Announced just a few weeks ago, and today we have our Anidees AI-7M review. The case is a refreshed version of the original AI-7. Rather than a vertical dual chamber design, this model has a horizontal motherboard tray. The form factor is now limited to mini and micro ATX only, but all of the major original features have been left intact. Side by side, looking at the exterior only nothing differs between the two cases. So why a new model then? Basically the horizontal layout offers more logical air flow and more efficient use of the space inside.
The Anidees AI-7m is available in four different versions black and white, with or without a side panel window. Pricing varies from £55-£65 (click to check current)
Anidees AI-7M Features and Specifications
The Anidees AI-7m – mATX Case focuses on cooling and maximum configurability. Available in black and white, the new Anidees AI-7m is an mATX case which is focused on cooling performance and maximum configurability. The sleek design reflects the same quality and materials as found on Anidees cases, but in a compact size ensuring that the system will fit in most spaces. The case supports m-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards formats.
Like any great case, it has been designed with expert cooling in mind, with space for up to 8 fans and a 200mm silent fan pre-installed into the case. The dual chamber design compartmentalises the interior into two thermally separated zones for mainboard, CPU, GPU as well as drives and PSU. The case is suitable for watercooling with support for a top 240 mm Radiator, front 2x 240 mm and rear 1x 144/120 radiator.
– Direct airflow cooling all compoments
– Support max 8 case fans
-Quiet operation with 200 mm fan (pre-installed)
-Support 3 x 240 and 1 x 140/120 mm water cooling
-3 speed Fan controller (High, Stop, Low), Fan Hub included.
-Spacious but not as big as you think!
-Cube m-ATX Case, Supports m-ATX and mini-ITX
-Supports 1 x 5.25″, 4 x 3.5″ or 4 x 2.5″ devices ( 4 x 2.5″ convert from 3.5″ cage)
-High end compoments support – Max GPU Length 310mm, CPU Height 180mm, PSU Length 186mm
-Cable routing behind MB tray
-Compact size with 41.5L
-Excellent structural design
-Dust filter on the front, top and side panel
-3.5″ HDD tool free
-Full side panel window
-Removable ODD, HDD cage and MB Tray for easy installation
– Colour: Black
– Internal Colour: Black
– Dimension (D/W/H): 380 x 288 x 380mm
– Weight: 6.35kg
– Cooling System (Air Cooling): Top: 2 x 140 / 120mm fan (optional), Front: 1 x 200mm (700 RPM, included) or 2 x 140mm or 4 x 120mm fan, Rear: 2 x 140mm fan (900 RPM included)
– ODD, HDD Cage, MB tray: Removable for easy install
– MB Type: M-ATX, Mini-ITX
– Material: 0.7mm SECC Steel, Plastic
– Drive Bays 1 x 5.25″, 4 x 3.5″ Hidden, 4 x 2.5″ ( 4 converted from HDD Tray)
– I/O Panel: 2 x USB3.0, 2 x USB2.0, 1 x Audio, 1 x MIC, Fan Controller (rear)
– Expansion Slots: 5
– Power Supply: ATX PS2, up to 186mm deep (optional)
– Cable Routing below MB Tray: Yes
– Maximum Compability: Graphics Cards Length: 310mm, CPU Cooler height: 180mm
A very simple box exterior, the bulk of which is black and a silver band runs around the top edge. No images of the actual product, instead we find only text. The main specifications are listed on the right side.
Typical packaging method here on the Anidees AI-7m with Styrofoam pads and ample plastic wrapping
The included bundle is on the basic side, a step back in comparison to other offerings we’ve seen elsewhere. The manual is also basic, a simple fold out sheet with very little information present.
We start our tour of the Anidees AI-7m case, at the front and then we’ll work our way around. As I said earlier, no actual change between the original and the new “M” Model, we have the same 5.25″ optical bay at the top centre, power and reset button at either side, with small LED indicators below each.
