'Manufacturers will put a screen on anything' I say staring at a distro plate with a 7-inch monitor built in

EK's new distro plate for Lian Li case with a 7-inch screen built-in
(Image credit: EK)

EK, manufacturer of water-cooling components, has stuck a screen on a distro plate for Lian Li's popular O11D XL case. At a whopping 7-inches, this screen isn't going to make for much of a second monitor, but it does continue a long trend of PC manufacturers slapping screens on things.

I will admit the EK-Quantum Reflection PC-O11D XL D5 PWM D-RGB – Screen Edition (catchy name) did catch my eye. Though mostly that's because distro plates are absolutely gorgeous, screen or otherwise. A few years ago I built an EK Fluid Gaming PC with an EK distro plate much like this one (sans screen) within the standard-sized Lian Li O11D case, and I often caught myself just staring at it in awe.

A part of me is a little sad that some of this particular distro plate is covered up by the 7-inch panel, but I'm sure some modder will find a way to make motion pictures a part of their build in spectacular fashion. Someone's got to put that compact IPS panel to good use, anyways.

It's easy enough to tweak the 1024 x 600 pixel panel. The EK-Quantum Lumen screen is hooked up just like any other: with an HDMI cable. There's also an internal USB 2.0 connection required to get it up-and-running.

The distro plate itself comes with all the trimmings you might expect: D5 pump; support for a CPU block, GPU block, and three radiators; and full RGB lighting around the edge. The 7-inch screen is also made out of a single piece of aluminium, and shouldn't ruin the industrial look if you're going for that.

Both this and the screen-less EK-Quantum Reflection² distro block are expected to be available from March, but do prepare to pay a tall sum for the benefit of that little 7-inch IPS. The standard plexi distro is €352.86, while the Screen Edition is €504.12. A big sum for such a tiny panel.

Of course there's a wider trend here of slapping screens on PC hardware, and I'll admit I can't always get my head around it. A liquid cooler that tells you your CPU temp inside your case? Okay, limited practical use depending on where you put your PC, but I get why some might want it. A tiny OLED screen on your gaming keyboard? In the realms of excessiveness but I suppose there are some practical benefits on occasion. Now how about a screen built into the stand of a gaming monitor?

Actually, that's quite enough now, thanks. And let's not forget the power supply with a screen on it that entirely sums up PC gaming for the absurd hobby it is. 


Best gaming monitor: Pixel-perfect panels
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Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.