Introducing the Lian Li PC-TU200

More and more lately, mini-ITX boards are becoming very feature rich and users are needing fewer expansion cards in their desktop systems. Where once upon a time we'd need a wireless card, a video card, maybe an eSATA card and/or a sound card, now modern mini-ITX boards can cover just about all of these bases short of the GPU. TV tuner cards aren't even what they used to be with vendor lock-in by cable companies. All of that means that in many cases (no pun intended), all the end user is really going to need is the single PCI Express x16 the board provides.

Addressing this segment of users, Lian Li sent us their PC-TU200 enclosure, a mini-ITX case that offers two expansion slots just for those double-wide video cards that have become de rigeur. The TU200 includes a carrying handle at the top that makes its purpose abundantly clear: producing a case perfect for LAN warriors.

When we were first contacted by Lian Li's PR team, we were posed a question: what do we want to see? Our coverage of full- and mid-towers so far has been pretty good, but smaller enclosures have oftentimes gone by the wayside. So while we do have a couple of larger cases from Lian Li on the bench waiting for review, the TU200 is both one of their newer releases and also one of their most compelling. Cursory examination of the enclosure suggests that for both thermals and performance, it should be a big winner similar to (one of my personal favorites) SilverStone's Temjin TJ-08E, using a similar single-fan wind tunnel design.

Lian Li PC-TU200 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Mini-DTX
Drive Bays External 1x 5.25"
Internal 4x 3.5" (3x 3.5" if the top 2.5" is occupied) and 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fan
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
Front I/O Port eSATA, 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 11.5" (Expansion Cards), 80mm (CPU HSF), 140-160mm (PSU)
Weight 6.9 lbs. (3.15 kg)
Dimensions 13.35" x 8.7" x 11.42" (360mm x 210mm x 320mm)
Price $179

There's really no getting around it: the TU200 is tiny. At just a touch under seven pounds, this enclosure is substantially lighter than my cat (who isn't stunningly overweight for an indoor cat if you can believe it), and frankly smaller to boot. Between the diminutive dimensions and the surprisingly rich internal design, one has to wonder if there isn't some kind of strange witchcraft at work to get all of these parts to fit into this tiny enclosure. As it turns out, a little bit may be involved.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-TU200
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  • apparition47 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I built a mini-ITX rig for the gf using this case about 1-2 months ago. It was my first non-ATX build, so it was an interesting project. I managed to wedge a GTX 560 Ti in there with a i5 2400. I'm still dumbfounded how you can get so much power into a case like that, having built all my gaming rigs on ATX up til now.

    Hopefully when it's time for my next PC, another mini-ITX case will be suitable.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    Check the PC-Q18 case. same size, no optical drive bay, no external bay at all, actually.

    I was looking at it, but I need a BD drive cause I do watch movies sometimes.
    Reply
  • ac2 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Dustin (and Jared), first just want to thank you for all the stuff you put out here. I really don't give a **** about all the smartphone/ tablet reviews so particularly look forward to your work on systems/ mobos/ cases/ PSU. If you could do a roundup of the most popular LCD monitor size that would be great.

    Re UEFI, there is a lot of discussion re the secure boot option being mandated by MS for Windows 8 and how this may be interpreted by OEMs to lock out other OSs from Win 8 pre-installs. This may be a storm in a teacup, but could you please keep a eye out for this on future mobo/ system/ laptop reviews, particularly calling out such systems that do not allow the user to install other OSs as a result of this.
    Reply
  • anikolayev - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Seconding Iketh

    WHY, WHY do I need an optical drive on the road? WHY?

    When are these manufacturers going to figure it out that there's a market for mATX cases that have room ONLY for an SSD.

    Even on my main rackmount PC I tossed out the optical drives just last week.

    WHO NEEDS A DVD BURNER WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A SECOND OR FULL SIZE GPU? Seriously people, seriously.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    While digital distribution is more and more becoming a way to go, every so often there are still games that will need disc authentication to load. It's stupid and I have VERY few now, but nonetheless it's a consideration. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    That's what a USB external optical drive is for. I personally only use mid-tower desktop systems but if I was more mobile-oriented I would love a smaller box similar to this.

    It is crazy that no one seems to understand what enthusiasts want in a particular case. We seriously need to start an Anandtech hardware company. "Hardware by enthusiasts for enthusiasts" or something like that.

    Ditch the drive cage, ditch the optical drive, increase the space behind the mobo by 1" to allow for the 2.5" SSD/HDD and cable routing. You'd have a clean wiring on the component side, and enough space on the backside for wiring and drives.

    This is so obvious I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried to patent it yet (yup I went there).

    Who's going to be the obvious genius to build this simple design?
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    A consideration that should be met with external DVD drives only

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • BansheeX - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Why does these dinosaur drive sizes persist? Slimline and 2.5 need to become standard already, good god. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    5.25"...the slimline form factor makes it a bit harder to fit certain types of drives into, which drives up cost.

    3.5"...we may be up to 1TB in 2.5" mechanical hard drives right now, but we're up to 4TB in 3.5" mechanical hard drives, so that pretty much speaks for itself.
    Reply
  • saurey - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I'd remove the cage altogether, then get a 1x5.25 to 4x2.5" drive bay - only takes 1 power connector to run 4 drives and have that be my storage solution.

    I'd also put some rubber feet stick ons underneath the existing case feet to raise it a about a cm higher for better intake for GPU.

    Also would play with the idea of mounting the PSU upside down to help pull air out of the case.

    I wonder how high the maximum cooler on the CPU is? I really like the corsair hydro coolers but there doesn't seem to be a way to fit that... Maybe where that dumb drive bay is?

    Agreed no need for 3.5" drives, especially in this case and 5.25 bay is just a bonus so I can use my 4x2.5" rack in it.
    Reply

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