Kublai KL04 Overview
Let’s see if there are any surprises in store for us, starting with an outside look at the SilverStone Kublai KL04.
The left side is pretty standard; a clear window is nicely set into the panel, hiding the drive trays and allowing you to show off most of your build.
The right side strays a bit from conventional designs, although it is no longer unique to the KL04. Twin 120mm fan mounts sit right behind that removable dust filter, with one fan mount populated as an intake in a stock configuration.
The front contains no vents of any kind, reducing noise from drives and fans that most cases produce. Rather, SilverStone employs a brushed aluminum-look plastic, along with some bold asymmetric accents on the front. There isn’t a door here, this panel stays in place. The drive covers are easy to remove if you’re installing devices in the 5.25″ bays, although some might lament the disruption of the design with the covers removed.
The rear of the KL04 is almost entirely vented with SilverStone’s signature square vents. When you consider the positive-pressure designs that SilverStone is known for, this makes a lot of sense and helps explain the performance of this chassis – more on that later… For now, I’d like to draw your attention to the PCI slots. See that bracket covering them? Anytime you want to swap a card, you’ll need to remove this cover and then use your screwdriver on the cross-tip screws that secure the card. If you swap hardware often, you’ll probably find yourself leaving this cover off (and replacing those screws with thumbscrews…). Features like this make me cringe when I think about how often I’m swapping out video cards or trying different hardware – but not everyone does this often enough to be bothered by an extra step. I’ve tried to think of a reason SilverStone opts for this specific method – I suppose it allows them to not recess the I/O plate, allowing for easier installation of GPUs/sound cards/etc.?
The top includes a recessed tray for accessing the two USB 3.0 ports (along with the expected headphone/mic jacks) in front of a plastic honeycombed air filter. Including a removable air filter on the top of a case might seem a little strange, until you look closely at the fan and realize it is mounted as an intake. While contrary to most cases, this is a configuration SilverStone employs in many of their cases (positive pressure, remember) so the dust filter is a nice feature here.
The bottom of the KL04 contains mesh filters for both the power supply and an optional fan. This optional 120mm fan mount is offset to allow room for the 2.5″ tray that we’ll see in a moment. Notice the four small screws above that offset fan mount in this picture, that’ll clue you in to a way of circumventing some possible installation issues we might see later…