Hi guys! Today I’ll be reviewing a computer case and its from Silverstone known as KL06, the first micro-ATX computer case in Kublai Series. Silverstone computer cases is a little unique compared to most of the manufacturers out there as they position the motherboard upside down to allow fresh air from the front fan air intake to cool the motherboard and CPU heatsink in a direct airflow. The KL06 shares some similarities in appearance and structural design to the SilverStone Temjin TJ08 Case which was released few years ago. Before diving further into the review, let’s take a look on its features and specification first!
- Up to eight 2.5” drives and one 3.5” drive capacity.
- Innovative drive cage design enables support for front and rear AIO liquid coolers.
- Modular design with removable drive cage, motherboard tray, and top panel.
- Includes two quiet 120mm fans.
- Convenient externally removable fan filters for front and top.
- Independent power supply compartment and intake vents.
- Oversized motherboard tray cut-out for CPU cooler backplates.
- Magnetic fan filter for power supply intake area.
- Innovative drive cage design enables support for front and rear AIO liquid coolers.
- Removable motherboard tray Micro-ATX motherboards.
- Model Number: SST-KL06B (black) | SST-KL06B-W (black + window)
- Material: Plastic front panel with steel mesh, steel body
- Motherboard Compatibility: Micro-ATX, Mini-DTX, Mini-ITX
- Drive Bay (External): External (5.25″ x 2) + Internal ( 3.5″ x 1, 2.5” x 8)
- Cooling System: Front (120mm x 2 fan pre-installed) + Rear (120mm x 1)
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Packaging and Unboxing
Packaging-1: Looking at the front packaging reveals a list of features that KL06 has to offer while displaying the front panel case design while on the rear packaging describes the internal structure of the computer case
Packaging-2: Taking a look at both left and right sides of the box, the left side gives a brief introduction about KL06 and its specifications along with the power supply compatibility while the right side displays the special features in 8 languages (Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese Korean, Japanese, Russian) The English version is earlier presented in the front packaging.
Unboxing-1: Removing the computer case out reveals its properly padded with thick white foams on the top and bottom. The chassis is also wrapped with a plastic bag for added protection from dust/scratches.
Accessories-1: The Kublai KL06 comes with some accessories in a plastic bag filled with 4 zip ties for cable management, motherboard standoff, screws to fasten motherboard + optical drive + 3.5″ HDD + 2.5″ HDD, 3M double-sided sticker, and a 2.5 inch removable bracket for SSD. In my sample review unit, it does not come with any manual guide. However, the user guide can be downloaded from the official Silverstone website under the Kublai KL06 Download section.
Design-1: The front panel of Kublai KL06 is made of plastic and has 2 optical drive bays and a removable dust filter for dual 120mm fan. Starting from top to bottom for the front I/O (input output), we can find 1 x Power Button, 1 x Power LED Light, 1 x HDD Activity LED Light, 1 x Reset Button, has 2 x USB 3.0 ports (blue), 1 x audio jack and 1 microphone jack. The Reset button is slightly smaller than the Power button. It does not require the tip of your finger to activate it, therefore there is chance where user might press the incorrect button. The KL06 rear has lots of steel mesh to allow hot air to escape from the back. It has a 120mm fan slot for exhaust that uses a protruding honeycomb design to avoid unwanted turbulence noise created when the fan is running at high speed.
Design-2: The dust filter uses a clip design instead of the push-release mounts which is a good thing since accidental pressure touching on the fan intake steel mesh will not make it pop out unintentionally. What I dislike about this filter is that it has too many plastic structure obstructing fresh air being pulled into the case. I would prefer if it has less plastic so it can be wash under running water and dried with cloth easily.
Design-3: Here is a closer inspection of the front dust air filter. Notice how tiny the filter holes are in comparison to the ruler measured in millimeter. The bottom of the dust filter structure has this clip for easy removable from the front panel. This dust filter reeks superior quality in comparison to most mainstream computer cases out there, much capable to prevent large dust particles especially cloth fiber, cobweb, etc from entering into the case.
