What’s in the box
The Mini Tank’s packaging is dynamic, with almost enough information to sell itself. It contains the case (with front panel cables tucked away inside) as well as a box for the screws, cables, and documentation.
The Mini Tank is well put together, and the aluminum body is always cool to the touch and not easily scratched. It has sturdy rubber feet that keep the system half an inch off the floor, giving space for air to flow into the ventral intake and directly into the power supply. The front panel options are simple and utilitarian, but include USB 3.0 capable ports as well as headphone and microphone jacks for an easy place to plug in your gaming headset. There isn’t a separate power light, but the glowing front fan will never leave a doubt of whether you’re ready to roll. The reset button, however, is so tiny it can’t be pressed without filing your fingers into tiny points (or maybe if you used a pencil). The exterior is held together with small thumscrews and tiny shred-your-thumb screws, but all of them are slotted for an alan wrench which is thoughtfully included. It made taking the system apart for installation and mantainence a breeze. It even has a removable air filter at the front to keep your interior clean.
The inside is spacious and well thought out. The giant 140mm fan at the front is positioned directly in front of the hard drive rack, allowing airflow to pass through and between your drives. Another 140mm fan at the top will pull rising heat directly from the motherboard, and the 120mm fan at the rear will complete the flow of air from the front, leaving no space for air to sit stagnant and heat up. The side cavities are surprisingly good for cable routing, keeping all cables off to the side and out of the way of the life-giving airflow. The 3.5″ hard drive mounts consist of rubber “tires” that squeeze into rails on the rack, giving the drive zero chance to vibrate and rattle the case. The 2.5″ hard drive mounts are under the 3.5″ rack, and attach using traditional screws. There’s room for two drives, and they’re spaced apart – but it seems to be out of the main airflow, so heating might become an issue if you have two drives installed down there.
The mini-ATX board mounts horizontally, giving more space for oversized heat sinks and for the heat to have more surface area to disipate from. This does make reading the labels on the motherboard connectors hard to read once it’s installed, so keep the motherboard instruction book handy. It’s also a tight squeeze for a standard-sized screwdriver; you’ll want a shorter crosspoint or even a jeweler’s set to get into all of the tiny spaces. However, the extra width of the case leaves room for a full-sized video card to mount, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice when scaling down to size.