Underneath the optical bay we find dual USB 3.0, dual USB 2.0 and audio in/out ports. Below the main I/O is large air intake with a honey comb design embedded.
We shall return and look at cooling options in more detail soon, the panel is removable with no hassle, as the I/O is fixed to the case and not the actual plastic panel. Removing this allows access the dust filter, notice the two rogue plastic pins. I have no idea, why they are here and later I’ll show what issue they introduce.
Glancing at the top of the AI-7M I appreciate the sleek appearance, we find a meshed panel that is styled to match the front. The idea is that it’s removable with a simple push button. Sadly our button seemed to be broken and would not release. That aside, being able to access this portion of the case for maintenance is appreciated
Flipping around to the underside and we find literally nothing, no fan options or filters in sight. To lift the case up we find four rubber feet and a mass of thumb screws, which hold the hard drive cage into place.
The right side panel includes a ventilation segment, as this is where the PSU will sit, in the lower chamber. This addition allows the PSU to breathe cold air in and expel it from the rear. A nice bonus is the magnetic dust filer, which literally pops on and off the case panel.
The single viewing window is a simple rectangle design, I’m pleased Anidees has wrapped both the out and inside with protective film, to avoid any scratching during the shipping process.
Finishing up our exterior tour of the AI-7M at the rear. The horizontal motherboard design, offers an interesting set of features. We find dual 140mm fan mounts, a vertical PSU and even water cooling grommets. The internal fan controller, is set with a 3 step switch on the rear also. Both side panels, has bevelled edges to allow access for your fingers and are held down with thumb screws.
Side panels removed and we take our first look inside, first impressions are that we have a lot of space to work with! I’m personally a fan of any dual chamber design, it’s just so much more logical to isolate and separate components that generate heat. This design allows each chamber to be fed cool air from the front, and the expel it from the rear, with the pre-installed 140mm fans
We shall cover the many cooling options that exist inside the AI-7M. Starting with the front, something rarely seen is the dual mounts for 240mm radiators!
Now I have to touch upon the one or two issues that I ran into. The main problem is that the distance between the motherboard and front panel, is too small to slide a thin AIO cooler with fans into place (60mm). You can’t install the fans after because the hard drive cage is in the way, you’ll actually need to remove the entire motherboard tray and cage to fit the cooler. Its an easy enough task.
You might be thinking, that’s OK and it is, because you won’t be doing it on a weekly basis right? Perhaps you want a second set of fans on the outside of the case, behind the meshed panel. Well technically It’ is doable but…remember those unusual plastics pins I mentioned earlier? Well they are right in the way…and we really don’t understand why Anidees have left them here, exactly where you want to mount fans.
Something else that may not be initially clear, the front panel has 4 different mounting options for radiators. A 240mm in the centre, or a 240mm in left, or a 240mm in the right side and finally dual 240mm’s side by side. However, another issue cropped up as our radiators where literally scrapping against each other and we could not line up our lower screws for one of them.
The issues don’t stop just yet. The design and location of the hard drive cage just isn’t logical. If you do fit any radiators in the front, you’re basically taking the heat from them and blowing it directly over your hard drives. Let’s be logical, no harm will be done but, just it seems a bit silly. What Anidees ought to have done, is move it over to the centre. What’s more baffling, is that holes exist on the main tray suggesting it can move, despite my best efforts it just would not line up and no holes are present in the base to secure it down either.
The actual motherboard tray is decent with multiple grommets scattered around the edges.
In the roof, the AI-7M will take up to a 280mm radiator. The mounts are on sliding rails and the idea is appreciated, however they only move about 5mm in either direction, and would appear almost pointless… Actually the sliding system allow use of less standard radiators, that don’t adopt the common 15mm of spacing between each fan. They also allow you to create more space in the front or back of the case and avoid any potential clashes between other radiators or fans.
