As far as I know I'm the first one here in the General Gallery subforum who's assembled a system with this enclosure. A topic
about this enclosure was started on the Cases & Damping subforum in January 2008. The enclosure has been reviewed here
. Like many of you I considered a build with the Antec Solo or the P182. I think the Solo has a cheap, ugly front panel with silver gray plastic, the P182 is too expensive, has a door at the front panel, places the PSU at the bottom. So I thought the Lancool K7 was a great deal. This enclosure doesn't contain any cheap plastic at all, it's aluminum and steel, has a removable motherboard tray, and you can get it at the same price as the Antec Solo.
The system is accompanied by a Logitech Z-5500 speakerset, a Logitech UtraX premium keyboard, a Logitech G5 mouse and a Dell 2007WFP monitor. All the black and silver gray fits very nicely together.
Hardware is as follows:
GigaByte GA-EP43-DS3L motherboard
Kingston KVR800D2N5K2/4G (2 x 2048 MB PC-6400 DDR2 modules) memory
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 OEM processor
Arctic Silver 5 thermal grease
Thermalright HR-01 Plus processor heatsink
PowerColor Radeon HD4850 512 MB video card
Arctic Accelero S1 Rev. 2 video card heatsink
EnerMax PRO82+ 425 Watt power supply
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB hard disk drive
LG GH20NS10 DVD rewriter
Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12L 800 rpm 120 mm fans
AC Ryan eSATA kit
It's a pity I had to buy the eSATA kit, it's lame that GigaByte didn't equip their P43 motherboards with an eSATA connection at the backplate. Cheaper GigaByte motherboards for AMD processors do have eSATA. Wouldn't have been a problem if the enclosure would have had eSATA at the front, but it doesn't. I don't really like the placement of the front panel connections with the cover and the power and reset buttons on the top panel of the enclosure. In my opinion the best placement would have been at the top of the front panel without any cover, like the Antec Three Hundred. I should also mention that the power LED of the K7 is awfully bright. The system is standing in my bedroom, and if I leave my system turned on to download or upload stuff while I'm sleeping I have to cover the power LED with clothes to stop it from illuminating my room.
The Lancool K7 comes with two 120 mm fans in the front and one 120 mm fan at the back. It's good that dust filters are placed for the two 120 mm fans at the front. According to the specifications on the Lancool website they spin at a rate of 1000 rpm, but as soon as I received the enclosure I removed the two fans at the front, replaced the one on the back with a Scythe Slip Stream and placed the remaining Scythe Slip Stream on the Thermalright HR-01 heatsink. My hardware isn't extreme so I thought that I didn't need the two fans at the front. To remove the two fans at the front I had to remove the hard disk drive cage, which is secured to the bottom om the enclosure with four screws. I'm happy with the hard disk drive mounting, you have to insert four screws in the hard drive, then place rubber rings around the screw heads. Then you can slide the hard disk drive in the rail of the cage.
Here you can see the Accelero S1 rev. 2, I removed the ugly plastic from the top and bottom of the heatsink.
I'm not really a star at camouflaging the cabling, but the K7 doesn't offer much assistance to achieve that either.
The PSU cage is the single serious design flaw in this enclosure. Why they decided to give the cage a closed bottom with some holes is beyond me. I'm not happy with the Thermalright HR-01 either. I think the mounting system sucks, because of it's nature it's possible to rotate the heatsink even if it's secured tightly. Don't get me started on the fan clips, it took me quite a while to secure the fan, I think they're extremely user unfriendly. The thin anti-vibration strips which you are supposed to stick on the heatsink where the fan will make contact are useless, because the edges of the Slip Stream fan are so thin. The strips don't stick very well, I had to throw them away because they didn't work.
In retrospect, I should have bought the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, even though the consensus is that push pins suck, it can't be worse than the HR-01's mounting, and it has a better method to mount the fan than the HR-01.
A minor annoyance is the connecter for the front panel audio, which is located to the left of the northbridge heatsink. The grey cable has to reach around the heatsink to the connector there. It would have been better if the connector would located somewhere near the edges of the motherboard.
The cooling performance is excellent. The HR-01 keeps the E8400 at a temperature of 23 â„ƒ idle. The Accelero keeps the HD4850 at 41 â„ƒ idle, if I remember correctly the stock cooler kept it at 60 â„ƒ idle.
I'd say my system is quite silent, but I'm still not completely okay with it. I've only got three 120 mm fans now. My Enermax PRO 82+ 425 Watt fortunately doesn't have any problems, the BIOS reports 500 rpm. It's great that Scythe designed low rpm variants of the Slip Stream fan, so I don have to mess around with undervolting. The Slip Stream fans are closer to 900 rpm than the rated 800 rpm though according to the BIOS. SPCR's review
of the Scythe Slip Stream gave me high expectations, which haven't been met entirely. It's not inaudible in my system as is suggested by SPCR. If I sit in front of my desk I barely hear them, but if I stand half a meter behind the enclosure I can hear them. I think I can characterize the noise as moving air, but maybe also some mechanical noise.
Most of the time I don't hear the hard disk drive, but when it's active I do. I'm considering buying a Scythe Quiet Drive
, if I'd do that I could also remove the entire hard disk drive cage because I only use one hard disk drive anyway. The LG GH20NS10 is downright a noisy bastard. Most of the time I don't hear it because I don't use optical disks often, but it also likes to rattle a bit for a second or two after I've turned on my system. I would definitely be looking for a silent DVD rewriter when I would be assembling a new system.