Lancool is a name I'm sure not many of you have heard of. Lancool is a division of Lian-Li and they make cases that are more budget-minded than Lian-Li's typical high-class mostly-aluminum offerings. They offer a wide variety of cases that are feature-rich and priced well. Today we'll be looking at their latest offering from their First Knight series, the PC-K65 mini-tower case. Read on...
|Case Type||Mini Tower Chassis|
|Dimensions||(W) 210mm x (H) 472mm x (D) 505mm|
|Front Bezel Material||Aluminum|
|Side Panel||SECC Steel|
|Body Material||SECC Steel|
|5.25" Drive Bay (External)||3|
|3.5" Drive Bay (External)||None|
|HDD Bay||3.5-Inch HDD x6 / 2.5-Inch HDD x4|
|System Fan (Front)||140mm Fan x2|
|System Fan (Top)||None|
|System Fan (Rear)||120mm Fan x1|
|I/O Ports||USB 3.0 x 1 / USB 2.0 x 1 / HD Audio|
|Maximum Compatibility||VGA Card length:: 415mm|
|PSU length: 285mm|
|CPU Cooler height: : 160mm|
|Package Dimensions||532mm(W)x 268mm(H)x 505mm(D)|
The PC-K65 comes packaged in a typical plain brown cardboard box. The box has some coloring and graphics on either side depicting the case and showing a few small details.
Each end has the model number as well as features listed in several different languages. You'll also notice the thick plastic packing straps around the box. This is something you don't typically see on computer cases. Most are simply taped shut with clear packing tape.
Once out of the box you'll see that the case is encased in the typical 2-piece Styrofoam blocks that just about all manufacturers use these days. It's also wrapped in the typical clear plastic wrapper to protect it from dust and debris during shipping.
The Lancool PC-K65 comes with a plethora of accessories and hardware. Included are 5 separate bags of hardware that consist of rubber hard drive and fan vibration dampeners, thumbscrews and screws for all your mounting needs. Also included is a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adaptor so you can use the top panel USB 3.0 port even if you don't have internal USB 3.0 ports on your motherboard. This is something all case manufacturers with USB 3.0 support should include.
Also included is a nice illustrated instruction sheet that details every aspect of the case and its features in several different languages.
A Closer Look
The Lancool PC-K65 is a very simple yet elegant design. All black exterior with lots of options for cooling fan mounting. The case is all steel save the front panel which is brushed black anodized aluminum.
The front of the case sports 3 external 5.25" bay covers, a large meshed intake for the two front intake fans and a small Lancool badge at the bottom.
The rear of the case is pretty standard. You've got a bottom-mount PSU with the option for fan-up or fan-down configurations, 2 grommeted holes for water cooling tubing, 8 expansion slots with vented covers and an included 120mm Lian-Li exhaust fan that's rubber mounted for a nice touch. The panel to the right of the expansion slots has holes drilled in it as you can see. I makes me wonder if they had planned for something to go there.
Looking inside the case you'll notice the once-common gray coated steel interior. You'll also notice that 2 of the 3 external 5.25" bays are tool-free. The hard drive cages are removable with thumb screws for customization, but we'll get to that in a bit. Each of the included fans comes terminated with a 3-pin connector but also comes with a 3-pin to 4-pin Molex converter which is always nice to have. Another nice touch is the fact that all the standoffs for standard ATX motherboards are already pre-installed in the case.
The top of the case sports a flap that covers a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port as well as your MIC and headset jacks. To the right are your reset smaller) and power(larger) buttons.
In the top right hand corner of the front panel are the HDD activity and power LEDs.
The PSU is supported by a pair of rubber-clad rails for vibration absorption. The intake vents for the PSU are unique in the fact that they are not the typical honeycomb mesh just about everyone else uses. Instead they're louvers that channel the air towards the front of the case slightly before allowing it to enter the PSU. There is also a removable mesh filter under the chassis for the PSU. Sadly though the case needs to be turned on its side to remove the filter for cleaning.
