The Kolink K8 is a straightforward PC case. It's a fairly nondescript box with space for your precious PC components, plenty of ventilation, and room for expansion. It does offer a little aesthetic flair with a snazzy RGB strip down the front of the case, matching the cuboid pattern on its front, and the cut-out on top is a little more exciting than most (though frightfully does away with any sort of dust filtering for it).
Kolink Inspire K8 (opens in new tab) - Interesting but underwhelming
Aerocool Hive (opens in new tab) - Keep it cool
Aerocool Zauron (opens in new tab) - The budget case champ
Kolink Inspire K11 (opens in new tab) - Look, a proper fan
Bitfenix Nova (opens in new tab) - Storage galore and nothing more
Kolink Nimbus (opens in new tab) - Styling on a budget
Aerocool Tomahawk (opens in new tab) - Good but not good enough
Generally, though, this is a safe bet.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. Like I say, there's plenty of compatibility here for building your PC inside this without hitting any pain points, and when it comes to cooling options there are lots of spaces for fans and radiators. That includes up to three 120mm fans in the front, two in the top, and one in the rear.
Though there is only a single 120mm RGB fan pre-installed in this machine, and it's powered by a SATA connection so the RPM cannot be controlled by the user. That's better than a molex-powered fan in my opinion, but not much better. Since this case is quite so well ventilated it does actually do a fairly good job of keeping temperatures down to a relatively low number, but I feel it could be mightily improved with another fan or two. That does mean throwing more money at it, however.
Cheap case airflow test
The main ingredient for an impressive PC case is airflow, but you'd be surprised by just how many case designs don't get this quite right. Ideally, we want our case to draw in cool air from a handful of high flow intake fans at the front, over our PC's components, then out the exhaust. Cheap cases, however, don't always come with the ideal number of fans for this optimal setup, so it's extra important to find one that is smartly designed to work with limited cooling potential.
To test the thermal properties of these six cheap cases, I built a PC into each of them. Then I ran a handful of benchmarks to put the CPU and GPU under day-to-day stress and collated the average results into this graph.
2.5-inch bays: 4 max
3.5-inch bays: 2 max
Max GPU length: 300mm
Max fan support: 6 x 120mm
Lighting: Fan and front
Side panel: Yes, glass
Front panel: Power, reset, audio, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0
There's space for a pair of 3.5-inch drives and two 2.5-inch drives, or up to four 2.5-inch drives, in total.
The PSU is hidden by a shroud, which conveniently has a cutout if, for whatever reason, you really want to show off that PSU's label. The shroud keeps your cables out of sight, anyways, though I will admit I didn't stick to stuffing cables neatly during testing.
I did run into one issue with this case worth mentioning, though. Since there's no CPU cable cutout in the motherboard tray, which is fairly odd in itself, I had to run that right the way across my build. It looks quite bad as a result. That wouldn't be an issue for a case without a glass side panel, but this has one, a tempered glass side panel in fact, so it's easy to see that this case is a bit of a mess on the inside.
Where the Kolink struggles, then, is in the fact that it's not quite a match for other cases I've tested in terms of value or features. It's cheap, but not the cheapest. And it's cool, but not the coolest. The defining features of the Inspire K8 don't quite do enough to separate it from the crowd of others vying for your small quantity of cash, and a few slip-ups keep it from budget greatness. If I had to choose, I'd definitely pick the Aerocool Zauron before this, and the Zauron is actually quite a bit cheaper.
Our group test: A budget PC case is a great way to trim costs on your next PC build, yet many of the brands we're used to seeing in the top case round-ups aren't anywhere near cheap enough for what we're after. That's why I asked our friends at Overclockers UK (opens in new tab) if it would lend us its cheapest cases to see which is worth your small pile of coins, and of the seven cases they sent my way, I made my conclusions.