This case has appealed to us for some time. It looks great and you get the feeling it is engineered well. The quality of construction and paint is very good. The case feels rigid and the side panels flex very little.
We want to be able to control the airflow through the case. Unlike other cases that have multiple openings for fans, this case has only three open fan locations and the space in the unused 5.25″ drive bays. The side panel has a place for additional fans, but this area is controlled by removable panels. Many cases have optional fan locations available that are unfiltered and can disrupt air going where you need it to go. In our setup, we removed the existing Lian Li 140mm front fan and installed two Cooler Master R4-S4S-10AK-GP 140mm case fans. This gives us two 140mm fans at 1000 rpm each bringing fresh air into the system. Lian Li supplies a filter for each of these areas. The 5.25″ drive bays also have filters so any additional air needed by the rear fan can be supplied if there are empty bays available. In our build the rear fan supplied with the case is replaced with an Antec Kuhler H2O 920 liquid cooling system. This liquid cooling system is comprised of a radiator with two 120mm fans that can run in excess of 2400 rpm attached in a push/pull configuration, exhausting hot air out the rear of the system. On the rare occasion that the Antec Kuhler 920 is in extreme mode, one can feel the air-flow increase under the DVD ROM drive. Our GPU is an EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 with reference design cooling so air is drawn into the video card from the air supplied by the front case fans and exhausted out the back of the case. Even while benchmarking the overclocked Intel i7 2600K processor the system stays very cool. The front and rear fans are all mounted in rubber to reduce noise.
Two filters behind the front panel for the front 140mm fans, filters for each unused drive bay, and a filter for the PSU, means this system will stay relatively clean. Filters for the side panel are easily available should we need to add additional fans.
Power Supply Mounting:
We wanted the PSU bottom mounted and the ability to have its own air supply. There are some great cases out there, but some have no venting below the PSU for fresh air. Installing a PSU so it draws hot air from inside of the case is not acceptable to us and can shorten the life of the PSU. The PSU sits on rubber padding with a very interesting padded clamp that holds it firmly in place. We did install the normal four mounting screws just because we could.
The 3.5″ drive cage is short allowing plenty of room for long video cards to extend above it. With network storage we really do not need multiple drives in this build. This cage has two positions so you can mount your drives with cables in or out and still get the side panel on. The 5.25″ drives are held in by a tool-less arrangement that simply applies side pressure with a rubber block. It appears to work just fine.
The little things that mean a lot:
The front USB ports connect directly to our GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD4 motherboard using the F_USB30 header so there was no need to run a cable out the back of the case like some other cases. There is a small adapter supplied to convert to a F_USB20 header should you need it.
The expansion slot blanks are vented allowing us to be sure we do not run too much positive air pressure in the case.
There are plenty of extra screws and grommets for just about everything.
The front panel wiring is long and clearly labeled.
Cable management holes in the motherboard tray are adequate, especially above the motherboard for the ATX 12V connector.
Some things that did not matter to us:
Thumbscrews are not necessary for everything. While they are great for side panels, they were cumbersome for the motherboard and video card. I don’t plan on taking anything apart that often. I will say that there were plenty of screws available should you not want to use the thumbscrews.
What could have been but wasn’t:
The cut-out behind the motherboard could have been a little wider. We will have to remove the motherboard should we ever need to replace the back-plate for the Antec Kuhler 920.
The hard drives are mounted in rubber, although I am not sure how long it will take for the metal edges of the cage to rub through the grommets. I would prefer shouldered bolts with fixed rubber grommets for all the drives like the LIAN LI PC-A04A instead of just for the 2.5″ drives.
The powder coated finish looks really nice, but will be a little harder to clean than a smooth finish.
We are very glad we purchased this case for a gaming rig. There is plenty of room for expansion. Later we may add another video card and maybe a SSD drive.
Here are the details for this build:
LIAN LI Lancool PC-K57 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR Desktop Memory Model
Western Digital Caviar Black WD7502AAEX 750GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
2 Cooler Master R4-S4S-10AK-GP 140mm case fans
Antec Kuhler H2O 920 liquid cooling system
Thermaltake Black Widow W0319RU 850W ATX 12V v2.3, PFC Power Supply
EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 Video Card
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
Here are some of the better reviews of the LIAN LI Lancool PC-K57 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case.