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SilverStone Kublai KL04 Case Review

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Building in the KL04

Actually installing components in a chassis like the SilverStone Kublai KL04 is one of the best ways to find out any eccentricities or compatibility issues, so let’s get to the fun part!

KL04_PSU

Right away, a potential issue is identified – although there’s ways around it. The PSU pictured is 160mm in depth, and most of the connectors are modular. There’s enough room between the PSU and that 2.5″ drive cage, but it’s a pretty tight fit. Remember those four screws on the bottom of the case?

KL04_HDDTray

If you take out those four screws, you can relocate the 2.5″ cage to the bottom of the front HDD cage. It’s a little difficult to see them in the bottom of this photo, but if you don’t want to wire up your SSDs in the default location they can go here as well (I’d recommend it, it would make routing cables to an SSD/HDD build much easier!). You’ll sacrifice some HDD space though, and will need to remove the 2.5″ cage every time you needed to replace a drive… All that being said, this is a pretty complicated solution to mounting drives.

And by the way, bring your screwdriver! It works, and is effective in the KL04, but after building systems into cases like the Corsair Air 540 (where installing drives is a “snap in” and you’re finished type of deal) a system like this seems a little tedious. If you aren’t much of a tinkerer, this won’t be an issue – and to be fair, that’s pretty common of SilverStone’s cases (they seem to have a reputation as “not for inexperienced builders” – the SG09 and FT03 I’ve owned even came with warnings stating something similar!). I’m not sure if that excuses them, but it at least offers an explanation (or a heads-up!) of what you’re getting into.

KL04_CableMgmt

Since the TD02 and H220 will be hogging the top fan mounts, I relocated the stock fan to the intake. There aren’t any fan controls included and these are 3-pin fans, so hopefully they aren’t too loud… I definitely made use of the extra space in the channel at the bottom for cables, so those without a modular PSU should be glad to see some extra space here.

KL04_TD02Close

SilverStone recommends installing their watercoolers with the fans as intakes, and the KL04 is set up to do just that…but I still can’t bring myself to do it! These top mounts are for exhausts! Everyone including “Laws-Of-Physics” guy knows that!! Right…? I mean…that’s what everyone else does, so…it has to be right? I just recently tested the TD02 in a NZXT H630 as both an intake (in the floor) and exhaust (“ceiling”), and discovered there was an approximate 2.5 degree Celsius difference (in favor of the intake/floor orientation) between the two. What I DIDN’T test however, was the TD02 in the “ceiling” of the case as an intake. I could probably spend another article’s worth of time investigating the different orientations…but all I’ll say is after seeing the performance of the KL04 I’d be inclined to trust SilverStone’s engineering on this one. Remember the extensively-vented rear of the case? A chassis set up for positive pressure will just exhaust through those holes anyway. I’ll touch on this more in the conclusion, but just know that the orientation of the H220 and TD02 will be the same for comparison purposes.

KL04_H220

Finally, the Swiftech H220 gets installed as well. Swiftech’s cooler installed a little easier than SilverStone’s TD02 since it isn’t as thick, but in both situations the offset mounting of those twin 120mm fan mounts of the KL04 were essential in clearing the 8-pin AUX CPU header other components along the top edge of the motherboard.


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