LanCool PC-K9 Review (Page 2 of 4)
Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside
When it comes to external design, it doesn't get much better than what Lian Li has to provide. The LanCool PC-K9 takes on the minimalist design seen on the majority of their cases, and executes it superbly. Of course, it doesn't look like a mini fridge like Fractal Design cases, but it also doesn't take the extremely clean front bezel design from the Lian Li PC-Z60. In fact, I would say it comes somewhere in the middle of a pure minimalist case, and a gaming enthusiast case, which is what LanCool was hoping to achieve in the first place. To strike this balance, LanCool has kept the shape of the case to a simple rectangular box with rounded edges. In terms of material composition, the LanCool PC-K9 features a pure aluminum exterior look, because, well, it is aluminum. The front bezel, as well as both side panels, is fully made of aluminum. The frame of the chassis, however, is not made out of aluminum, and instead it is steel, electrogalvanized, cold-rolled, coil (SECC). Of course the main reason why Lian Li decided to do this was to allow the case to be more affordable. However, since the exterior sides and front feature a fully aluminum design, the case still has the more exclusive aluminum appearance.
Looking to the left side is a side panel that does not feature any circular or hexagonal stamped mesh for fan mounts. Nowadays, many manufacturers design cases that include additional cooling options directed towards their GPU setup. I, however, do not agree with this design implementation, since the additional cooling option can tend to disrupt the push-pull air cooling setup from the front of the case to the back. The worst part is it introduces extra dust, contributing to increased maintenance requirements. Also, the simplicity of the side panel offers a sleeker design, one that minimalists will appreciate.
The case measures in at 210mm in width, 472mm in height, and 505mm length, which is considered average among mid-tower chassis. The net weight of the case is around 8.28 kg, which is considered to be quite light for a chassis with a steel frame.
The front bezel, as mentioned before, is an aluminum bezel. The LanCool PC-K9 features three 5.25" optical drive bays. The aluminum drive covers sit flush with the rest of the front bezel. To take the drive covers out, the front bezel has to first be removed. To the right of the first optical drive space on the front bezel is the power and HDD activity light. I like seeing the power and HDD activity LED lights in this position rather than on the top part of the case. Since the LanCool PC-K9 is relatively small in size for a mid-tower, many users would find themselves placing their system on top of their desk rather than on the floor. Next, a large high air-flow circular stamped mesh is found on the bottom half of the front bezel to support two 120mm intake fans. The case also features air filters at every intake. The air filter addons to the two front 120mm fans can only be removed when the front bezel is detached if one decides to clean them. The last thing seen on the front bezel is the LanCool logo at the very bottom center of the aluminum bezel.
One thing that I pay particular attention to when reviewing a case are the front panel I/O connectors. Lian Li keeps simplicity in mind in this area, as the front panel connectors is only a small host of connections. Using the above photo as a reference, the area includes two USB 3.0 ports on the very left, one 3.5mm headphone, and one 3.5mm microphone jack. To the right of the input/output panel connections area is a recessed reset button, followed by larger power button. One prominent feature seen in the above photo is the entire connections area can be hidden by an aluminum flap. When not using the USB ports or audio connections, the user has the option to hide these ports, preventing dust from entering, and to also keep a cleaner top profile on the case. What I would like to see implemented in the near future from LanCool is a front panel connections area either on the front bezel, or placed diagonally between the front and top panels of the case as seen in the Lian Li PC-Z60. The reason is because such a small mid tower chassis would allow most users to place their system on top of their desk, making the process of plugging in components much more convenient.
Like most cases, the LanCool PC-K9 features bottom mounted power supply bay. To the right of this power supply bay is a small vented area to allow extra air movement. Above the power supply bay are eight expansion card slots -- each slot contains ventilation openings. The standard 120mm exhaust is found at the top with circular stamped mesh holes. Seen right below are two pre-drilled and pre-fitted water cooling openings. Since the case features internal USB 3.0 headers, the user will not need to use these water cooling holes for routing USB 3.0 cables; more on this later. To the left of the back exhaust mesh is the I/O shield space. Lastly, what the case features are thumbscrews with rubber washers, which dampen vibrations, and protects the anodized coating. If the user were to bring their system to a LAN party, the LanCool PC-K9 has a lock system that secures the front side panel. If you would just take a quick look at our photo above, you can see it is located just under the top thumbscrew on the right side panel. Keep in mind that the user will need to provide their own third party lock in order to make use of this system.
Looking to the left of the back side on the picture above is the back side panel. As stated before, the side panel is fully aluminum, and features absolutely no fan grilles or mesh. This, in my opinion, is perfect, since the motherboard backplate needs no cooling; not to mention the sleek side panel is much more stylish than a circular or hexagonal stamped fan mesh.
The last photo included in this section focuses on the bottom part of the LanCool PC-K9. Like most cases, the bottom has four rubber mounted feet that are used to dampen the vibrations of the case, while protecting the surface the case sits on. The PC-K9 takes on a less expensive feet design, in contrast to other Lian Li cases that feature stainless steel rimmed feet. A downfall to this design is the case does not look as stylish. However, a benefit is the manufacturer is able to cut down on production costs, which results in a less expensive price tag to the end user. Lastly, the bottom of the case features an air filtered and ventilated section for the bottom mounted power supply bay. In order to remove the air filter, the user will only need to slide it out.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion