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Take The Train: Lian Li PC-CK101, Built, Tested, And...Driven?

A Chassis That'll Start Conversations

Lian Li's PC-CK101 was apparently a big hit at Christmas. It sold out, and remains so, at most online vendors. The kit consists of a locomotive and a tender, which house all of the components you'd typically find in a PC. When you step up to the 'L' model, you also get 10 feet of railroad track and a motor.

So, here's our plan of action. First, we're going to build a complete PC into the locomotive. Then we're going to make the whole thing mobile. Finally, we're taking our rail-based configuration to an outdoor train museum, just for kicks. All aboard, friends.

Even without its fancy tracks and motor, this case is unique. It deserves an objective review, and we aren't going to sugar-coat any of its drawbacks. Lian Li does demonstrate with this showpiece what amazing things skilled metal workers can build from aluminum parts. It's all the more impressive that the company was able to bring this chassis to market, rather than simply making it some sort of exhibition piece.

Specifications
Model NamePC-CK101 (+ PC-CK101L with motor and tracks)
FormatMini-ITX, Mini Tower
DimensionsWidth: 7.3", Height: 10.2", Length: 20.3"
ColorBlack (Powder-Coated)
MaterialBody: AluminumWindows: Acrylic
Weight9 lbs.
Drive Bays1 x 5.25" external (Slim ODD)1 x 3.5" internal (hard drive; only if the motor kit is not installed)2 x 2.5" internal (SSD; if the motor kit is installed, only 1x)
Fan1 x 120 mm with dust filter
Connectors2 x USB 3.0 (on the locomotive)
Box SizeCK101S 21.8" x 9.7" x 15.2" (L x W x H) CK101L 21.8" x 9.7" x 24.7" (L x W x H)
Power SupplySFX PSU (made by FSP)300 W 80 PLUS
PriceApprox. $229 (PC-CK101S w/o motor, 20" track)Approx. $312 (PC-CK101L including motor, 10' track)

So, those are the speeds and feeds. But how easy is it to get a PC built inside? What follows is the blow-by-blow account. Minor hurdles did have to be overcome, but in the end we had a lot of fun.

  • Trueno07
    I am so jealous right now, this looked like it was a blast to put together!
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I am surprised you didn't use the model with the moving train!
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Not the first time I've seen it, but I still think this case is just an exercise in sheer ridiculousness.

    But since the PC era is coming to an end, who can blame Lian Li for having a little fun while they still can?
    Reply
  • edogawa
    This thing is so awesome...if it wasn't for the noise I would get one...I love trains...
    Reply
  • ASHISH65
    awesome! i want to drive that train
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    The Little Engine That Could...
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    *Ozzy Osbourne Voice* ALL ABOARD!!! HA HA HA HA....
    Reply
  • bambiboom
    Just brilliant. Finally, a computer case with a bit of style suitable for grownups.

    Taking the mobile computing theme further, and addressing the limitations on computing power, if you had a Dell Precision M6600 or 6700 laptop with a broken screen, how about mounting the components, motherboard , PSU, batteries, drives, Wifi and all? Then, there could be an i7 CPU and a Quadro 4000M, all very quiet and still getting more air than it's used to. And, appropriately, no power cord!

    The idea of a serious, self- propelled workstation steam train model seems the best use possible of this fantastic enclosure idea. That the computer is itself the game is on the borderline of being art.

    And congratulations to Igor Wallossek for an excellent description of something so wonderfully out of the ordinary.
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    I remember when I first saw this on Newegg. I thought I'd lost my mind for a moment. It's definitely a unique case.
    Reply
  • ojas
    Tom's Hardware's German team has a lot of fun, i can see :D

    Really enjoyable read, Igor! Also got to know about that Gigabyte wireless streamer, should prove useful!

    Nice house btw :)
    Reply