Take The Train: Lian Li PC-CK101, Built, Tested, And...Driven?

Lian Li sent us a locomotive chassis that wraps around a PC; it's time for daddy to turn into a boy again. We'll show you how to get the right parts into this case and how to get it mobile. Then, we'll take it to a train museum full of steam-powered tech.

Lian Li's PC-CK101 was apparently a big hit at Christmas. It sold out, and remains so, at most online vendors. The kit consists of a locomotive and a tender, which house all of the components you'd typically find in a PC. When you step up to the 'L' model, you also get 10 feet of railroad track and a motor.

So, here's our plan of action. First, we're going to build a complete PC into the locomotive. Then we're going to make the whole thing mobile. Finally, we're taking our rail-based configuration to an outdoor train museum, just for kicks. All aboard, friends.

Even without its fancy tracks and motor, this case is unique. It deserves an objective review, and we aren't going to sugar-coat any of its drawbacks. Lian Li does demonstrate with this showpiece what amazing things skilled metal workers can build from aluminum parts. It's all the more impressive that the company was able to bring this chassis to market, rather than simply making it some sort of exhibition piece.

Model Name
PC-CK101 (+ PC-CK101L with motor and tracks)
Mini-ITX, Mini Tower
Width: 7.3", Height: 10.2", Length: 20.3"
Black (Powder-Coated)
Body: Aluminum
Windows: Acrylic
9 lbs.
Drive Bays
1 x 5.25" external (Slim ODD)
1 x 3.5" internal (hard drive; only if the motor kit is not installed)
2 x 2.5" internal (SSD; if the motor kit is installed, only 1x)
1 x 120 mm with dust filter
2 x USB 3.0 (on the locomotive)
Box Size
CK101S 21.8" x 9.7" x 15.2" (L x W x H)
CK101L 21.8" x 9.7" x 24.7" (L x W x H)
Power Supply
SFX PSU (made by FSP)
300 W 80 PLUS
PriceApprox. $229 (PC-CK101S w/o motor, 20" track)
Approx. $312 (PC-CK101L including motor, 10' track)

So, those are the speeds and feeds. But how easy is it to get a PC built inside? What follows is the blow-by-blow account. Minor hurdles did have to be overcome, but in the end we had a lot of fun.

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