CaseBuy AI-02 series PC Case Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone
Edited By: Steve M. Silver

 

There are a few select cases on the market today that are directed towards quiet computing. In fact there are some cases today that have support for 120mm fans in the front and rear of the case; these fans significantly reduce the ambient noise the computer makes as a whole and CaseBuy is a relatively new company that has recently introduced a new PC case that features support for 120mm fans and looks really cool to boot. Read on to see the new AI-02 series from CaseBuy.

Note: This review of the CaseBuy AI-02-SB-AD-SQ is of a pre-production model.

CaseBuy is a Taiwanese company that specializes in PC cases and power supplies.

Specifications and Features

  • Model: AI-02-SB-AD-SQ <---- This is a sub-model number.
  • Front USB2.0, AUDIO
  • Square side window
  • Mesh top cover
  • Supports 120mm - Front and rear
  • Total Case Dimensions: 450mm D x 200mm W x 430mm H
  • Drive Bays: 5.25”x4 / 3.5”x2 / HDDx4
  • Supported mainboard form factors: Full size ATX, Micro ATX
  • Material: SGCC – 0.6mm thick
  • Net/Gross Weight: 6.30kgs / 7.30kgs

The CaseBuy AI arrived to our place rather quickly via UPS.  UPS likes to get its boxes dirty so this was no different. We noticed a dent on one side of the box but everything looked fine when the package was opened.

The box the CaseBuy AI comes packaged in states that it comes with a power supply, but none was found. Mind you this case is the first of this model to come off the assembly line, just in time for its first ever review. We contacted CaseBuy and they have confirmed that this case will not be coming with an included power supply. I think this could be viewed as a postive so customers can have a choice of selecting their own power supplyt from a reputable company.

At first glance, this case looks pretty amazing. It has all the right styles, curves, and little details that go a long way. You really notice the mesh-type exterior resembling a Mac G5 tower. This allows cool air to flow through the case from almost every direction, though primarily in from the front. Hot air is expelled through the top.

Looking at the side profile, a standard square Plexiglas window is present and sits flush behind the front panel so its structural integrity remains strong. A 80mm LED fan and fan duct sits on the top left hand corner of the Plexiglas and gives the case a little bit more airflow directly hitting the CPU area. I would have liked an embedded side panel handle because at times the panel was a little bit hard to remove and if you have slippery fingers, you will have a hard time getting any grip.

The rear of the case presents what is standard to all ATX cases, including an I/O bracket, and 7 expansion bays for various cards. This CaseBuy also supports a 120mm fan in the rear and that is included as well. However, this rear grill is a really bad design. It is restrictive, introduces noise, and does not let the fan run at its full potential. I replaced this grill with a much better approach.

I cut this blowhole for the rear 120mm fan.  Much more effective than the one from the factory.

The easy access USB and audio ports are located on the side opposite from the side panel window. CaseBuy accidentally forgot to install this on this review sample. However, this piece was sent quickly and was easy to install.

The aluminum case is not heavy but seems quite strong.

Opening up the side panel, you will find room for all your internal components. The internals don’t have any tool-less amenities but the case layout is very similar to that of a Maxtop case I reviewed some time ago. It is not a hassle to work with as there is plenty of space for maneuvering. There is no removable motherboard tray present.

Most of the internal edges are factory sanded and smooth. However, in both the power supply mount and drive bay areas there are still a few spots which are a little sharp and could pose an issue. As this is a pre-production model, I hope these will not be present when production begins.

You have all the screws and standoffs included needed to completely build a system. Approximately six golden standoffs are pre-mounted

The front USB and audio connectors are nicely apart of a single cable. Even the audio connector is made into single cable; however check to see if the pin-outs match your front audio connection on the motherboard.

The front bay covers were really hard to remove. One has to apply lots of pressure to remove a single drive bay cover. I think this has to do with the way the mesh is on the bay cover; it is stamped but the actual surrounding plastic is so hard that the clips don’t bend.

The fans

The three included fans with the CaseBuy AI all have blue LEDs. They are two 120mm fans (F+R) and an 80mm (side) fan. These are some of the better fans I have come across having little to no fan play present. They also glide effortlessly and spin for quite a while when powered down, suggesting excellent bearings and balance. The wires are flatly loomed and come in a silver accent. The only thing I would have done with these fans would be to heat shrink or wrap the connections for the LED. These fans run off a 4-pin MOLEX connector.

Conclusion

After you install your stuff into this case and get it up and running, you will have a visual treat. This case really looks cool at night with the blue LED’s lighting up brightly.

I modded the front bezel for more air - I opened it so the 120mm fan could draw more cool air

Yes the beige drive doesn't look good...

Still has quite a good amount of room to work around

I enjoyed working with this case. It looks good and does everything quite well. The only things that were a con were some initial quality issues. Mind you this is the first ever unit coming straight from the factory so hopefully issues like sharp edges and the difficult front bay covers will be resolved.

Lastly the biggest unknown factor at this point would be the case’s price point – none has been announced.

Who is going to want this case? Well I think the best answer would for those wanting a case that looks cool but doesn’t have to hurt them on cost. Hardcore enthusiasts would go for something of a Thermaltake or a costlier Lian-Li that has more flair and more amenities.

More Images

Pros and Cons

  • + Looks really nice
  • + Exterior fit and finish
  • + Three quality fans included
  • + Front USB and audio connectors are all bundled
  • - Doesn’t have any interior amenities
  • - Questionable initial build quality (little things like sharp edges, front bay cover hard to remove)
  • - No handle on the side panel
  • - No removable motherboard tray
  • - Unknown price point at this time

I would like to thank CaseBuy for making this review possible.

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