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Today we’re looking at the Lancool First Knight PC-K63. Lancool is the steel series of cases produced by Lian Li. On paper it looks to be an air cooled dream, as it boasts two 140mm LED front fans, two 140mm top-mounted fans and a 120mm LED rear-mounted fan. One of the major features of this case is the fact that it is considered completely tool-less. All mounting can be performed WITHOUT using a screw driver. Tool-free 5.25 mounting, HDD mounting, PSU mounting and PCI-e mounting, as well as including thumb screws for the motherboard mounting. It sounds promising to me, lets hope the reality is such. The one aspect that I was really intrigued to see was the inclusion of the Lian Li PCI-01 tool-free PCI-e mounting kit. For someone who swaps video cards in and out quite often, this thing has quite the potential. I would love to incorporate one into my benching station…that’s for another time though.
Specifications, Features and Photo Tour
OK let’s open this baby up and have a look at her. Not having looked at the case before receiving it for review, I was wonderfully surprised to discover that the inside is pre-painted black. It provides a nice custom-built look that many enthusiast PC builders are looking for these days. Upon closer inspection I couldn’t find a single flaw in the interior finish, high-quality stuff. Exterior:
The first thing that I noticed is that they really mean this case will only fit ATX or smaller form factor. When trying to install the latest enthusiast board the Asus Rampage IV Extreme you’re met with a slight problem, it doesn’t fit. Evidently I didn’t pay attention when Lian Li clearly labeled the box compatible with ATX form factor, oh well it wouldn’t be the first time. The only thing keeping it from fitting though is the placement of the vertical member that houses the wire molding. If it were to move towards the front of the case, even just ¼”, it would drop into place (maybe a consideration for the next revision). So instead a Gigabyte H55M-USB3 is dropped into place; I know that will fit.
The addition of the motherboard thumbscrews is a nice idea, yet in practical application, not so much. If you’re even slightly “large” fingered, you’ll feel like a contortionist/mechanic trying to use them. And in reality once you get them in, you’ll need to torque them down with a screw driver anyway to prevent them from working loose and potentially falling out and shorting something out. If you do attempt to use them the one thing that should be noted, however, is that you cannot use the thumbscrews in the two screw holes that surround the first PCI-e slot. The PCB of the GPU will make contact with them and not allow it to seat into the slot fully, be forewarned.
Once the right screws are in place, everything else is a dream. The PCI-e tool-less holder is everything that I hoped it would be; amazing, it’s very secure and quick. PSU mounting is straight forward and simple. If you chose not to use the tool-less mount you can use the traditional screw mounts in the back. One thing that I noticed, only after the photo shoot, is that the PSU tool-less mount appears to be slightly too tight as it’s bowing the casing of the PSU ever so slightly. This is definitely not enough to have any adverse effects, but worth noting none-the-less.
Cable management is a dream with the provided wire molding running up the center of the case. The molding has pre-cut exit holes for easy cable exit at the required location. The 5.25 drives drop in with one snap.
The only time you would absolutely be required to get out the screw driver, is to mount the rubber mount grommets to your hard drives. You get two types of grommets for use depending on the size of HDD/SSD you’re trying to mount. Once mounted up they slide effortlessly into place.
Adjustable HDD racks is something that is very welcome. I like the latitudinal mounting style yet something that I’ve always struggled with are cases that do not pay mind to the proximity of the exterior of the case, and inadvertently put too much pressure on the very crucial connections to your hard drives. I have had connections break and hard drives fail this way. The flexibility of these racks allows for cable routing on the left or right side and plenty of room to spare, big thumbs up to that. Also worth noting is the addition of slide locks on the HD cages. Just slide your drives in and lock them into place, with a single thumb screw. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Rubber mounted fans and HDD’s is an excellent way to reduce vibration noise, and it is very effective. You can hear nothing more than a low hum from the very large intake and exhaust fans. I heard no unwanted vibration what-so-ever. The LED lights add all the bling that any modern PC Gamer craves. Once the build is complete. Fire it up and turn out the lights.
The massive air flow this case provides will keep any setup in optimal air conditions (along with easy access front filters). The tool-less mounting of virtually everything and the built-in wire management are a good recipe for keeping your components safe from the dreaded screwdriver death and keeping the air flow path clear for a nice long life. Adjustable hard drive mounting is a top notch addition. Aside from the few slight snafus with the thumbscrews for the motherboard, this case was virtually perfect. It easily earns the Overclockers.com seal of Approval.
- Tool-less everything
- Black interior
- Locking drive cages (novelty yet cool)
- Great air cooling potential (WC ready)
- Adjustable HD cages
- Easy filter cleaning
- Tool-less holder PSU slightly too tight
- Motherboard thumbscrews will not work around GPU
- Just shy of EATX form factor. If there is one thing I would change in the construction of this case, I would allow EATX. Move the wire molding rail towards the front of the case to incorporate larger enthusiast motherboards. It will fit an HD7970 easily, yet it will not fit the latest and greatest motherboards. There is plenty of room to slide it forward to expand the market for this case. Just do it Lian Li!
Editor’s Note: For those interested, this product is available for $99.99 at Newegg.