by Greg King on November 1, 2007 in Mid-Tower
SilverStone has been producing amazing cases for a while, but for some, their best offerings are pricey. That’s where the Kublai series comes into play. Built on the essence of the higher-end models, they attempt to pack quite a punch with their Kublai, all at an affordable price. Have they succeeded?
With most cases, there isnâ€™t anything special to the installation of hardware into itâ€¦ if it fits, it fits. With the KL01, this is the case as wellâ€¦pun somewhat intended.
Our first order of business was to install our hard drive into the drive rails. For this review, we are using our tried and true Seagate ES 750 GB hard drive. All that is needed to install the rails is to slide the drive in between the two sides and bolt it down with four of the provided screws. From there, its simply sliding it into the drive cage.
To secure the drive into the cage, the front locking arm must be extended out and the drive then needs to be pushed into the cage. When the drive is in, simply rotate the arm closed until it latches. This locks the drive in place. With that done, we can replace the front fan and get inside.
With the drives in place, and the motherboard installed, we quickly noticed a rather significant problem. Any user with a motherboard that has rotated SATA ports at the bottom of the board will find that the drive cage effectively blocks access to most of the SATA ports and the ones it does not completely render useless; it makes it difficult to get to.
For anyone with a board that has the standard SATA ports that stick up perpendicular to the motherboard, this will not be a problem but in our case, the abit IP35-Pro would not work with the exception of the two ports in the upper back corner.
We also found that the USB, Firewire and audio cables for the front I/O panel were unusable with this motherboard. With a graphics card installed, the three cables would not reach their respective board pins, making the front ports virtually powerless.
We should also mention that we did try to move the hard drive cage up in the case to see if we could get around the SATA port problem. Sadly we could not. If we moved it up, the drives interfered with the 24 pin power connector and if we moved it up to the top, the case suddenly became uncomfortably top heavy with both the cage and the power supply at the top. We finally decided to place the cage at the bottom, cut our losses and proceed with the testing.
With everything installed, there really isnâ€™t a lot of room to hide the wiring in the KL01 as its mid tower stature just isnâ€™t large enough to throw the cables out of the way. Cases of this size beg for modular power supplies and rightfully so. We ran into the same problem that we did with the Zalman GT1000 case but in itâ€™s case, the window stopped at the drive bays, allowing us a bit more room to hide the cables from sight.
Powered no, the case looks absolutely fabulous. The front blue power light looks great and is evenly lit, giving the front a very classy look to it. The all black design accents the blue quite well and itâ€™s here that it case looks more like other SilverStone cases as this editor has never seen one that doesnâ€™t at least look good.
On to testing and my final thoughts.