Single page Print
I'm ready for my klose-up

Here's a pic of the KL-I915A next to Shuttle's SB81P XPC. The Kloss is slightly larger than the Shuttle, as you can see. For the record, the dimensions are 223mm wide by 303mm long by 221mm high. For the Americans, that's 8.8" by 11.9" by 8.7".

A view from the back, and it's here that differences between the two systems start to become apparent. While the Shuttle's motherboard sits on the bottom of the box, the Kloss motherboard is elevated, with plenty of space underneath. The reasons for this arrangement will become clear when we look inside the system.

Up until now, it's probably been difficult to tell where the drive bay doors are on the Kloss, which is a statement about the machine's design. For this picture, I've opened up the bottom door (which hides a 3.5" bay, two USB 2.0 ports and a mini-Firewire port) and propped open the top door (which covers the 5.25" bay). The bottom door has a catch which holds it flush with the rest of the face when it's closed; the top door is spring-loaded and is pushed out of the way by the optical drive's tray. Headphone and microphone jacks round out the available ports up front.

You'll notice that, unlike most other systems that hide the optical drives behind a door, there is no "pass-through" button that operates the drive's eject button. To open the optical drive on the KL-I915A, you press the Eject button located above the optical drive. This sends a signal to the drive through the IDE bus, causing the tray to extend. This signal operates at a hardware level, so it's not necessary to have special drivers or even an operating system running for this to work. Other than this behavior, however, none of the "CD player" controls (play/pause, stop, etc.) do anything outside of Windows. The KL-I915A can't play CDs or DVDs outside of Windows or with the PC powered off. Additionally, I should mention that you can't use the front panel controls to retract the drive tray once it's open, so you have to push it closed manually (and hope that your drive reacts to such a push by closing the tray, as not all of them do).

A closer shot of the rear. The power supply resides in the lower left corner, with the expansion slots directly above it and the drive bays to the right. Although there is a fan opening next to the power supply, it is unused. The lone exhaust fan resides at the top of the case above the I/O ports.

Here's a close-up of the hole on the top of the case. Although the term "blowhole" has been around in case modding lingo for years, the ducted CPU fan on the KL-I915A actually draws fresh air down into the case through this hole, making it less a blowhole than a, umm, suckhole. A sticker warns you to keep "other objects" away from the hole. This raises the question: other than what? Other than the warning sticker? Other than the hole? The mind boggles. Just don't set a book on top of the hole.