Microcool Banchetto K Open Air Test Bench Review

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The Microcool Banchetto K is more of the bencher’s type table as everything can be mounted to the platform and easily removed to move on to the next item. The low platform single stage design made it possible to mount and dismount hardware components faster. The new Banchetto K is about the 1/5 of the size of the older Banchetto 101 making it very compact and easier to transport.

Microcool Banchetto K Open Air Test Bench Review
 

Introduction

Back when we reviewed the Banchetto 101, the first open-air test setup from Microcool, we marked it as the best and most complete testing table during its time. The features were unmatched and the look was brilliant. But the original Banchetto was more of a case than a test bench because once items were put in place like the power supply and drives it was time consuming to remove to test another component. Well, that has changed with the introduction of the Banchetto K.

The Microcool Banchetto K is more of the bencher’s type table as everything can be mounted to the platform and easily removed to move on to the next item. The low platform single stage design made it possible to mount and dismount hardware components faster. The new Banchetto K is about the 1/5 of the size of the older Banchetto 101 making it very compact and easier to transport.

Microcool’s take on the Banchetto K

Banchetto K is the Microcool proposal for those who are getting to know Modding for the first time and for those who are already experts in Overclocker and want an ergonomic support for their hardware. Its compact structure allows for easy access to all system components and provides hardware in an orderly and rational manner.You can house up to 4 fans and, if you want, use it as a starting point for liquid nitrogen cooling. Banchetto K offers exceptional compatibility with all standard motherboards and will allow you to easily assemble and disassemble components.
 


Specifications


Model

Banchetto K

Dimensions

645(L) x 348(W) x 35(H) mm

Weight

2.5 Kg

Materials

Expansive polyurethane, steel

Colors

Black

MB support

ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, micro-ATX

Expansion slot

9 slots

3.5” housing

1 slot

2.5” housing

up to 2 with adaptor

PSU housing

1 slot

Cooling system

up to 4 120mm fans

Features

  • Made from expansive polyurethane.
  • Light and resistant to shocks and chemical agents
  • Easy to use
  • Rapid access to all PC components
  • Rational hardware setup
  • Fast locking system for motherboards, VGA and PCI
  • Up to 4 fans to cool the motherboard
  • Maximum compatibility with ATX power supplies
  • Especially designed for liquid nitrogen cooling

Closer Look

Computer cases are no longer limited to the typical box-shaped aluminum chassis. It is normal to start your build by selecting the proper case but we know that today computers are used in a lot more different ways than before. Aside from enthusiast builders we have today, we also have other types of computer users such as the overclockers and technicians. These users tweak, troubleshoot and push computer hardware to the limit which requires easy access to the components. These are the very people open air test benches like the Banchetto K is aimed for including the enthusiast builders of course. Many companies have bought their version to market but none came close to what Microcool offers. We had the chance to review their first bench which was the Banchetto 101 and now we have their latest bench in the lab which is the Banchetto K.

The Microcool Banchetto K has very little in common with the 101 version. The Banchetto K is a single deck unit wherein all the components would be placed on the same level. This method resembles more of a real test bench than the 101 did. This makes it more portable and easier to change components as the benching session moves on.

The main platform of the Banchetto K is made of a very durable polyurethane plastic. Any constant changes of components should not put much wear on the bench. Measuring 25.3” long and 13.7” wide, it takes up quite a bit of territory on your desk. But then again when you are benching all you need is what fits on the Banchetto K, a monitor and your input devices. We mentioned it was portable it weighs 5.5 pounds making it light to carry around.

We are going to describe the Banchetto K starting from the left and moving to the right and our usual exterior/interior method. One important piece of information here is that the Banchetto K comes with a few pieces that will have to be mounted to the bench before it can be used.

 

One of the two locations for fan mounting is located to the far left. There are four fan brackets that are included with the bench that mounts to the long black strip we see here. With the brackets mounted, you can easily see how the fans would be fitted. The brackets are only geared for 25mm thick 120mm fans limiting your choices. Also, with the brackets in place you can see that radiators can be mounted here as well.

The center of the Microcool Banchetto K is for motherboard placement. The bench can hold any of the following motherboard sizes: ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, micro-ATX. There are a total of thirteen stand-off posts to secure motherboard. Each post has a thumbscrew to secure the motherboard in place.

There is a momentary switch with leads to connect to the motherboard. The opening next to the switch is to allow the leads from the switch to run to motherboard.

 

There are seven metal posts that come with the bench to screw in and secure any expansion cards you may add to the build.

Next, we have the last of the fan mounting. Everything that applies to the first location applies here as well. But if you decide to actually place drives on the bench, you would lack space for a radiators unless you are creative with the mounting.

Speaking of drives, there is a single location for them. This location can house a single 3.5” drive without any other accessories. You can mount up to two 2.5” drives with the use of two foam inserts. No matter what drive type used, they are not secured in place so be careful when going to move the bench around. The SATA cables are routed through the small opening we see here and out the one we mentioned earlier.

The last area for your added components would be for your power supply. The slot is pretty long and is able to hold any length of PSU you can purchase today.


Build Images

The Microcool Banchetto K is a simple outfit to build around but there are a couple of things that one should before building. The first is if you are planning an install using SATA 2.5” drives make sure you have longer than normal cables. Sitting the drives long ways up like they are meant to in the small foam pieces we were not able to connect the drives. Sitting the drives in an angle partially insert into the foam solved the problem.

The next would be to have at least 30mm – 35mm screws ready to install the fans in its provided brackets. You can probably get away with using shorter screws but the fan will not be secured on both sides. Neither of these are deal brokers but we felt it should be noted when buying the Banchetto K.

Motherboard mounting preparation does require the mounting of these small screws to be inserted into the surface of the K bench. The same procedure goes for the fan mounting as well.

Some images of the system fully assembled and almost ready to go.


Conclusion

The Microcool Banchetto K is a great open-air bench to have around. We liked it so much that it would likely be a permanent test bench in our lab. It is very easy to remove and replace components in order to bench, something that I do every day when working on reviews and doing various tests. If you have to venture to a different location to compete in an overclocking session, the Microcool Banchetto K can simply be picked up and transported without any hassles.

Throughout the review we took the approach that the Banchetto K is suited more for a bench test, we still believe this. But if you want to use it as an everyday PC case, you would be encountering problems in achieving that. We found that building up the system and making it look presentable was not a problem. The one issue is there is no place to hide the power supply cables. Some nice sleeved cables would be the way to go but it does add additional cost to the build. Hence, it's an open-air test bench which means it literally has little protection over what flies around your place be it dust, pet hair, spilled coffee or toys your kids would throw around.

On the bright side, there are many videos of people that have mounted water-cooling setups on this bench. Throughout our review, we saw just how easy it would be to do this. With the many odd pieces on the market for mounting some water-cooling components, you should be able to have a nice rig up and running in no time.

The Microcool Banchetto K is priced at $129.99 from places like Performance PCS. Not too pricey but we felt it was on the upper side of the price range. It seemed that there would have been more in the box for this asking price. Maybe include the two additional expansion card posts, long SATA cables and fan screws.