Design-4: The dual front airflow 120mm fans are installed on a removable plastic structure. I was hoping it was yet another innovative tooless design from Silverstone. However, it was a little hassle to remove it for fan cleaning maintenance. Reason being, a user will require to use a screwdriver to remove all 6 mini screws before getting to the fan. It would be best to use a clip design as well but this time set it on the top instead of bottom to avoid conflicting with the dust filter spot. The fan cable aren’t sleeve in black from the fan source to the connector, so it does not look pleasingly aesthetic. Note: It does not come with any 3rd party fan controllers to control these fans, just plug into motherboard fan socket to turn it on.
Design-5: Here is an examination of the internal and external rear of the Kublai KL06. As you may noticed, there are only 4 PCI-E Slots that uses screws to secure it to the case. Before you can get to these PCI-E metal plates, you will need to remove 2 mini screws from outside first which is a little bit of a hassle. Another thing that I would like to point out is both right and side panels come with a pre-punched hole for users to utilize Kensington lock to secure the PC components within. One of the pre-punched rectangular hole is located on the left side of the first top PCI-E slot. It’s also worth mentioning that the rear supports SST-CLEARCMOS (the “plus” symbol bracket).
Design-6: Looking at the top and bottom of Kublai KL06 computer case reveals some interesting features. The top is equipped with a magnetic dust filter to prevent dust from entering from the power supply air intake but no screws are used to secure this dust filter in place except for sitting on top of the recessed top power supply fan panel. This dust filter can be reused on other computer cases just that it will require screw if its non-magnetic surface. The bottom does not have any fan slots, just 4 rubberized hemisphere case feet. The mini holes near the CPU section is used to secure the custom watercooling water pump socket. The mini holes near the HDD section is used to secure a 3.5″ HDD (hard disk) and also to move the cage closer to the CPU approximately 3 cm away from the front air intake for water radiator placement.
Design-7: Here is a closer look at the power supply dust filter. The tiny holes measures in 1mm in length which is sufficient to prevent must large dust from entering into the computer chassis. Each of the magnetic dust filter side has pre-installed magnets, a total of 8 magnets in this 140mm dust filter.
Design-8: The Kublai KL06 top panel is removable. You might be wondering why this feature is needed in the first place considering it usually meant for mounting fans but in this case it doesn’t have 1. I had this thought as well and found out that the power supply could not be installed from bottom up. It has to be place from top down and let it sit on the inner rims of the casing. Removing the top panel is a bit of hassle considering you need to remove a total of 6 screws (2 from rear, 2 on both sides). I would much prefer if it only uses 2 screws behind. However, do not let this discourage you as you won’t be removing top panel often as setting up power supply unit (PSU) is a one-time activity.
Design-9: The computer case comes with a removable drive cage that supports up to 6 x 2.5″ Drives (2.5″ HDD + SSD). The drive cage does not comes with any drive caddies. Simply plug the drives in and the plastic clips will hold it in place. No tools required which is very convenient. However, most consumers owns 3.5″ hard drives and it would be difficult for them to migrate to a case that does not support these drives. Thankfully, the KL06 comes with a 1 x 3.5″ HDD slot under the drive cage. If you have more than 1 x 3.5″ HDD, you can use the 5.25″ optical bay as a HDD drive slot but this requires purchasing a 3rd party 3.5″ to 5.25″ Bay Hard Disk Drive HDD Mounting Bracket Adapter Metal Kit. The drive cage base can be moved inwards approximately 3cm to allow placement of water radiator. The bottom 3.5″ HDD slot will be unusable as the radiator tubing uses that area to reach the CPU.
Design-10: Here is an overview of the internal design of Kublai KL06. Starting from top left to bottom right with the motherboard facing front, we can find 2 optical drive bays which are not tooless in design, a power supply compartment with Silverstone logo on it which basically hides the cable view from sight especially with a windowed side panel, motherboard, no rubber grommets installed on the cable routing holes and a large motherboard cutout for 3rd party CPU heatsink. The graphic card maximum length compatibility is 368mm (14.5″). You can comfortably place 2 graphic cards in SLI/Crossfire without being obstructed by the drive cage installed since its positioned above it. On the rear of the motherboard tray, we can find some hooks to secure your cable with zip ties. The motherboard tray can be removed by unscrewing few screws. Notice the motherboard from the rear has a slight curve near the cable routing holes? That prevents users from routing the cable from the side instead via the holes which is somewhat inconvenient. The squarish steel mesh near the power supply compartment to allow trap heat to slip out.
