If you’re familiar with Lian Li, you probably know that it makes cases exclusively out of high-quality aluminum. Today, that all changes, as the Taiwanese case manufacturer just announced the new Ebonsteel series. These cases, which for now include the PC-K5X, PC-K5WX, PC-K6X and PC-K6SX, are all made with a steel chassis instead of aluminum, with the goal of being more affordable than the rest of the cases in Lian Li’s lineup.
PC-K5X And PC-K5WX
The PC-K5X and PC-K5WX are identical except that the “W” version has a side panel window. The “X” in the name means that the interior is black. They can hold up to ATX-size motherboards and include three 120 mm fans as well as support for up to a 240 mm radiator. The hard drive area has room for four 2.5” or 3.5” drives, and you can fit graphics cards up to 250 mm long (or 400 mm when you remove the colliding hard drive cage), PSUs up to 250 mm long, and 160 mm tall CPU coolers. Front I/O consists of two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port and the usual pair of HD audio jacks.
PC-K6X and PC-K6SX
The PC-K6X and PC-K6SX are the more versatile steel cases, offering more space for hardware goodies. The “S” stands for silent, so that model comes with sound dampening material and a front door that swivels to cover up the optical drive bays. Inside, the cases have room for ATX motherboards, 310 mm long graphics cards and PSUs, 170 mm tall CPU coolers, and seven 2.5” or 3.5” drive mounts. For cooling, the K6 models support up to a 280 mm radiator and come with the same three 120 mm fans as the K5 series. Style-wise, the PC-K6 cases’ front panel is made of plastic, but they have a brushed aluminum look.
Despite being "budget" chassis, the cases do still have the remainder of the features you normally find on many cases, including rubber cable management grommets, vibration dampening throughout, and fan filters. Nonetheless, we’d have a hard time determining that these are Lian Li cases if it wasn’t for the badge at the front, but that is only because they’re made of steel and plastic instead of aluminum.
It’s interesting to see Lian Li diving into a more budget-oriented section of the market, but we’re a bit confused about some of the design choices. The lack of dedicated 2.5” drive mounts (behind the motherboard or elsewhere) is somewhat puzzling, and the lack of a second USB 3.0 port on the K5 models is unfortunate. Two 5.25” optical drive bays may also be a bit much, but for those buying a simple budget case for their first build, it may be nice to have the expandability.
The K5X is priced at $56, and the windowed version costs $4 more at $60. The K6X and K6SX cost $93 and $109, respectively. Availability is slated mid-June for the K5 cases and late June for the K6 versions.