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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.29.04]
Manufactured by: SilverStone


HTPC Done Right (this time)

A couple weeks ago, we reviewed the Lascala LC02 from SilverStone. It attempted to be something for everyone - a VERY small form factor featuring full-ATX functionality.

As it turns out, much of the full ATX capability is lost due to the restraints of the small form factor. OOPS! So while the LC02 is technically compatible with full-ATX boards, there is not much reason for that compatibility.

If you're looking for TRUE full-ATX compatibility in an HTPC case, you are going to have to go a little bigger. For that, we have the Lascala LC03:

As you can see, it is quite a bit larger than the tiny LC02. That doesn't mean it's huge though! Its depth is lower than many other HTPC-wannabe desktops (including one from Cooler Master we'll be looking at in the near future).

The front bezel is a gorgeous brushed-aluminum. This is all the aluminum you'll get in this case however; the rest is contructed from steel. As you know, though, steel doesn't always mean CHEAP. Like we've come to expect from SilverStone (even when they were a division of Cooler Master), the fit and finish on the LC03 is immaculate. All edges are rolled, and everything fits perfectly. More on that later.

Whereas the small LC02 allowed for only a notebook optical drive, the LC03 has two 5.25" bays, and two 3.5" bays. SilverStone also managed to include some front panel expansion ports; a pair of USB ports, a FireWire port, and a headphone/mic port. Thankfully, these ports are also hidden from view during normal use.

Since the LC03 is so tall, it allows for true ATX expansion capability. You'll have no problem installing as many expansion cards as your motherboard will allow.

Exhaust is handled by the single 60x60x25mm fan. This fan is rated at 3600 RPM, making 25 dB. Not exactly 'silent' but 'sufficiently quiet' in most cases. Thankfully, this exhaust fan uses a 3 pin adapter, so can be connected to a motherboard header. This is great for those boards that have fan management, and also allows you to keep track of what your system is doing.

Along with this single exhaust fan (and of course whatever exhaust capabilities your PSU will add) is a spot for an 80mm intake fan on the bottom of the case. However, a fan is not installed by default. Do further aid air intake, both sides of the case are vented (in a tasteful way that does not ruin the clean look of the case).

Another nice addition to the external of this case are the 'high-end-stereo-like' feet being used. This is a nice touch, and this case will fit right in with any high end AV setup. By the way, it's also available in black. Both finishes are extremely glossy, although once the case is setup on a rack, chances are the only thing you'll see is the aluminum front. No complaints here!

Now that we're familiar with the outside of the LC03, let's dig a little deeper and check out the installation!

Next Page: (Internal Design; Installation; Conclusion)