Design-11: Kublai KL06 cables aren’t all sleeve in black which might be a sore sight for some users. These cables connect to the front I/O Power, Reset, Activity LED lights and audio-microphone jacks.
Design-12: Now let’s look at the drive cage compartment in detail! The drive cage can be removed by unscrewing 4 screws that is used to secure it, 2 vertically on the side and 2 horizontally at the bottom. I find it quite inconvenient in comparison with the competitor (Phanteks, Fractal Design) which implements slide-lock mechanism and 1 screw to secure drive cage in place. The drives rear connectivity are facing to the CPU. As a result, the HDD/SSD cable connectors obstruct the airflow of the front air intake. I would prefer if the drives are inserted from the rear motherboard side instead from the front.
Design-13: The motherboard cutout width and height is 135mm x 133mm, sufficiently large for any 3rd party CPU heatsink for both Intel and AMD.
Design-14: The cable management space is fairly spacious compared to most M-ATX computer case out there in the market, measuring 30mm at the optical drive bay slot and 25mm at the rear motherboard tray. Large power cables such as the 20-pin power cable main connector will have no issue routing behind it.
If you are looking for a computer case which optimizes on space usage while providing flexibility in terms of water cooling and managing computer components easily and hassle free dust maintenance, this is a case I would highly recommend to you. The only major downsides I can see from this casing is basically the drive cage compartment that lacks the capability to hold 3.5″ hard drives which I anticipate it deters most consumers from migrating to this case if they currently owned these drive types. In addition, the external computer case does not exudes a minimalist professional/classy appearance which users may take into account when matching with their furniture. Below is a list of pros and cons which summarizes my thoughts of this amazing computer case from Silverstone.
- Solid steel side panels does not flex. Easy to install/remove on computer case.
- Light-weight. Makes it easy to move the case around without sweating.
- Modular drive cage. Allows you to remove the drive cage if you wish for a zero air flow obstruction for your watercooler radiator.
- Externalized dust filters for hassle-free maintenance. Since the dust filters are placed externally, it does not require you to pull out the front panel or unscrew anything to get to the dust filter.
- Spacious cable management behind the motherboard tray.
- Side panels thumbscrews difficult to screw in. Needs to align the case accurately for the screws to get into the holes.
- Fingerprint magnet! Requires cleaning up with cloth to avoid those unsightly fingerprints.
- Power cable connector connecting to HDD/SSD obstructs air flow.
- HDD/SSD installation requires removing both side panels instead of the rear.
- Installation/Removal of drive cage requires screw/unscrewing all 4 screws instead of 1. Preferable to use a thumbscrew instead of mini screws that requires screwdriver.
- Lack of rubber grommets to make it looks nicer for cable management.
- Drive cage does not support 3.5. However, it does support 1 x 3.5″ at the bottom of the drive cage.
- Unpleasant aesthetic at the top and front panel. Does not look symmetrical.
- Motherboard panel has a bend curve near the cable routing holes. This prevents user from moving the cables around it.
- Power Supply installation requires to remove 3 side panels compared to the conventional computer case which only needs 2. To remove the top panel to insert PSU, requires to remove 6 screws which is a little bit of hassle. Would prefer if its just 2 from the rear and uses the hook system for the sides.
- Using AIO 240mm water cooler at the front means sacrificing the 3.5″ HDD slot at the bottom of drive cage.
- Optical drive bays are not tool-free. Require screws to mount them securely.
- Internal default cables that comes with the case are not all black-sleeved.
- Dust filter plastic pattern for top and front does not match which looks awkward. Top air intake does not have any screw holes to firmly secure the filter in place should this be moved around.
- The fans move adequate air but aren’t that strong.