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Appeared on: Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Thermaltake Lanbox Lite


1. Introduction

Thermaltake is a well known case manufacturer. For home users and especially for home entertainment, small form factor PCs (SFF PC) have become a convenient solution, so Thermaltake releases onto the market its new Lanbox Lite series, with an emphasis on gaming.

- Thermaltake Lanbox Lite

The release of the LANBOX has redefined the true meaning of the small form factor and portable PC market, ushering in a new generation of mobile power gaming PC. Today, Thermaltake is broadening the flexibility of the LANBOX series chassis by introducing the LANBOX Lite, which allows users from different market segments to take full advantage of all the great features found on the LANBOX.  The mirror-finish found on the LANBOX Lite exhibits extraordinary elegance along with a steel meshed front bezel design for greater thermal performance.

In addition, the LANBOX Lite inherits the LANBOX spirit. Unlike tower chassis, small form factor PC often lacks sufficient cooling capability or expandability to allow enthusiasts to build a capable gaming machine. Designed from the ground up, LANBOX Lite is a fully modular chassis where all components may be removed from the body for easier installation. Everything from Motherboard Tray to 5.25” Bay Drive cage can be easily removed with a twist of the thumb screws.

Thermal engineering played an equally important part when designing the LANBOX Lite. Today’s most high-end graphic cards or processor often requires added cooling and high-wattage power supply in order to operate at their maximum capability. Before, gaming enthusiasts that opted to build a small form factor PC were limited to mid-end graphic card or processor that resulted in mediocre performance.

Today, LANBOX Lite enables the use of standard Micro ATX motherboard, most high-end CPU, powerful graphic card and even a standard full-size PSU; the result, a small form factor PC that is equally powerful as full sized PC. LANBOX Lit is the ultimate chassis solution for your high-efficiency small form factor PC.

- Features

Efficiently Ventilation

Front panel mesh design for maximum ventilation

Piano Mirror Coating

 Detailed Features

Modular Chassis

The need for a compact yet powerful PC has inspired Thermaltake to engineer this unprecedented mobile gaming powerhouse, LANBOX Lite Unlike tower chassis, small form factor PC often lacks sufficient cooling capability or expandability to allow enthusiasts to build a capable gaming machine. Designed from the ground up, LANBOX Lite is a fully modular chassis where all component may be removed from the body for easier installation. Everything from Motherboard Tray to 5.25” Bay Drive cage can be easily removed with a twist of the thumb screws.

Thermal engineering played an equally important part when designing the LANBOX Lite. Today’s most high-end graphic cards or processor often requires added cooling and high-wattage power supply in order to operate at their maximum capability. Before, gaming enthusiasts that opted to build a small form factor PC were limited to mid-end graphic card or processor that resulted in mediocre performance. Today, LANBOX Lite enables the use of most high-end CPU, powerful graphic card and even a full-size PSII; the result, a small form factor PC that is equally powerful as full sized PC.

NVIDIA SLI Application

- Full specifications

Model
VF6000BWS
Case Type
Gaming Cube
Dimension
(W*D*H mm)
300 x 430 x 230
Window side panel
Window
Chassis Material
SECC Japanese steel
Color
Black
Cooling System
- Front : 90mm fan with blue LED x 1, 1500rpm
- Rear : 60mm fan x 2, 1800rpm (up to 60mm fan x 3)
Motherboard
Micro ATX form factor & mini ITX form factor
Drive Bays
- 5.25" x 2
- 3.5" x 3 (Exposed x 1, Hidden x 2)
Front I/O
USB 2.0 x 2, IEEE 1394 Firewire, HD-Audio
Expansion Slots
4
Weights
6.1 kg / 13.45lb

2. The Package

The retail package is big. The Thermaltake Lanbox Lite costs somewhere in the vicinity of $85~99 (+shipping) as found at several online stores.

