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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.

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.