LanCool PC-K9 Case Review

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Today we will take a look at the new LanCool PC-K9 mid tower case. LanCool, a subsidiary of Lian Li, is fairly new to the industry, but they already offer 17 different cases! Moments after unpacking the case, I knew LanCool had created a solid contender.  Having never owned a Lian Li or LanCool case I felt I was in for a treat based on their great reputation.

Features and Specifications

Specifications Courtesy of LanCool

Specifications Courtesy of LanCool

  • High Thermal Performance – Two 140 mm fans (front) and one 120 mm fan (Rear) keep hot air from damaging your hardware.
  • Supports up to six 3.5-inch HDDs and four 2.5-inch HDDs – HDD cage, using thumb screws with rubber suspension, supports six 3.5-inch HDDs and four 2.5-inch HDDs.
  • Adjustable HDD Rack – Users can choose for their HDDs to face forward or backward.
  • USB 3.0 Multimedia I/O Ports – Users can easily access USB 3.0 and HD Audio ports.
  • Tool-less PCI Card Holder – Holds up to seven PCI add-on cards. To install simply lock the arm into position.
  • Tool-less Optical Drive Mounting – Supports standard 5.25” optical drives.
  • Tool-less PSU holder – Insert the PSU into position, then close the aluminum PSU holder.
  • Maximum Video Card Size – 415 mm
  • Cable Clamp – Cable-Management Kit for cables to pass through, allow uesr convenient manage the cables.

Packaging and Accessories

The case was packaged well in a thick cardboard box.  Inside the box there is Styrofoam at the top and bottom of the case to restrict movement in the box and the case itself is wrapped in thick plastic.

LanCool Box

LanCool Box

LanCool Case Model

LanCool Case Model

More Packaging

More Packaging

Nearly Revealed

Nearly Revealed

Inside the case there is a small white box with all of the case accessories.  This box contains a tool-less PSU mounting bracket, PSU thumbscrews, hard drive thumbscrews, screws for 2.5″ hard drives, motherboard thumbscrews, POST speaker, zip ties, and a 20-pin USB3.0 to USB2.0 adapter for the front panel.
Accessories

Accessories

Exterior

The exterior of the PC-K9 is almost completely made up of brushed black aluminum. The brushed aluminum makes for a very sleek and elegant look. On the front panel there are three 5.25″ drive bays, a large ventilation area and a LanCool badge at the bottom.  The left side panel on this model features a large window fastened by screws, while the right side panel is solid as is the top of the case.

Case Front

Case Front

Front Panel Removed

Front Panel Removed

Left Side Panel

Left Side Panel

Right Side Panel

Right Side Panel

Top I/O Panel

Top I/O Panel

Moving to the rear of the case we notice some nice features, first of which is the 120 mm exhaust fan. Next, we notice that both side panels are secured using thumbscrews, and for added security there are provisions for a lock. Lastly, there are two rubber grommets to accommodate water cooling hoses passing through the case. The bottom of the case features rubberized feet and large louvers to ventilate the PSU. Underneath these louvers is a removable dust filter.
Case Back

Case Back

Interior

The interior of the PC-K9 is entirely steel construction, and this model is completely black inside. Inside we have three case fans, two filtered 140 mm fans behind the front panel and a single 120 mm exhaust fan. All of the fans feature rubber grommets on the mounting screws to isolate vibrations. The fans can either be connected directly to the motherboard or to the PSU via included Molex adapter.

140 mm Intake Fans

140 mm Intake Fans

120 mm Exhaust Fans

120 mm Exhaust Fans

Below the exhaust fan is the tool-less PCI locks as well as ventilated PCI brackets. There are eight PCI slots, but only seven have the tool-less locks. The locks simply flip open or closed and feature rubber pads on the ends that push against the PCI device.

PCI Lock

PCI Locks

PCI Lock Open

PCI Lock Open

Moving to the center of the case there are standoff holes for ATX, mATX and mITX motherboards. Brass standoffs are included in the case. Behind the motherboard tray we have LanCool’s “Cable Clamp” wire management system as well as holes for cable routing and socket access.  The “Cable Clamp” features 7 clamps that lock into place, keeping your cables where you want them. Made of a flexible plastic they wont pinch or chafe your wires.

Motherboard Tray

Motherboard Tray

"Cable Clamp" Wire Management

"Cable Clamp" Wire Management

Below the motherboard tray is the PSU mount, made from steel, features rubber pads for the PSU to rest on which should help with vibrations.  The PSU mount also features tool less mounting thanks to a clamp that locks the unit firmly in place. You can also use screws to fasten the PSU in place from the back of the case for extra protection.  Although I felt the locking clamp to be very secure.
PSU Mount

PSU Mount

Moving towards the front of the case are the two removable hard drive cages, which can accommodate up to eight hard drives total. Users can choose to use both cages, a single cage or none of the cages. The cages are easy to remove, being held by a few thumbscrews. Drive cooling should be excellent with this case as there are two 140mm intake fans directly in front of the drive cages.

HDD Cages

HDD Cages

HDD Cages Removed

HDD Cages Removed

Above the hard drive cages are three 5.25″ drive bays, two of which are tool-less.  These simply snap into place and use pins to keep the optical drives securely in their bays.  Although these are plastic they felt very sturdy during my review.

