SilverStone Kublai KL07 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

SilverStone's Kublai KL07 mid-tower computer case deserves your attention. Join us for our full review.

@chad_sebring
Published Fri, Nov 10 2017 8:55 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 34 IMAGES

We had thought it had been some time since we last looked at a SilverStone chassis, and looking further into it, we see it has been over a year since we last saw what it was they had new. At this time, it is a chassis series which we, up to now, have not had our hands-on at least one version of it. As such, this will be our first venture into the Kublai Series of cases from SilverStone. From what we can gather from their site, the Kublai series has offered a mix of cases, all mid-tower or smaller, and none of the current versions, since the original was released in 2007 seem to share aesthetics or interior layouts. With just images and specifications to compare the latest chassis too, we do think the SilverStone may be offering the best Kublai so far.

The Kublai Series is a performance-based chassis design, and while you may seem some similarities and hints of previous iterations, there is one huge change afoot in the chassis we have now. While earlier versions toyed around with the internal layout, and all have plusses and minuses depending on what each user needs, SilverStone addresses noise this time, like in no other Kublai we can see. To do this, SilverStone has incorporated open cell egg crate foam behind four of the panels. So while roomy, with plenty of room for airflow, this sleek and contemporary design will draw no attention to itself due to the hum of fans.

Of course, we do not have any experience with the Kublai Series of cases, but we have much experience with SilverStone and have come to expect a certain level of craftsmanship and features in any case we see from them. We were not let down with the Kublai KL07 Mid-Tower Chassis that we have been sent to deliver an opinion on. What you are about to see is a simple exterior, a feature-rich interior, all wrapped into a silent chassis which sports USB Type-C. For many, this is the perfect case for locations where sound can be overwhelming, as well as for those who don't care for flashy aesthetics and appreciate a chassis which will virtually disappear in the office. If these criteria are high on your list of must-have, then the SilverStone KL07 should be right up your alley.

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The Kublai KL07 is also known as the SST-KL07B, and as far as we can tell, black is the only option for color at this time. The vast majority of the chassis is made of steel, which has been painted inside and out. At the same time, certain parts are also made of ABS plastic, which is also black, and are color matched well to the steel. The KL07 offers a power and reset button on the front bezel, but the rest of the I/O panel is contained to the top of the case. There are no optical drive bays in this design. The chassis is 222mm wide; it is 510mm tall, it is 467mm deep, weighs in at 7.7 kilograms, and takes up 52.8 liters of space.

Inside of the chassis, you can fit an ATX, Micro-ATX, and while not shown, you can also use a Mini-ITX motherboard. There are three hidden drive trays for 2.5" drives on the back of the motherboard tray, and there is also a removable HDD cage with three trays, capable of housing wither 3.5" or 2.5" drives. The PSU is mounted on the bottom and hidden under a PSU cover, and we can also see there is a limitation to said PSU of 140mm if the HDD cage is in use. Without it, there is 200mm of room for the PSU and wires. The CPU cooler height is odd, as it states 163 to 172mm of room, and this depends on if you want to smash or remove some of the sound deadening foam inside of the panel to make room for slightly taller CPU cooling options.

As for the cooling options, the Kublai is well appointed. The front of the chassis has room for three 120mm or 140mm fans, and out of the box, this location is filled with a pair of 140mm fans. The rear of the chassis can use either a 120mm or 140mm fan, and this is where the third pre-installed 140mm fan is located. The top of the chassis can also house a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans. When it comes to water cooling options, the front will allow for a 280mm or 360mm radiator as the largest options, and of course, one could use the back of the case for a single 120mm or 140mm radiator. The top is said to support 240mm and 280mm radiators, but this depends on the motherboard chosen as well as the RAM used in the build.

At the point we searched to locate a retail price, we found that the Kublai KL07 is not widely available at this time. We were, however, able to find it on Amazon, but they name the chassis oddly there, so the typical searches came up empty. We located what Amazon calls the "Kublai Series ATX Tower Case with USB 3.0 Type-C and Sound Dampening Foam for Quiet Systems (KL07B)" listed at $95.53 with free shipping to Prime members. At near $100 SilverStone has quite the climb to reach the bar set by many well-equipped mid-tower solutions, yet at the same time, we do feel the SilverStone is up to the task. Stick with us as we carefully look over the Kublai KL07, and see whether SilverStone has what it takes to get that $100 from your account.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

Packaging

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SilverStone uses plain cardboard with black print on it to keep costs down on something that is likely to be thrown away. The front panel of this box offers the logo, company name, and motto at the top, with a large rendering of the chassis left of center. The bulk of the room is used for the case name and seven features found in this design.

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The side of the box offers the company name in full, the support address, as well as the main site address at the top. Behind the two Fed Ex additions, there are the same seven features we found on the front, but this time listed in ten other languages.

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The back of the box has the company and product names at the top, with the bulk of the panel used for the rendered view of behind the motherboard tray. There are eleven features pointed to, and described, around it, pointing out all of the things that should sway you to Team Kublai.

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On the last of the panels, we are told the story behind the drive to produce this chassis, and the main features of it. Below that, we then find the specifications chart, which is similar to what we had shown earlier.

