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Lancool Metal Boned K10 brings the best of both worlds: its exterior is made of aluminum, bringing a flawless finishing and being lighter than all-steel cases and, at the same time, its internal body is still made of zinc-coated steel (a.k.a. “SECC”), which makes this case to cost far less than all-aluminum products . This case is particularly targeted to users that go to LAN parties, not only because it is lighter than other steel and hybrid cases around, but because it presents a very robust construction and a couple of small features to prevent unauthorized people from opening your case.
It is very important to notice that on the majority of hybrid cases around only the frontal panel is made of aluminum, and this isn’t the case of Metal Boned K10, where the front panel, the two side panels and the top panel are all manufactured in aluminum. This provides not only a better finishing, but it makes this case lighter than other hybrid products.
Lancool Metal Boned K10 is available in black or silver, and we reviewed the black model.
The finishing of this case is outstanding, one of the best we’ve seen to date, really smooth.
One of the features present on this case that is clearly targeted to people that go to LAN parties is the lock present on the front door. As you can see on Figures 3 and 4 this case uses a real key and a real lock.
[nextpage title=”The Front Panel”]
The quality of the parts Lian Li used in this case is really impressive. The door uses a very high-end latch mechanism that allows it to be firmly closed even when you don’t lock it, which is particularly important for people that carry their computer around, because since the front door is very heavy it tends to open itself when you lift and move your case around. This simply doesn’t happen with this case.
In Figure 6, you can see Metal Boned K10 with its door opened. Pay attention to the thickness of the door.
As you can see in Figure 6 this case has three 5.25” bays and one 3.5” external bay. You can also see the two frontal 120 mm fans in charge of cooling down the hard disk drives (this case has two washable air filters in front of them that we will talk about later). Behind the fans there are five internal 3.5” bays that we will discuss later.
There are two important things about the door used on this case. First, you can simply remove it if you want to have a lighter case, as this door is very thick and heavy. To do that, you need to remove the two parts that hold the door by unscrewing the three screws present at each part. In Figure 7 we show the case with its door removed. Second, you can change the door configuration to make it open from left to right instead of right to left. This change, however, isn’t so fast to perform. You need to remove the door like shown in Figure 7, unscrew all six parts located on the door (hinges, latches, lock and hook), swap the parts that are on the left side with the parts that are on the right side, screw them back in place and then put the door back on the case.
All external parts of this case are manufactured in aluminum, including all bay covers.
In Figure 9, you can see the plugs you will find on the top of the case: one eSATA port, one FireWire port, four USB 2.0 ports, mic in and headphones out. Having an eSATA port is great as more and more users are using eSATA-based external hard disk drives to backup or carry around their data. Another strong point is having four USB ports, as many cases only provide two USB ports on their frontal panel.
[nextpage title=”The Rear and Side Panels”]
In Figure 10 we can see the rear panel of this case. This is the only external panel that isn’t manufactured in aluminum, as it is part of the case body. Like almost all high-end cases this product doesn’t come with a power supply and it has seven slots, just like 99.9% of the cases on the market. In Figure 10 you can also see that this case comes with a 120 mm fan on its rear panel.
A very interesting feature present on the rear panel from this case is the two pre-drilled holes for an external water cooling system. These holes come closed and you can see them between the fan and the power supply hole in Figure 10. If you want to use them just break their covers by inserting a screwdriver on the flat hole available and swinging the screwdriver back and forth.
Almost all screws present on the rear panel are thumbscrews, which is excellent, and both side panels are removable. This case also provides a removable motherboard tray, and this tray is also fastened to the case using thumbscrews.
On this case the top panel is also removable, but it uses just regular screws.
On the rear side of this case you can also find a place for installing a p
ad lock, which is a very important feature to prevent people from opening you case and stealing your components while you went to the bathroom during a LAN party.
The side panels are also manufactured in aluminum, as we have already mentioned, and they are removed just like on regular ATX cases, by unscrewing them and sliding them to the rear side of the case. Both side panels have a black foam sheet attached to them, used to reduce the noise produced by your computer.
[nextpage title=”Inside Metal Boned K10″]
In Figure 13, you can see an overall look inside the reviewed case, while in Figure 13 you can see the rear side of the case viewed from inside and in Figure 14 you can see the hard disk drive cage which has five bays. On this picture you can also see the two frontal 120 mm fans used to cool down the hard disk drives.
The hard disk drive cage comes in a position where the drives are installed perpendicular to the case. You can, if you want, change the position of this cage to make the hard disk drives to be installed on the standard position, i.e., on this case you can rotate the cage 90°. Making this modification, however, will give you a little bit of work, as you will need to remove the frontal panel in order to be able to unscrew the two L-shaped parts that hold the cage to the front of the case (see one of these parts on the upper right side in Figure 15). Besides these two parts you will need to remove the four screws that hold the cage to the bottom part of the case. Removing the front panel is also required if you want to have access to the two washable air filters.
Speaking of which, they came out of place on our sample due to transportation. We could see some other readers complaining about the same thing on the Internet, so there is a very high chance of you having to remove the front panel to put these filters back in place even if you don’t want to change the configuration of the hard disk drive cage.
