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The small LC-11 isn't as easy to work with as a more typical mid
tower case. Ease of assembly
is somewhat sacrificed for low profile and stacking ability.
Its proprietary airflow design means care must be given
to the arrangement of the hardware in the media equipment case. You really don't want it directly over a big hot AV amplifier.
Starting with a Pentium
M processor that draws only ~21W greatly reduces any potential thermal
problems, but some thought also had to go into
the choice of the rest of the hardware as well. A 2.5" notebook drive was
chosen for low thermal and sonic output, along with a low-powered passive
videocard. I had initially planned to use the
passively cooled ATi-Sapphire 9600 Ultimate, but the design and positioning
of the AGP riser card was not compatible. The
riser card positions the AGP card only about 1/4" from the bottom
edge of the case and the passive heatsink of the 9600 Ultimate protrudes
almost 1/2" above the PCB. A passively cooled
ATi-9250 video card was pressed into service. There are two open PCI slots included on the Silverstone riser
so there shouldn't be any issues with a TV-tuner and/or PCI sound card. A fairly
quiet (and great performing) Plextor PX-716 DVD-RW drive was also used.
The assembly was reasonably straightforward, but a little extra planning was needed. I used a modified Zalman 7000AlCu
heatsink, which just barely overhangs the top edge of the motherboard. A few fins rubbed up against the side case fan; I ended up removing the board and bending the fins to clear the case fan.
As noted above, the HDD cage was used with a 2.5" notebook
drive suspended within it. The design of the
cage would require a 3.5" drive to be hard-mounted to the steel cage
and allow drive vibration to be transferred into the case.
The drive cage snaps and screws into place. It is a pretty tight fit once the
motherboard is installed, especially if any cables are already attached to the
Installing the optical drive was a bit of fun due to the
location of the screw mounts. No magnetic tip screwdriver in my toolbox, but a set of tweezers
saved the day. The optical drive itself mounted up precisely
in the correct place for the stealth drive cover and button. This drive bay door is constructed of aluminum,
like the rest of the front bezel, and it is equipped with very sexy damped
The PSU comes pre-mounted into the case, and has plenty of connectors
to accommodate the limited amount of hardware that will fit into the case. One
warning: The voltage selector on my US review sample was set to
"230V". Fortunately I noticed this
and set it to the "110V" setting before I ruined anything.
The AGP/PCI riser card mounts very firmly to the case
and motherboard, thanks to its sturdy design. However,
as already noted above, the riser card positions the AGP card very close
to the bottom cover of the case, which will preclude the use of many oversize cards.
Front view of assembled system. Remember that you're actually looking at the underside
of the case in this view
The LC-11 comes with a plethora of wiring for all the front I/O devices. There
are a pair of USB 2.0 connectors for four ports total, a Firewire connector,
audio I/O connectors and a complete set of front panel switch and light connectors.
All worked quite well, with the added bonus that the USB and Firewire connector
blocks happened to be configured perfectly correctly to plug right into the
headers on my motherboard. This is a nice treat, as often these connectors
are wired in a non-standard fashion.
Rear of assembled system. Note AGP card on riser .
AGP card on riser. Due to its location, there's
no room on the back of the card for any passive heat sink.
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