Sweet mercy, at first glance Koolance’s PC4-1025BK case seems like a perfect power-user box. Unfortunately, this water-cooling-enriched case is simply too small to contain certain enthusiast hardware and too complicated for the average user.
The case integrates a water-cooling mechanism directly into the chassis—Koolance’s KIT-1000KB cooler, a tri-fan setup that comes with a front-mounted controller mechanism for auto-adjusting the fans’ speeds. The whole getup is a tidy little package that cools monstrous amounts even when using the quietest mode the PC4-1025BK offers.
But impressive benchmark scores do little to alleviate our utter contempt for the design and building process that accompanies the PC4-1025KB, an experience wholly unlike what one encounters with the similarly outfitted Gigabyte Mercury Pro (January 2007).
Building a functioning machine in the case is nightmarishly complicated. You have to assemble the CPU water block yourself, attach the tubing, and somehow wedge a motherboard and high-end components upside-down amidst these plastic modified tentacles. A 7.1-inch-long power supply doesn’t even fit in this Lian-Li case—unless you remove a drive bay. An Nvidia 8800 GTX barely fits in the case as well.
It doesn’t help that Koolance neglects to include a manual for the case itself. You get a manual detailing everything you need to know about the accompanying water-cooling mechanism, but no guidance on how to set up anything else in the case. True power users may never refer to a manual, but it’d be nice to have a reference during the installation process.
Midtower cases might work for some high-end rigs, but the PC4-1025BK proves that an antiquated design plus tons of tubing spells disaster.
Built-in water-cooling setup keeps things frigid.
Cramped; too many cooling tubes; no manual.
Koolance PC4-1025BK (low)
Koolance PC4-1025BK (high)
100% Load (C)
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures measured after an hour of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system is a stock-clock QX6700 processor on an EVGA 680i mobo with an Nvidia 8800 GTX graphics card