Skip to main content

PC Case Roundup: Spring 2008

Silverstone KL03 Kublai

CaseTypeSize WxHxDWeightCooling5.25” Bays3.5” BaysI/O panelNoiseApprox. Price
Silverstone KL03 KublaiATX mid tower220 x 500 x 597 mm28 lbs2x 120mm (opt. 2x 120mm)42 ext. 4 int.2x USB, 1x 1394, HD Audio (on top)38 db$150

Specifications

At 28 lbs, the Kublai KL-03 is one of the heaviest cases in the roundup. This speaks to the large size and copious amounts of metal used in the construction of the case, notably including the large metal door – the other full-doors reviewed in the Sigma Unicorn and Metal Suit GD are plastic.

Cooling is provided by two 120mm fans, notably less than other offerings in this roundup, but providing the advantage of quieter operation. There are two optional placements for additional 120mm fans on the side of the case.

The Kublai has an average I/O panel, with two USB ports, a Firewire port, and the usual audio jacks available. The panel is located on the top of the case, convenient if your case will be placed on the floor.

Unique Features

While the Kublai doesn’t have any revolutionary features, there are some very welcome evolutionary ones. For instance, the front door of the case can be hinged on either side of the case, or even completely removed! If you’ve ever had a hinged case that opens the opposite way you need it to, you know how wonderful this option is.

The front of the case is designed to allow hard disk hot swapping for RAID configurations that support it. The strange part is that it only comes with a single hot swap connector — RAID would require at least two — but you can buy more connectors from Silverstone.

Another unique feature is a metal arm in the case that not only supports up to two extra 120mm fans, but sports adjustable sliders to hold in your expansion cards, making it unnecessary to screw them in to the chassis if desired.

The case also offers compatibility with larger extended ATX motherboards. The Kublai KL03 is also designed to support redundant power supplies; it comes with adjustable feet that spread out for more stability if the user desires.

Appearance, Fit & Finish

The Kublai KL03 has a very unique appearance that utilizes a rounded-edge theme, and even though it isn’t particularly flashy, it does stand out in the crowd.

The metal front door of the case continues this theme, and although it’s classy, this reviewer admits it wasn’t quite to his taste. Strangely enough, since the door is removable, I personally think the KL03 looked better with its door removed entirely — in fact, the fit and finish of the front panel is definitely attractive enough that the door can be left off.

Speaking of fit and finish: Silverstone is well renowned for its high-quality metalwork, and the KL03 is no exception. While the case isn’t one of their premium offerings, they certainly didn’t cut corners.

User Experience

Silverstone has a reputation for using little plastic in favor of metal, and it shows; the case is built like a tank and is reminiscent of much more expensive offerings. The Kublai is very sturdy, and while this adds weight, if you plan to carry your case around to a lot of LAN parties you probably won’t be looking for a large mid-tower in the first place.

The Kublai has two 120mm fans. While this is a lot less than many of its competitors in this price range, airflow isn’t bad, and more importantly — it’s very quiet! The Kublai was second only to the 3R System R240 Grace in this respect, pulling a low 38 dB. You can add up to two 120mm fans to the Kublai if you wish, but if you have a dual-slot video card that expels its air outside the case, we suspect that the included fans will be sufficient. To be fair, you can always turn the extra fans off when they’re included, and the Kublai KL-03 doesn’t include those extra fans with the case.

Assembly is tool-less, with drive clips and even expansion card retainers on the side. This case has a lot of space available, which makes for a really nice assembly experience. The metal arm side bar frame, where the optional 120mm fans can be installed, holds the expansion card retainers — it’s in the way during installation, but can be removed easily enough.

The Kublai KL03’s offers some high-end functionality and manufacturing quality that we haven’t seen in many of its competitors at its $150 Price point . If you’re in the market, this case is a good option for the price.

  • geotech
    Nothing on the Thermaltake Armor?
    One of the best case designs and plenty of room and features.
    Reply
  • bf2gameplaya
    Every one of those cases is butt ugly, unwieldy and depressing.
    Reply
  • Gravemind123
    Nothing from Lian-Li, Thermaltake or Antec? In that price range you could review a nice case from any of those companies.
    Reply
  • Yep is a very poor roundup allright !
    Where is Antec Nine Hundred or the new Twelve Hundred and the excelent P182 ???
    The Cosmos S seems to be out of place here.... its in another league: Armor+, Silverstone TJ07B, Stacker
    Reply
  • otheos
    Simple is an uknown word in the aesthetics of the east.
    Reply
  • scherfistv
    Lazy review, the guys from TOM's couldn't find more attractive PC Cases? It's all made in "China"-like?
    Reply
  • TiberiumSoldier
    poor Roundup.. no Enermax Chakra/uber Chakra no EZCool .....
    Reply
  • SinisterCanuck
    All mid tower cases... not one Full Tower! I haven't purchased a mid tower case in nearly 8 years for any of my builds because they are too crammed for my liking. As stated by other commenters, where's the Thermaltake Armor? Where's the Antec Twelve Hundred? etc. These were nice looking cases, but they are all middle of the road as far as I am concerned. You need to do a cases revisited or an enthusiast case round up! ...please do that
    Reply
  • I have my doubts about your praise on 3R System case. I have similar model. Exactly the same inside structure but without the remote control, display and with different front side.

    First of all, it's not that well-built. Sides bend and that inside metal (Al?) is really soft. And if you want to remove the front there are like 6 almost unreachable screws to be unscrewed which is pain in the a**.

    Fans are really quiet though.
    Reply
  • only Cosmos S look good to me.
    Reply