LianLi DK-05F Desk Case - Expensive, worth it for the long term? Moddable and upgradable?

RanceJustice

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Joined
Jun 9, 2003
Messages
5,940
One notable [H]ardcore PC case dynamic is relatively niche, a high-end desk that acts as a high-end PC enclosure internally. There have been relatively few of them over the years, from the boutique RedMercury years ago, to more recent entries from Italian manufacturer Hydra, a promising prototype design from CaseLabs that sadly never came to be prior to their closure, and finally a handful of options fro LianLi. The latest option from LianLi, the DK-05F (and its smaller brother the DK-04F) were released earlier this year as a refresh, modernizing the design of these lineups and expanding their features.

https://www.lian-li.com/dk-05f/

Built primarily from aluminum as is LianLi custom, the DK-05F offers motorized standing desk platform for height adjustment, electro-reactive tempered glass top that can vary between opaque and transparent at the push of a button, and internals capable of housing at least 2 full PCs and lots of other components/cooling. All this comes at quite a cost, nearing $2000 USD and I'm wondering if it is really worth it. EKWB even has created liquid cooling "Distro plates" custom built for the desk. . Buying expensive, niche cases is nothing new to me, but I admit that I can't help but look at the difference between something like CaseLabs (designed and built in the US, supported with tons of aftermarket parts and upgrades for ages etc..) vs the new line of expensive , $500+ cases from Corsair (1000D), Phanteks (Enthoo Elite), and others including LianLi - all of which are major brands with global manufacturing and the like; I am not sure if this is a fair assessment. Even if we assume the price of the DK-05F is fair, I have some concerns that have thus far kept me from being willing to purchase the case.

Notably, if I'm going to spend $2000 on a PC case / desk ,I'm expecting it to last for the long haul. 5-10 years at least. One reason I could invest in CaseLabs without fear (until their closing) was that users could buy individual components of the case as their needs varied and technology progressed. Wanted a front panel with 2x 120mm fans instead of a see-through glass plate? Just buy that panel. Buy new FlexBay components, additional HDD/SSD mounts, radiator mounts of different sizes and locations etc. Old front panels with USB 2.0 were replaced by USB 3.0 (and eventually 3.1 type C, in some models right before they closed) modules - it was a fantastic system. Sadly, I don't see anything like this for the LianLi DK-05F, or really any "big name brand" products. It doesn't' appear that both system's front panel options are designed with modular replacement in mind, which is disappointing for such a high end product. Rather, it appears they built it into the front finish with aesthetics in mind exclusively; I'm not sure how easy it would be to upgrade these - especially with different connectors, even if one could find or commission cables and connectors to do so. It would have been nice if each front panel was part of a modular section, such as in one of multiple 5.25" bays that could be swapped as necessary - if you didn't have a secondary system for instance, you could simply swap out the left-side control/front panel module, for another bay device.

While I am pleased that LianLi includes a pretty comprehensive kit for the safe mounting of monitor arms in up to 3 places on the desk, It would be nice if they offered a variety of different components and layout options for the interior as well. For instance, plates to close off areas where there will be no fans, differing radiator mounts, additional SSD/HDD racks, extenders for vertical mounting of GPUs etc. It is rumored that upcoming Intel and AMD platforms (notably Zen3) will be supporting the USB 4 standard, and most certainly others will follow suit in the coming years. Thus, having front-panel support for USB4 and future iterations of other hardware spec on the desk would be nice. Also, for the price I'd really expect a top-notch dust filter setup, but I am unsure if that is part of the package at all! Sure, I could go get a custom setup made at Demcifilter, but I really think when you're talking $2000 that should be included!

Overall I can see a lot of nice features in the LianLi DK-05F, but there are a handful of things that are keeping me from purchase. Now maybe I've missed some niche manufacturer's desk case that answers all my concerns so if you know of one please let me know, but failing that I am considering how to proceed. I'm not sure if LianLi is responsive to enthusiast inquiries and advice on development in this regard. Awhile ago I listed some of the concerns in the "contact us" message form, but didn't hear anything in return. LianLi seems to be one of the few who seems to be iterating on the high end desk case, so at worst getting in contact with the right person may mean that they will produce aftermarket upgrade parts for these desks and/or some design changes/improvements for the next iteration.

So is there anyone out there with the DK-05F or thinking of getting it? Have experience modding in the kind of upgrades discussed above? Anything else to consider in the calculus of such an investment? Short of convincing the System76 crew to essentially act as the new CaseLabs (Check them out - System76 is overall pretty great, supports Linux, and has been making custom cases and accessories for their laptops and desktops alike recently, made in the US! Unfortunately, they don't sell them a la carte as of yet), I'm not sure what else is out there!
 

Aireoth

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Oct 12, 2005
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I've looked at it for years, something has always pushed me another direction.

I love the idea of a well designed desk that also functions as a computer case, especially with all the rgb coming into play, a few risers and lighting control and voila.

I too am curious if anyone has any experience.
 

merid14

Weaksauce
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Messages
106
Super interesting concept. $2k for a standing desk isn’t too bad. Considering you also get a case with it and it is a niche product. I really like the see through top.
I think the question might be. How often to you completely upgrade your setup? How much air flow do you need etc.

For me a pc can last nearly 10 years with upgrades like video cards and hard drives.
 

Krazy925

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Sep 29, 2012
Messages
4,654
Not sure if anyone is still interested but I did pull the trigger on the DK-04FX two months ago.

It's still in boxes because I bought a house like 10 days before and gutted the whole thing.

I will be building it shortly and will probably have a build log or some shit if anyone is interested.
 
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