SilverStone Kublai KL05 Review
Published: 6th October 2015 | Source: SilverStone | Price: 55.26 |
The SilverStone Kublai KL05 reminds me somewhat of a sleeper car. If you don't know what that is, think of a boring looking boxy Volvo that you'd no way expect to be fast. Now imagine it dropping its clutch and ripping away from you at the lights. Why? Because it's what's underneath that counts, it's what's under the bonnet that determines performance, not how many go faster stripes, snazzy paint jobs or power bulges something has. In the same way, the performance of the KL05 is in no way betrayed by its business like understated exterior. There are no flashy grills and intakes, save for a mesh panel, and should you choose, you can even opt for a model without a window and with a flush fitting smooth front panel. Also absent are any power bulges designed to aid rigidity and add cable management space. And as for paint job, well as Henry Ford once said, you can any colour you like…as long as it’s black. Nope, this is one straight "normal" looking case.
Open it up and you'll find all the usual stuff like 6x3.5"/2.5" storage, a brace of 5.25" bays and enough room to accommodate GPUs up to 400mm, PSUs up to 220mm and CPU coolers up to 165mm. OK, so there aren't any grommets on any of the many well-spaced large management holes but then in some ways this further underlines the sleeper status of this case. Dig a little deeper though and you'll find a pair of stealth mounts for 2.5" drives round the back of the motherboard, along with a conveniently placed cable management hole beside them.
So why's this case a sleeper? Well how many £55 cases do you know of that look like this and are able to take a 45mm thick 280mm rad in the roof and anything up to and including a 80mm thick 240mm Alphacool Monsta in the front. In Push pull no less! Yeah, that's about the same number I can name. On the face of it, the two 5.25" drives might look a little dated, but now you're thinking Mmmm Custom loop with Bay res aren't you? Nice plain Jane case with a sexy custom loop inside, your mates won't be expecting that when they look at the outside will they?
The only real niggle we have is that the quality is not really what we've come to expect from SiverStone. We found evidence of the black exterior powder coat clumping around the vented PCI slot covers, and were rather disappointed that the black of the plastic roof section was more dark grey than Black. Tom could tell you how many shades out it is but for me it just looks way too light. OK, so I guess we have to keep in mind that this is a £55 case but it'd still have been nice to see the usual SilverStone quality shine through. We'd also maybe have liked to see an additional 120mm fan, but can only surmise that the reason SilverStone have built the case "fan light" is that they envisaged people using it putting water cooling in it, in which case they would be adding their own fans. That of course and it helps keep the price down.
All in all though we have to say we’ve been rather pleased with the KL05. And as I usually say, a short conclusion like this is usually a good sign that we’ve not been able to find too much wrong with a product.
In short, if you're looking for a case who's fantastic under the hood capabilities belie its classical looks, then the SilverStone Kublai KL05 is well worth a spin.