In Figure 17, you can see the hard disk drive cage removed from the case and in Figure 18 we rotated it and installed it back to the case. Under this configuration the two L-shaped parts aren’t used and should be removed from the cage. Pay close attention when screwing the cage back to the case because the parts that look like a hook must be facing the frontal fans. If you screw the cage with these parts facing the center of the case you simply won’t be able to install hard disk drives on the bays! We will explain you why in the next page.
[nextpage title=”Installing Hard Disk Drives”]This case provides a unique installation mechanism for the ard disk drives. It comes with several thumbscrews and rubber rings, as you can see in Figure 18. You need to add four screws with one rubber ring each to each hard disk drive you wish to install. These rubber rings act like shock absorbers, preventing the hard disk drive natural vibration (because of its internal motors) from propagating to the case.
[nextpage title=”Installing Hard Disk Drives (Cont’d)”]
The next step is, of course, intalling each hard drive to an internal hard drive bay, but you have to pay close attention here. If you try to install the hard disk drives from the left side of the case – i.e., the side that you would normally use to install hard disk drives and other components – you will see that the drives won’t fit. They must be installed from the right side of the case (i.e., from the side behind the motherboard). For that you will need to remove the right panel, which is easy to do because it uses thumbscrews as we have shown and also you will have to remove this panel anyway to install the motherboard.
Installing the hard disk drives on this case is easier than on regular cases. You need to insert the drive in the bay inclined, with its front part lower than its rear part, sliding it until it reaches the end of the bay. Then push the rear part of the drive down until it reaches the end of the bay, as shown on Figures 22 and 23. Make sure that the metal part of the bay will be located exactly in the middle of each rubber ring.
In order to avoid hard disk drives from getting out of place while you transport your computer, you need to attach a regular thick thread screw to each drive, as shown in Figure 24.Also, one very important thing: if you don’t screw your hard disk drives like shown in Figure 24 people will be able to open your case and steal your hard drives even if you use a pad lock. This happens because the right panel isn’t locked by the pad lock and anyone opening the right panel can easily remove the hard disk drives, unless they are screwed, as the screws can only be reached from the other side, which is protected by the lock.
[nextpage title=”Installing Optical and Floppy Disk Drives”]
Installing optical and floppy disk drives to this case is a very easy process as well. First you nee to remove the cover from the bay where you want to install your drive. To do that you need to press the lateral of the cover with a flat tip screwdriver, as shown in Figure 25. Then just pull the cover.
With the bay opened slide in the drive you want to install until you hear a click, as shown in Figure 26.
Even though the bays have a plastic latch (see on the left hand side of Figure 26) which makes each drive to be perfectly in place the drives are still a little bit lose, so you need to screw four regular thin thread screws to each drive.
[nextpage title=”Installing The Motherboard”]
As we’ve mentioned already this case hasa removable tray for installing the motherboard, which is fastened to the case using two thumbscrews. Behind this tray there are two cable holders, as you can see in Figure 28.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Metal Boned K10 case main specs include:
- Application: ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC) body (0.8 mm thick) and aluminum panels.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: Black and silver.
- Size: 18 7/64” x 8 17/64” x 20 35/64” (46 cm x 21 cm x 52.2 cm) (H x W x D).
- Weight: N/A
- Bays: Three external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bays and five 3.5” internal bays.
- Expansion slots: Seven.
- Fans: One 120 mm fan on the rear and two 120 mm fans on the front.
- Extra features: Washable air filters.
- More Information: https://www.lancoolpc.com
- Average price in the US: USD 120.00.
We were very impressed by this case, being one of the best cases we’ve seen to date. Its manufacturing quality is outstanding and while other steel/aluminum hybrid cases have only the front panel and front door in aluminum, this case also has the side and top panels made from this noble material. This makes this case lighter than other hybrid products we’ve seen so far.
This case is clearly targeted to users that go to LAN parties or like to carry his or her PC around, as it features a real lock on its front door, a hook for installing a pad lock in order to prevent people from opening your PC and thus stealing its components, a very high-end door latch mechanism that prevents the door from opening while the PC is being transported and a very robust construction.
It will also please average users, with its impeccable finishing, three 120 mm fans, rubber rings that prevent noise generated by the hard disk drives from being propagated to the case, side panels with foam sheets attached to reduce noise, a sliding mechanism that facilitates a lot the installation of all kinds of disk drives, one eSATA port (which is great as more and more users are preferring to use eSATA-based external HDD’s for data backup and transportation) and four USB ports (the majority of cases only provide two).
For the high-end user it also provides pre-drilled holes for installing an external water cooling solution.
Metal Boned K10 features five internal bays for hard disk drives, which is more than enough for even very high-end users.
And then comes pricing. This case can be found at Newegg.com for USD 120, making it a case with one of the best cost/benefit ratios around: it provides high-end features at a proportionally low price. Of course there are cheaper cases around, but not with the same quality and features of this case and not with all external panels made of aluminum.
The only problem we saw with this case was with the two washable air filters. Due to transportation they weren’t in place. Since this is case targeted to people that will carry his or her PC around, this shouldn’t happen. The problem is that you need to remove the frontal panel – meaning unscrewing a lot of screws – to reach these filters. We think Lian Li should have used a more practical solution here (something more similar to what Antec used on their Sonata III 500, for example). If you buy it, don’t forget to remove the front panel to check whether the filters are in place or not while you are building your PC.