awesome flexibility of mounting radiators or fans in different sizes on the front, top, or back of this case really allows you the freedom to make exactly what you want.