Lancool II Review – The New BENCHMARK For $90!
What’s up good people, I’m Dmitry and this is my review on the Lancool II. I have not been this excited about a mid-tower enclosure in a while, and Lian Li seems like it’s surprising everyone and coming up with fresh ideas.
Build & Design
It’s easily to one of my favorite cases of the year, followed by the Phanteks P600S because of that awesome fabric mesh integration. The Lancool II is an affordable, feature-packed, and good-looking case available in black or white that I’m excited to break down for you.
All right, so first of all, Lian Li is moving away from aluminium as hitting affordable prices with steel is just easier. The frame and all the paneling are steel, I can’t find anything aluminium on the enclosure. I’m not a fan of the slightly grainy texture as it still picks up finger oils, but the build quality is fine.
There is a swivel tempered glass panel to magnetic shroud doors. The magnets are right behind the rubber pads and they are quiet strong. The same goes for the TG panels that look very clean, but there’s no way to fully secure them. I love the perforation design across the front panel and even the sides. You can see the bottom indentation is on purpose for better GPU airflow, while the front sections are covered with a dust filter that is lighter on one side for better light elimination. I feel like that’s pretty genius. The front panel also connects with prongs so you never have to deal with cables.
Of course, there addressable LED strips that come with plenty of color presets, but if your motherboard supports 5V ARGB input just plug in the included cable for traditional color sync. There is also a male connector into which you can plug in other lighting strips. Speaking of accessories, you can get a vertical GPU kit, but it is a bit pricey and replaces all the horizontal slots. Thankfully, it’s far away from the glass panel which allows your GPU to breathe. There’s also a hot swap kits for the hard drive cage, that you install behind the cage, and that is an awesome way to encourage people to use that space for storage. The hard drive cage can be removed or moved for appropriate placement in case you remove the front shroud section for radiators or need extra space in front of your PSU.
Cooling & I/O
What they find really interesting is that front fan bracket, it supports triple 120mm fans on the internal side or dual 140mm fans on the exterior side. It is fully removable and modular, so there are four positions available for this bracket, either with the exterior facing the front in two positions or with the exterior side facing inside the case. This gives you many clearance configurations, but more importantly allows easy push-pull setups since the bracket is installed from the front.
On my pre-production sample, the plastic tabs were not glued to the frame so they kept popping out, but that will not be an issue for retail units. They will also fix these I/O cables that will be fully tucked away behind the motherboard tray, as on my unit they kind of bunch out too much.
The I/O is up top with lighting and power/reset buttons, combo audio Jack, dual USB 3.0 ports, and an optional space for a Type-C connection if you get the accessory. I guess if you really need Type-C it’s not that expensive to add.
Top cooling options are standard with dual 120mm and 140mm fans and their respective radiators. As you can see, the mouth is both on rails and an offset option is available to clear the motherboard area. We have three fans included on the case, one the front and two for exhaust. You can further mount dual 120mm fans on top of the PSU shroud just below the GPU and the cable bar beside the motherboard is rotatable to make room for E-ATX motherboards up to 280mm.
Assembling The System
I installed the new ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme TRX40 motherboard just for fun and it fit, but those top connections on the top right are a bit uncomfortable to reach. Therefore, I swapped out that motherboard and mounted an X299 motherboard with a Cascade Lake X processor and a Noctua cooler facing up, as otherwise it overlaps with the first PCIe slot. And here’s where we ran into our first issue: our graphics card made contact with the cable cover because the cable bar is slightly higher than the SATA connections. This is a concern because what if it shorts out or prevents a proper mount. And this EVGA GTX 2070 had a reference style PCB, so it’s not unusually long. But what happens if we mount an even longer and larger card like the ROG RTX 2080 STRIX? I even the rotated the cable bar so it’s slightly further out and the same thing happened, but this time the plastic trout of the cooler is making contact and you can press down into the cable bar. However, after all the worry, when we placed the computer upright the graphics card no longer made contact with the cable bar. It seems like the weight of the motherboards and all the hardware on top of it was pressing into the frame so the motherboard tray was lower than normal.
The interior, as you can see, is super clean. I love the cutout at the top right for my dual 8-pin connectors on this X299 motherboard, it’s very well placed. I would say the same thing for the cutouts below the motherboard and for the cable bar too. I also liked the utilization of that shroud door to house two more SSDs, nice and convenient and easy to route. The paneling behind the motherboard is very well done from a coverage perspective. You can see they almost covered the entire area, with only the SSDs visible. I would actually leave the TG panel off as this layered look for the rear is just more interesting.
Cleaning Up The Insides
In total, we have three removable panels. The main cover for the CPU cutout, a smaller cover behind it that’s used to prevent cables from making contact with the motherboard, and then the largest panel to hide the main side opening. So far this is the best panel design I’ve worked with that doesn’t get in the way of routing cables. However, I absolutely hate the thumbscrews Lian Li used here, because they are just not easy to handle.
I cleaned up everything in about 10 minutes, securing all the cable in their own sections, and this is the first time I actually used all the cable ties that come with the case just so the panels go into position without any force. The end result is an absolutely clean interior and rear section too.
Lastly, the PSU filter is removable from the back with this vented design. Normally, we see this on front panels like on Fractal Design cases, so it’s good quality, no complaints here.
Temps & Conclusion
Since I built this with new hardware than my normal test configuration, I don’t have comparable temperature results, but here’s the cooling data with the front panel on and off. As I suspected, the dual exhaust fans work their magic, plus the semi-open front panel delivers fresh air for the GPU. It is not an oven and for $89 USD it meets that satisfactory criteria. Now we haven’t given out the case of word in the while, but the Lancool II is the new definition of a budget-friendly, performance-oriented enclosure and it deserves the Hardware Canucks Dam good Award.