The Lazy Days of Summer Case Review

Kingwin K11-BK-WM, Continued

Kingwin does a good job with the K11-BK-WM, making sure to retain the popular features of its higher end cases.

Kingwin K11-BK-WM has hit the mark in the cooling area. The case offers four 80 mm fans; two for front air intake, one for rear exhaust, and one lighted 80 mm fan mounted in the center of the windowed side panel. We would rate the cooling potential of this case as above average, but still not recommended for serious overclockers. For the average user, Kingwin has struck a very good balance with the cooling options offered in the K11-BK-WM. The windowed side panel included with the K11-BK-WM is fastened using a screw/ screw holder configuration with chrome tips on the outside, which produces a good look. Unfortunately, this nice window in the side panel is hampered by Kingwin's failure to cover the window surface area with a protective wrap in shipment, as with the translucent material of the front bezel. Due to movement of cables and connectors during shipment within the case, our window arrived marred in several places. This is unfortunate; it seems that Kingwin could easily remedy this problem with a tad more attention to detail during the pre-packaging process.

The front of the Kingwin K11-BK-WM includes four USB 2.0 ports with connectors that allow the ports to be connected to the motherboard. The same, however, cannot be said for the audio and 1394 connectors. Instead of using connections that can be attached to the motherboard on these cables, Kingwin chose a pass-through option with a custom cut slot plate with a hole in it to allow the passage of the cables to the system's rear. This might be fine for some users, but most modern motherboards provide connections for the cables on the motherboard, as did our Nforce test motherboard. It would have been nice for Kingwin to go the extra mile by either including a second cable to permit the audio and 1394 to be directly connected to the motherboard, or, at least, by offering them for sale through Kingwin or one of its distributors. As far as we know, though, this option is not offered.

One exceptional feature of the K11-BK-WM is the fact that there are many nice areas to hide the cabling between the non-windowed side panel and the chassis. Still, the cabling from the 1394 and audio ports will most likely require some sort of looming in order to look a little neater and more attractive.

The K11-BK-WM does not skimp on the front mounted ports. The K11-BK-WM uses the same configuration as many other Kingwin models.

When viewed as a Kingwin introductory model, the Kingwin K11-BK-WM is a unique idea. It looks good and the design is acceptable. It does have some tradeoffs here and there that might cause concern for some users. Being able to purchase this case for less than $100 US, however, is a big breakthrough. However, Kingwin had to make some design adjustments in order to meet the reduced price point. Is the K11-BK-WM the best case choice for your money? That depends on how much you like it and if you can overlook some of its design shortcomings. The biggest issue we have with the K11-BK-WM is the bend and twist in the chassis; it is light but it does not have the ability to stand the abuse that some of Kingwin's better built models can take. As an introductory model, however, Kingwin is firing on all cylinders with the release of its K11-BK-WM.