If you want a radiator in the roof, you’ll have to remove the optical bay. An easy task, simply remove 6 screws
Despite my reservations about the actual location, the storage system is adequate and will take a maximum of 4 drives, mechanic or SSD’s
Or 5 if you place either a mech or ssd in the optical bay. For 3.5″ mechanical drives, Anidees have used stretch, drop and lock system and for the SSD (2.5), four screws are required to bolt them down.
I’ve reviewed a few Mini -ITX and micro ATX cases lately , Truth be told, most of them with the exception of one or two, have mostly fallen short of our expectations, was the Anidees A17-M any different? We’ll we’ve already seen a few bumps in the road and once I began to build inside, If found a few more.
With an AIO in the roof, we could not install our test GPU. It does have a water block on there, but that does not add to the product height. The problems continue with our GPU when we added the power connectors, rendering one of the fan mounts not useable. Perhaps the thick cables are to blame, and the actual placement of the 6 pin connectors.
Cable management of the reset, power and such is difficult but in Anidees defence, I can think of anything else they could have changed to improve it. It’ll depend on your motherboard to be honest, some have common layouts with connectors neatly lined up and others don’t. The cables from the I/O don’t have anywhere to hide and you can’t route them through the grommets because the wires are too short.
Everything else was great, lots of room for spare PSU cables and the internal fans controller allow you to manage a fair amount of fans too.
From the side that matters the most, the build actually looks very neat and tidy.
The original A17 was a decent product, but had one or two small issues. What Anidees has tweaked and improved on the newer AI-7M makes a great deal of sense. Adding a horizontal motherboard tray allows more efficient air flow, however I don’t know if it’s enough… What does the new M version really offer that the original did not? The M version is now Mini and Micro ATX compliant only, the original supported ATX and this cuts the target audience down a significant amount. We’ve look at looked at several mini and micro ATX cases in the last few months, and honestly the AI-7M is placed in very competitive portion of the market.
Priced roughly at £55-£65 does it really have enough to outshine the rest? On paper it does, and for the most part yes it does excel. Especially if we look at the cooling options. In the front we could squeeze in dual 240mm radiators, another 240mm (280mm max) in the roof and if you really wanted too…another set of 140mm radiators in the rear. Significantly more than the average case! I must give credit to Anidees for this achievement but as I showed, it wasn’t perfect. The case has silly and frustrating little issues that hinder these cooling options in some circumstances. You could argue that the top is a let-down, perhaps but you have room in the front 2x 240mm radiators!
Going forward there are many areas that excel but we must tackle the single largest flaw in the AI-7M, that is the hard drive cage in the floor. After working with a nearly identical product just a few backs, that offered more flexibility. I’m disappointed with the self-imposed restraints here on Anidees AI-7M. I understand the dual purpose cage, it’s not only to house hard drives but also is the main support for the tray. The distance between it and the front isn’t that bad and actually. I’d rather have a tray that needs to come out so I can install a radiator, rather than a wider case
Onwards to the more positive the exterior of the case is sleek and minimal. It will be at home under a desk, housing a mini power house or perhaps even next to your TV as media box. Internally the amount of cooling configurations are fantastic but some issues exist so planning is key. The bundled fan controller is appreciated as are the free fans. A visually sleek product, with intentions of breathing fresh life into a previously flawed model. While Anidees have increased the potential, they’ve actually added new issues into this case. Such as the limit on GPU height and clashes with AIO coolers, clearance issues with cabling in the roof. On paper it ought to have been better but it’s been executed to an average standard. We hope Anidees continue to innovate and offer more micro and mini solutions in the future.
It was a close call but I can’t ignore the mass amount of cooling options on the Anidees AI-7M and for that reason alone, it just nudged into silver territory. You’ll struggle to find a stylish looking case at this price that can take dual 240mm rads in the front, 280mm in the top and dual 140mm in the rear!
We would like to thank anidees and OverclockersUK for providing the sample, we look forward to seeing more from them, in the near future