In and Around the Lian Li PC-A55

My initial investigation of Lian Li's PC-A55 wasn't terribly exciting, but I also hadn't given how the case would perform too much thought until assembly began. That said, I was pleased to see an enclosure that wasn't particularly busy internally or externally.

Some may take issue with the aesthetic of the PC-A55; it's extremely staid and conservative and we may be getting to the point where we feel a little saturated by basic boxes. In case you're not interested in a black PC-A55, you can get it in silver as well for the same price. The design remains the same, though: flat brushed aluminum front with only indicator LEDs, the Lian Li logo, and a single 5.25" drive bay. The sides of the enclosure share the same style, with no ventilation, only flat surfaces. The slightly perforated sides of the front bezel give the illusion of ventilation, but trust me when I tell you it's minimal at best.

The back and bottom of the PC-A55 are unpainted aluminum, while the top is the same flat black brushed aluminum with a single 140mm exhaust fan. The intake fan in the bottom of the enclosure is also covered by a removable fan filter, but the case itself needs to be lifted to snap the filter out, making it substantially less usable than designs by other vendors which allow fan filters to be slid out from the side or back. The bottom of the PC-A55 is also where the major problems with the design rear their ugly heads, but more on that in a bit.

The side panels themselves are secured with black thumbscrews and snap on and off very easily. As is typical of Lian Li's unique designs, there is no space behind the motherboard tray for routing cables; every effort seems to have been made to get the size of the enclosure down as small as possible. Inside the case is a fixed cage for the 5.25" bay and two 3.5" bays, along with sockets to mount a 2.5" drive to the underside of the cage. Note that by doing so you risk impeding power supply cabling, and power supply clearance is already at a premium. The other 2.5" mount is on the bottom of the case.

It's very clear that interior space is at an absolute premium inside the PC-A55. The bottom intake fan only adds to the height of the enclosure because it has to, otherwise clearance on the sides of the motherboard tray is at a minimum. What I do appreciate is that the design is comparatively simple; Lian Li just doesn't have room for their usual rail-mounted drives, so we make do with old-school screw mounts in the PC-A55. Motherboard standoffs come pre-installed, and the front bezel of the case easily snaps on and off. Expansion slots use thumbscrews, as does the mounting bracket for the power supply, and the power cable actually routes from the back of the case to the internal mount.

Introducing the Lian Li PC-A55 Assembling the Lian Li PC-A55
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  • poloa - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - link

    They seem to have quoted the package dimensions in this review, not the case dimensions :-/ The outside dimensions are really the best feature of this case! (W) 188mm x (H) 375mm x (D) 455mm Reply
  • Mugur - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    I can't see any picture at all in the article. What's wrong? Reply
  • cjb110 - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    me too:( Reply
  • 996GT2 - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Anandtech has now reviewed both the A05FN and A55. However, I believe that both of these cases have inferior designs compared to the original PC-A05N. The A05N retains the inverted layout first seen in the A05A, and the back to front airflow design is arguably much better for CPU cooling. It would be nice to see a review of the older A05N to see whether Lian Li has been going downhill in their more recent designs. Reply
  • Leyawiin - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    I think they are going downhill. I have an PC-A05NB with the optional 140mm top lid and its very cool running and a very clever design. These last two are pretty disappointing. Reply
  • Zink - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    When the site came back this was supposed to be Anand's review of the new Macbook. I can understand him needing a bit of sleep but save the battery rundown tests for next week and let someone remote in to your LAN to run benches. Reply
  • cjs150 - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    This is based on the A05N which was a great little case if you are into watercooling, the inverted designed dealt with the airflow problem by having the GPU at the top of the case.

    A55 might still be a good watercooling case if you stick to micro ATX cards because the bottom of the case looks perfect for a thick 240 radiator but instead of being a simple case to use, a fair bit of modding seems to be needed.

    Go back to the inverted design. Actually scrub the design and start again
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    Cut a side blowhole and the core issue is solved. Why isn't there one? what the hell.. Reply
  • superccs - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    I have the A05 which has the PSU up front and it the rocks rear intake and front exhaust format well. CPU gets fresh air straight from a 120mm in the rear, the GPU gets frech air from a 1200mm in the side panel and everything is blown out the front by a 120mm and the PSU.

    That format works great, but WTH is with this mutant case? Do case designers know that the primary goal is to have a slick looking enclosure that keeps everything cool?

    Lian Li, please loose whoever designed this case in next years floods.
    Reply
  • grave00 - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    "In case you're not interested in a black PC-A55"

    Really, who wouldn't be interested in that? I think we could all use a black PC-A55.

    It's like shooting the broad side of a barn isn't it?
    Reply

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