Tool-less Optical Drive Mounting

Tool-less Optical Drive Mounting

Component Installation

For this build we will be using the following hardware:

  • Phenom X2 545
  • Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H
  • 2x2GB G.Skill Ripjaws 1333 MHz CL9
  • 3 Western Digital HDD’s
  • ATI Dual TV Tuner
  • Wireless NIC
  • PNY GTX470 XLR8
  • Corsair VX550

Filling the PC-K9 with hardware was fairly straight forward as nearly everything is tool-less. Mounting the motherboard with thumbscrews was a first for me, but they worked quite well and the large socket cutout is a nice feature. I did notice there was no standoff position for the lower right corner of my mATX board. Hard drive installation was very simple requiring no tools at all, and since the cages are removable you can sit on the couch while installing your drives.

Motherboard Installed with Thumbscrews

Motherboard Installed with Thumbscrews

Thumbscrew Closeup

Thumbscrew Closeup

Hard Drives Installed

Hard Drives Installed

Hard Drive Mount Closeup

Hard Drive Mount Closeup

Optical drive installation took seconds thanks to more tool-less mounts. The PCI lock system in this case definitely helped speed up installing all three PCI cards. There was plenty of room for my GTX470, and I’m sure a GTX590 or HD6990 would fit if the top HDD cage was removed. Mounting the PSU was quite pleasant thanks to the PSU clamp keeping a firm hold. Cable management was fairly good with this case, although I did remove the top panel for better access. The “Cable Clamp” really helped management behind the motherboard fitting all of my SATA data and power as well as USB cables though the clamp. Finally, let’s see how this case looks with some hardware inside.

Optical Drives Installed

Optical Drives Installed

GPU Tolerance

GPU Tolerance

All Componets Installed

All Components Installed

Side Panel Installed

Side Panel Installed

Conclusion

After going over this case it’s clear LanCool has made this a great mid tower case. Offering room for ten hard drives and eight expansion slots, this case has no shortage of storage space. Cooling in this case is very good with the dual 140mm intake and single 120mm exhaust.  The fans a fairly quiet at 12v and seem to move a fair amount of air. The PCI lock system, cable clamp, and PSU clamp make component installation simple and enjoyable. The only time I had to use any tools was to remove the top panel’s Phillips screws. The PC-K9 is simple, solid, and elegant and should appeal to a wide range of customers. I could see this case being used for anything from a media server to a multi GPU gaming build.

I do have a few minor issues with the case. First, I feel the motherboard sits a bit high in the case, as routing the 8 pin CPU connector took some time. The motherboard tray also lacked one standoff for mATX boards, though ATX boards were fine in this case. Last, I would like to see a bit more room behind the motherboard tray, as fitting the back panel over the 24 pin cable took some finesse.

Overall the LanCool PC-K9 is a good case. The tool-less features and storage capability of this case really help this case stand out. Currently listed at $119.99 at Newegg for the windowed version and $109.99 without window. Personally, I feel the price is right on point given the features and quality of this case.

I’d like to thank LanCool for the opportunity to review this case.

-Ken Noel (onefstsnake)

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Discussion
  1. I got a hold of this case a while back and here is what I did with it:

    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=688275

    Great case. I am very happy with it.
    Good job onefstsnake :thup:

    The LanCool PC-K9 is a lot like the LianLi PC-Z60 I got to review, but it's A LOT better and costs half as much :shock:

    Everything I didn't like about the PC-Z60 seems to be "fixed" with the PC-K9.

    The one thing I don't like about the PC-K9 is no top vents for exhaust fans, but that could easily be modded by cutting a ~260x130mm (roughly) hole and using something like a Bitspower Mesh Radguard 240 to cover the rough edges and mount fans. It could be done with a single fan and radguard instead.

    To me, it seems like the subsidiary outdid the mother company on this one...
    GT-PC
    Nice review, 1 question, if you remove the upper hdd caddy, can it be screwed into the bottom of the case, in between the bottom hdd caddy and the PSU? There seems to be screw holes there but are they usable without modding?

    thanks


    To GT-PC-

    I havent tried that. I looked at the screw holes between the cages and PSU but couldnt figure out what they were for. This would be awesome. Allowing you to use any GPU and still retain storage for 10 drives. Ill try to mount the cages side by side when I get a chance.

    Dougshell
    does anyone know what radiator configurations will fit into this case?


    To Dougshell-

    You could fit a 140.2 or 120.2(might have to drill holes for 120mm spacing) and possibly a 120.1 at the rear. The 120.1 would have to be almost exactly 120x120mm as there isnt much room on the top or sides. And by using a 120.2/140.2 at the front you would have to remove the HDD cages. a 120.3/4 should fit on the back of the case quite nicely.
    GT-PC
    Nice review, 1 question, if you remove the upper hdd caddy, can it be screwed into the bottom of the case, in between the bottom hdd caddy and the PSU? There seems to be screw holes there but are they usable with modding?

    thanks


    sorry, that should say without modding
    Nice review, 1 question, if you remove the upper hdd caddy, can it be screwed into the bottom of the case, in between the bottom hdd caddy and the PSU? There seems to be screw holes there but are they usable without modding?

    thanks