Opening the box, everything is placed in order and well packaged so that the Lanbox Lite arrives in one piece in your home:

The case has a mirror-finish which adds points to the overall look. On the front, we find two storage bays, with eject buttons, the power up and reset switches and the power/HDD LEDs as well.

On the side, we can see the ventilation holes to help keep your system cool. These are probably most handy if you decide to install a big VGA card.

On top, we again see the impressive mirror-finish we talked about earlier, and of course more ventilation holes. These ones are useful for the PSU:

And finally, on the back, we can see the empty space for PSU, the two 60mm rotating fans, another extra spot for another 60mm fan (top right) and four PCI backplane brackets for adding extra cards to your system.


3. Installation

The time has come to fully assemble a system with the Lanbox lite. First, you have to remove all the thumb screws. Then remove the top metal plate. Here is what you will see:

At left, we see the storage bay that has an interesting feature, it's movable on rails (shown by arrows). This makes removal and installation very easy! Neat feature...

Removing the storage bay, we have better access to the internal space. We see the HDD case (holds two HDD) and the front panel where an 80mm rotating fan draws in fresh air. Note that the HDD case doesn't implement any kind of vibration absorbing mechanism, which means any HDD vibrations will be passed on to the case. This is a "problem", since our WD Raptor HDD drive makes a lot of noise...

On the right we see that the motherboard bay is easily retractable from the back, so it can be removed entirely to install the mini ATX motherboard of your choice.

Let's now push the motherboard tray to the right and remove it entirely.

Yep, everything has been removed, the motherboard bay can be installed again very easily by placing it on the tracks as shown in the following image.

Finally, we start to build our system. First, let's install a Thermaltake 480W power supply. No problems at all. The Lanbox Lite can hold any standard size PSU.

The motherboard tray in all its glory... We have removed the back cover plate and will install the corresponding one for our motherboard (Biostar TA690GAM2).

Here it is...

And a top view of the motherboard bay, everything installed:

Then, you apply almost no force to re-install the motherboard tray. Start putting the thumb screws back on the case:

A top view of the entire case. We still need to install the HDD, memory and optical storage drive. Probably, its best to use a modular PSU that will save some space with unwanted cables:

There are three cables that can be connected to the motherboard: for 1394 (firewire), USB and front Audio output:

Yes, those cables are installed, as well as the power and reset switches.

HDD is also in place.

And finally, the storage bay with an LG Blu-Ray recorder.

If you intend installing something like an Nvidia 8800GTX graphics card, several adjustments need to be made.


4. Conclusion

Thermaltake has made a very interesting proposal for those wanting to add gaming to their small form factor home entertainment PC. The Lanbox Lite case is bigger than your standard SFF case, just big enough to hold an extra large VGA card, like Nvidia's 8800GTX. Its main strengths are its very good modular design and of course the fact that everything can be installed very easily without a lot of knowledge of PC assembly. You probably need a screwdriver just to remove the HDD case, but all others are thumb screws.

This box can accommodate only Micro ATX form factor & mini ITX form factor motherboards. There are two 5.25" storage bays at the front and it can hold up to three HDDs. This means that it's futureproof for most users and covers even the highest needs of most enthusiasts. What we didn't like is the fact that the HDD case has no vibration absorption, and with our installation, our WD Raptor HDD made a lot of noise that transferred to the case. That should have been taken care of by Thermaltake. With "standard sized" optical storage drives, there is also not much room left between the storage bay and the power supply. However, most currently sold optical drives have a slim design so that is not a major problem.

The following picture gives an indication of what you can fit, more or less, in a Lanbox Lite.

Overall, we are very satisfied with Thermaltake's Lanbox Lite case. It is rated for SFF use, although it's not as small as you may think, but it will cover most of your needs. The retail price is not that high either. You can buy the case at a retail price of $90, without the power supply of course. If you are looking for a SFF case with more room and features than the usual SFF for Micro ATX, then you need look no further.



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