As mentioned earlier, the hard drive cages are customizable to your needs or setup. A few simple thumb screws are all it takes to remove one or both of them. For instance, all you need to remove are 4 thumb screws and the top case comes right out. Each cage will holy 3 3.5" and 2 2.5" drives. The 2.5" drives mount at the top and bottom of each cage while the 3.5" drives mount into each slot, but more on that later on.
This will allow you to install larger graphics cards without interference issues. Remove 3 more thumb screws and the lower cage slides right out as well.
This gives a good view of the included pair of 140mm Lian-Li intake fans. Although both cages are removable, you cannot use the top cage without the bottom one. Your choices are both, bottom or none.
The tool-free mechanisms for the 5.25" drive bays are simple and work great. Simply pull the tab rearward and they swing out on the rear hinge. Slide your device in and snap it back into place.
The front panel pops off with a slight tug, exposing the pair of 140mm intake fans. These also have filters on them which are removable for cleaning. Simply pull the two tabs on each filter and it swings to the right and comes out of the case.
Here you'll notice that both front intake fans are also rubber mounted for vibration absorption.
Looking at the rear of the case you'll notice that it's pretty well open. Absent are the grommeted cable routing holes that you typically see. Instead there is a long vertical slot between the motherboard tray and the drive bays as well as a large opening in the PSU area. There are a pair of small oval holes in the base of the motherboard tray for cable routing. The one main feature here is the black plastic cable rack. Also shown is the rather large CPU back plate cutout to make cooler installation a breeze. One more thing to take note of is the top panel. It's straight and smooth with no vents or fan mounts cut into it. It's just begging to be cut up to install a radiator....
The cable management system in the PC-K65 is simple yet very effective. Simply run your wires inside it and run them out of it through one of the many rounded holes. Snap the covers back into place and it's all done.
The side panel has some very interesting features. It comes with a plastic block-off plate installed. You can remove this plate and install either 120mm or 140mm fans in a multitude of configurations. The plastic plate is also trim-able so if you mount a top, bottom or center-only fan you can reinstall parts of the plate to cover the rest of the opening. Click on any picture above for a larger version.
This part of the instruction sheet shows exactly how it all is assembled.
Installing hard drives into the cage is a simple process. Use the included rubber washers and screws to install into the drive as shown.
Once all 4 are installed you'll be ready to install your drive.
Simply slide the channeled rubber mounts into the appropriate locations in the cage.
Slide the locking bar closed and tighten the thumbscrew. Once your drive(s) is(are) installed pop the cage into the case and you're ready to go.
One of the best features about this case is the fact that the top panel is removable. This is immensely helpful for installing your CPU cooler and 8-pin CPU power connector. Once you pull the front panel off there's a pair of black Phillips head screws on the front and back. Remove these and the top panel comes right off.
System installation was very straightforward and simple. Even without a ton of grommeted cable management holes it's easy to get a clean setup.
The rear shows the helpfulness of the cable management channel. I was easily able to fit all the SATA power and data cables, front panel cable and front fan cables into it. The cable tie mounts on the rear of the motherboard tray come in handy to secure the 24-pin connector cable and also the 8-pin CPU power cable.
This shot shows the size of the CPU cooler cutout. This particular cooler doesn't use a solid back plate, but most setups should not have any issues. CPU socket placement also varies slightly between board manufacturers and models. This board has the CPU socket higher than usual.
Lancool has a winner with the PC-K65. While it's not as flashy as most cases on the market today it's very simple and elegant - just the way Lian Li typically builds their cases. The aluminum front panel is a nice touch as are all the included fans being rubber-mounted. The interior flash is spared though and the fact that this case does not have a side panel window makes that a moot point really. The simplicity is what makes this case so great. The cable management features are not what you typically see but work very well as they are. The Lancool PC-K65 is available for around $90 at the time of this writing. Sure there are a few less expensive cases available with a few more features, but let's face it - most lack the simple elegance that only Lian Li can provide.
We don't hesitate one bit giving the Lancool PC-K65 mini-tower case our gold rating. It's an affordable, sleek case with lots of room for whatever you want to throw into it.
This product was provided free of charge by its manufacturer for purpose of review.