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There are shiny bits on the chassis which have plastic clinging to them, as the first layer of protection. It is after those are in place that the entire chassis is wrapped in a clear plastic bag, with the paperwork and hardware floating free inside of it. Once those steps are completed, the Kublai KL07 is set into a pair of thin Styrofoam caps. Even though the hardware rubs the chassis in transit, and even with slight damage to the box, the chassis inside is blemish free and square, ready for close examination.

SilverStone Kublai SST-KL07B Mid-Tower Chassis

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The front of the KL07 is flat, it is rectangular, there is SilverStone's name in the bottom-right corner, but the left side is where the design is. While the majority of the bezel is matte in finish, the left side offers five ribs and six valleys, which are all made of shiny plastic. Also in this section of the front bezel, near the top, are the power and reset buttons.

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The top of the chassis is also matte in its finish, and we see the ribs make an immediate turn to the right and run along the right edge of the chassis after a left-hand turn. Both sides of the top panel are ventilated like we see on the left, and is how any air would flow out of the top of the chassis.

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Oddly placed to us, but the I/O panel is found on the right side edge of the chassis. In it, there is the USB 3.0 Type-C port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and the pair of 3.5mm jacks for headphone and microphone attachment.

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The left side of the chassis is solid, with no window to allow noises out of the chassis. The panel aligns well to the top and the front components of the chassis, and we see more ventilation as we found at the top, also running down the side of the bezel.

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At the back of the chassis, there is a fair bit of room above the rear I/O and the exhaust fan location. Under them, we find the seven ventilated expansion slots which are accessed externally, and at the bottom is where the PSU is to be installed.

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The right side of the chassis is a mirror copy of what the left side looks like. The panel is solid, both backed with egg crate foam inside of them, and the ventilation is the same at the front and at the top.

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Supporting the chassis are four plastic feet with round rubber pads on them. At the front of the case we see the opening to aid in the front bezel removal, and at the back, we find a dust filter for the PSU, which we removed with a tab, and it drops away to be cleaned.

Inside the Kublai KL07

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Removing the bezel is easy to do, especially with no wires attached to it. We can see the egg crate foam used inside of the four panels also used inside of the bezel, which is then backed with a dust filter seen on the left of the chase. In the chassis we see the two fans installed, and we can also see the switches for the power and reset buttons at the top-left edge.

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Our first look inside offers a wide-open space at the top of the chassis for the motherboard, video card, and any sort of additional cooling. The lower part of the chassis is blocked from view by a PSU cover. Even though you cannot see inside of it through the doors, there is no reason why it cannot look awesome when the panels come off.

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Inside of the bezel, there is room for three 120mm or 140mm fans, but Silverstone also offers a mounting plate as an option as well. For those using a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans, or those wanting to install a radiator here, these fans are currently mounted to a removable plate to make installation of dual cooling setups much easier.

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After removing the top cover of the chassis, we found that there was a magnetic dust filter covering the honeycomb mesh too. There is room in the roof of the chassis for dual 120mm or dual 140mm cooling options, and we can also see that the I/O panel is also mounted to the chassis so that the panels are not hanging on by wires.

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The motherboard tray offers nine locations for standoffs to fit Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards. The CPU cooler hole is large, there are ten tie points, and two of the four wire holes in the tray comes with grommets in them.

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The PSU cover offers a hole for wires to reach the bottom of the motherboard through, and on the front edge is a knock-out for, what we assume would be an LED nameplate. The top of the PSU cover has optional holes for the HDD cage, so it can slide back if needed, and the front edge has a removable plate for using three fan locations or extra room for radiator headers.

Inside the Kublai KL07 Continued

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The back of the chassis houses the last of three, 3-pin powered, 140mm fans. We do like that all of the expansion slot covers are removable, but with the external mounting mechanism, you may encounter the fact that they do not stay in place well when installing an expansion card.

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Behind the motherboard tray, to the left are three plastic trays which pop out on the left side, which allows an SSD to be slide into them, without removing them entirely from the motherboard tray. The wires are bundles in hook and loop straps, and the tie points are where most will need to manage PSU and front I/O wires.

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At the front of the chassis, under the PSU cover, is this three-bay HDD cage. Each tray will allow a 3.5" or 2.5" drive to be installed, and the cage can move away from the front or can be removed altogether.

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The location for the PSU is at the back, with wide slots to allow the PSU to breathe. The PSU rests upon steel bumps, and the two can be seen with tabs to keep the PSU from sliding too far in. Keep in mind, the use and placement of the HDD cage do play into what PSU will fit.

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On the left we find the power LED, power switch, reset switch, and HDD LED wires, all of which are black. There are two native USB 3.0 connectors, one of which is for the Type-C port, and the other is for the pair of USB 3.0 ports. Lastly, we have the HD Audio cable, which is also sleeved in black so that all of these wires blend in with the chassis.

Hardware & Documentation

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Inside of a small bag, found in the much larger bag containing the manual, we find all of this hardware. SilverStone provides a socket to drive in the nine standoffs if all of them are required. They also provided us with twenty-one 6-32 thread screws for the PSU, expansion cards, and motherboard installations. The smaller M3 screws in the front are twelve in total and are used to mount 2.5" drives into the six trays.

