Lancool is a child company of Lian Li, popular for their aluminum builds, out of Taiwan devoted to improving the experience of the LAN gamer, whether it be through convenience, style, or performance. Being a review site with such focus on LAN parties as we are, naturally we we're excited to check out what it was that set these mid-towers apart, and see if it held up to our own expectations. Lancool has sent us one of their latest models, the K56, for just that opportunity.
A thanks to http://www.hampton-technologies.com/ for shipping this case out to us
Product Name: PC-K56
Review Sample Provided by: Lancool
Review and Pictures by: Adam
The K56's box is misleading to whats inside; a plain cardboard background with a few ink logos and images of the product falls short of the more demanding visuals we've seen on other cases. Packaging, however, is perhaps the smallest fraction of the equation, so I quickly opened the box to see what was inside. The chassis is protected by two foam placeholders on either side, about three inches larger in each dimension of the case. This creates a snug suspension of the tower to ensure that any sort of damage is absorbed by the foam and isn't transfered to the sides of the chassis. The K56 is then wrapped in plastic all around for further protection and to keep particles out. A reference sheet is included, and you'll find all the included accessories in a box resting in the 5.25" drive bay.
Out of factory, the K56 will come with two 120mm fans installed in the front and the rear. While these can obviously be swapped out for other fans of your choice (and Lancool has several alternative accessories available for purchase), these two fan options are your only fan options. Both running at 1500RPM, the designed airflow is to intake from the front and push out the rear. Though water cooling is available, I can't get over the disappoint from the lack of additional fan options, especially from a company with 'cool' in it's name.
The main cable management bar installs directly in front of the power supply in order to catch all those tails before they become a mess. The bar is made from plastic, and has three anchors with a cyndrical shape, allowing them to be pushed into the install holes easily, but require compression from beneath the case for removal. These work simply by intertwining excess cord between the bays, preventing free slack and clutter. Two smaller bars are also included to suit your cable managing needs.
The power supply bay features two rubber-padded rise bars for the PSU to rest on, and a vent cut underneath to support any mounting method. The unit is then secured using screws as usual, but as mention above a mounting clip is included. This works by cliping into a lip underneath the motherboard tray and secures to a second in the outer resting bar. When the latch is then flipped, pressure is put on the top of the unit to help with support. Though screws are more than enough to keep a power supply secure, the mounting clip features a rubber pad on top to help reduce vibrations (and, of course, prevents scratches).
The K56 supports up to four 3.5" drives, and the bay is functionality is quite interesting. Lancool has gone for a more tool-less design, and installation of hard drives is a great example. A collection of thumbscrews are provided, four to be used in each drive in the corner mounting holes. A rubber ring washer is inserted between the screw and the drive, which is the part that will be sliding into the drive bay's rails. Since the frame is made from steel, this is an important anti-vibration addition. These screws can be tightened by hand, but a Philips screwdriver can be used for a little extra peace of mind. Once installed, as mentioned the drive will simply slide into one of the bays. The bays are then secured using a steel arm that locks using a thumbscrew, sliding up to open the bays for insertion and sliding down to cover and prevent them from sliding out.
The optical drive bay also features a tool-less design, using palstic arms (also equiped with vibration reducing rubber padding) that swing out to allow visual line up for mounting, and snap in to secure. Additional screws holes are provided underneath if needed. The remaining three 5.25" expansion bays require good ol' Philips and screw mounting. The front of the K56 snaps of easily by pulling out on the top. Unused expansion bays are kept by air intake vents that simply pop out when needed.
The K56 is designed for ATX and M-ATX motherboards, and supports up to eight PCI expansions slots. The front I/O panel includes two USB 2.0 ports and HD & AC97 audio as well. With included motherboard risers and cables, you should have no problems here.
With a company name such as Lancool, a consumer is lead to expect two things: one, that the product will be, in some way, conventient for those who attend LAN parties often. Two, that the product will be somehow above average when it comes to thermal solutions. Lancool efforts in making the K56 LAN-friendly are apparent: tool-less design and ease of access (with a fine balance of security as well) appeal to users who often swap and change hardware. Being a mid-tower crafted of steel with no fragile art or features, transportation shoudn't be difficult either.
However, as mentioned above, I feel like the K56 falls short in the cooling realm. Many gaming enthusiast mid-towers come equipped with four or more fan options, ranging from 90mm to 140mm in addition to water cooling availability. With only two 120mm fans, not only are your cooling styles limited, but you may find them lack in efficiency, especially in a case designed to support heftier hardware, such as 3-way SLI graphic cards.
The Lancool K56 does a great job rising to the demands of LAN gamers, and has many features that will appeal to any user. With a tool-less design, easy entry, and friendly composition, its perfect for transporting to and from. With an average price point of $69.99, its a very reasonable entry case as well. However, the K56 isn't anything beyond average when it comes to cooling, an expectation not only set by the company's name but the nature of the intended use: extensive gaming sessions.