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The manual is one sheet of paper, folded into quarters. Within the eight panels, there are basic steps to installing the main components into it, the specifications, and not much else. The renderings contained within are helpful, as the text descriptions offered are limited.

Case Build & Finished Product

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Without optical bay covers, without mesh, and without tempered glass, the front view of the KL07 never changes. We still get sleekness with a dressed-up feeling, where the Kublai would fit next to the desk at home, at the office, and possibly even in the living room.

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The motherboard installs without much fuss, and the video card slides into place, but the covers for the other slots then fall out. We did need to remove the cover plate at the front of the PSU cover to allow the lower header room, but still managed it easily when it was all mounted to a plate that tabbed into place and locks down with a pair of thumbscrews.

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The dust shield snapped into place, and after some time fiddling with them, the slot covers were all replaced, the hinged cover shut, and screws placed in holes to lock the video card into place. The PSU aligns well at the back of the chassis, but keep in mind; you need a short one if you plan to use the HDD cage.

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While routing space on the left is supposed to be for SATA power and data cables, this is where the USB Type-C cable was run, as our motherboard does not support two native USB 3.0 headers. The bulk of the wires run through the straps provided in the chassis, with tie straps used sparingly at the top, right side, and across the bottom of the motherboard tray. We did remove the HDD cage to allow enough room for the PSU and cables. Otherwise, we do not have one small enough to leave it is and still power the system.

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From every angle, no matter which side you want to view of the KL07, it looks the same as when we got it out of the box. It is not until you attempt to move the chassis that you can tell there is something inside, and we appreciate this feature of the chassis.

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When the chassis and system are powered, the only thing you will see is that the blue power LED is on all of the time. There is an occasional flicker of the red HDD activity LED, just below the blue LED, but we missed it as the M.2 drive boots so fast. Also, from this distance, the chassis is not heard. We have to be closer than a foot from the chassis before a slight hum can be heard, on any side other than the back, as it does push some noise with the exhaust fan.

Final Thoughts

There is much to love in a case such as this Kublai SST-KL07B mid-tower chassis. From the outside it is unassuming, and the lack of volume from it while under power is fantastic. The smooth panels, the lack of much going on outside of some shiny plastic stripes, allows the case to go almost anywhere and blend into the background. The addition of open cell egg crate foam inside of the front bezel, inside of the top panel, and inside of both side panels, does increase the weight but is worth every ounce of additional heft. Even without a view of the interior, the chassis is well appointed, everything can be hidden from view, and what is left are the motherboard, cooling system, and the video card in full view. Silverstone could have easily offered an older layout, since nobody will see it past the build stage, but they went the extra mile to deliver the top trends in current cases, even if sealed away from view. That is saying something, as many would not go this far with a chassis that is built for performance and sound reduction, many would have slapped something together and called it done.

With all of the good, there are a few minor things we need to address. First off, the right side panel did not seem to align properly without a ton of force shoving the bottom of the panel all the way closed. We did eventually get there, but the left side panel works so much better. Motherboards these days are coming with USB 3.1 Type-C native connections on them now, and sending this chassis with a Type-C connection which isn't USB 3.1 and requires a motherboard with dual USB 3.0 headers, seems to be a bit of a cop-out. We couldn't use one or the other, where if had SilverStone made the USB Type-C port with the same connection we found in the Cosmos, we would not be here now addressing this.

The last thing we felt needed mention has to do with storage. The HDD cage heavily limits the amount of PSU which can fit inside of the chassis if you plan to use 3.5" drives. We also would have liked the SSD trays to be facing the other way. As they sit now, the wires have little room to be installed, where if the connectivity end of the drives faced the right, there would be much better access to connect them. The last thing we want to address has to do with the I/O panel placement. While not a deal breaker, the chassis is built to sit on the right, as any would if the left panel had a window. Even so, SilverStone makes you reach all the way over the chassis to the right side to make any front panel connections.

You certainly do get quite the bang for the buck with this chassis. SilverStone could have easily offered a rehash of a previous Kublai chassis, yet they took the time to do most things correct and proper the first time around, leaving customers with a silent mid-tower chassis they could be proud to take the side panel off of. There are a few misses to the design that we found, and specific considerations that need to be made when choosing this chassis. At the same time, we feel the $95 price tag is not out of bounds. We were able to achieve average temperatures inside of the Kublai KL07 with virtually no sound coming from it.

There are only a select few cases of this caliber on the market, and if silent, compact, fully featured, clean inside and out, and some modularity are all boxes that need to be ticked, we feel SilverStone has an answer for you. The SST-KL07B may have a couple of things we would have personally changed; it is still a sturdy, well thought out chassis that can hide a beast inside of its sound dampened panels.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance96%
Quality92%
Features88%
Value92%
Overall92%

The Bottom Line: A few minor sticking points are not enough to keep us from recommending the SST-KL07B! It is sturdy, sleek, silent, and SilverStone put much thought into this Kublai mid-tower chassis. For less than $100, it is hard to go wrong choosing this case.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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