Introducing the Lian Li PC-A76X

As a case designer and manufacturer, Lian Li has built their entire business around aluminum. It's one of those materials that seems to have a real marketing draw, that seems to perk up consumers, and it's understandable. Aluminum conducts heat well, and an attractive brushed aluminum finish can trump the heck out of any garden variety plastic and/or steel enclosure. It's something Lian Li have essentially created a premium brand around, and today we're taking a look at one of their most premium offerings of all, the PC-A76X.

The PC-A76X isn't just a premium enclosure, it's a concerted effort by Lian Li to produce an E-ATX/HPTX case in relatively small dimensions. Our testbed is admittedly going to seem a little mundane, dwarfed by this monstrous piece of aluminum designed and destined for only the most powerful of workstations (or enthusiast builds), but that may not matter as much as it first appears. Has Lian Li produced a knockout case, or have they missed the mark?

That's a pretty sticky question. This case is designed to house frankly as much computer as you can cram into it, and I'll admit I was pretty optimistic when I first read the press materials. A trio of 140mm fans in the front attempt to produce the kind of wind tunnel effect that makes cases like SilverStone's FT02 and Temjin TJ08-E such formidable performers, and I've been looking for some time for a good replacement for my own FT02.

Lian Li PC-A76X Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX, HPTX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25”
Internal 9x 3.5", 3x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 3x 140mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm fan mounts
Side 2x 140mm fan mount
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 11
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 360mm
GPU 14.1" / 360mm
Dimensions 11.22" x 27.95" x 26.89"
285mm x 710mm x 683mm
Weight 20.9 lbs. / 9.5 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Toolless motherboard installation
Support for 240mm radiator in top of enclosure
All aluminum build and finish
Price $210

The fact that the case is actually 21 lbs. of aluminum should give you some indication of just how big this beast really is, yet interestingly Lian Li opted to keep the design fairly narrow. I don't get the sense that they could've shrunk down the PC-A76X too much more without making some sacrifices. They probably could've made it a bit shorter by moving the PSU to the front of the case and ditching three of the drive bays and an intake fan, but that's about it.

At $210, the PC-A76X is squarely in enthusiast class territory; once you go over about $160, cases are generally supposed to offer both excellent acoustics and thermal performance. That's part of the reason why the lack of any kind of noise dampening material is worrisome, though the cooling design looks like it may just be efficient enough to pick up the slack.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-A76X
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  • SleepyItes - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I agree. Part of the enjoyment of getting a nice case is tweaking it with new fans and/or fan controllers, heat sinks, noise dampening materials, etc. to meet your specific goals, whether that is overclocking, noise level, power usage, or just a good overall balance of these things.

    Because those goals are subjective, it would be hard to review from this perspective, but it would be nice to at least see an acknowledgement that, with a small amount of tweaking, much better cooling and noise reduction can be attained, and what would those minor tweaks be for this case?
    Reply
  • superflex - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I still own my Li Li PCV1000 and love the case. While Lian Li does have crap English instructions, I find their quality to be 1st class. My 1000 has a giant scratch in the top where my 30 pound Hafler amplifier fell on it, but not a dent to be seen. Try that with your BitFenix case. Reply
  • pandemonium - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    I've been considering replacing my case for a while now, since I've started overclocking and my PC6070 can't accomodate the required air flow without needing very loud fans; this has me thinking. The notes of the build quality being lack-luster is key here. Thanks! Reply
  • FrozenAsset - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    I've built several computers using Lian Li cases. I'm disappointed to hear that the quality may have dropped. I can say that any build I've had with the cases pre-2010 have been top notch, stylish and convenient.

    As far as thermal conductivity, steel sucks. Unless you want to pay for a case made of Silver, Copper or Gold..., aluminum is your best bet. I seem to remember something about copper transferring heat better than aluminum, but aluminum dissipating it quicker than copper, which I think is why some heat sinks have a copper core.
    Reply
  • deeppow - Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - link

    I have several LL cases and have just bought another.

    The only problem I've found is LL has a total absences of support and never replies to their "support" email. Last case I ordered from Newegg had a broken fan blade. Newegg couldn't provide a new fan, they could only replace the whole case (they would cover all shipping costs both-ways). To save my time I just replaced the fan myself.

    You get a new LL case, check it out completely for damage before starting a build. To be buying another LL case, I must think they are a quality case.
    Reply
  • jginnane - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    I'm in a room surrounded by Lian Li cases -- half active, half in the process of new builds or refurbishment. One of the nicest things about LLs is that they're essentially immortal -- visit the Taiwanese website to get a new USB 3.0 set of headers for your external case ports. Presto -- good for another 10 years! My oldest Lian Li is awaiting its 4th m/b and CPU. I've built one B10 and 2 B12s this year, and was lucky to find a red PC8-FIR unopened (which I'm saving for my granddaughter's first system).

    I'm not having issues with heat like many posters here, probably because aside from using Seasonic and Corsair 850 watt Gold PSUs, I'm careful in component selection. Who needs more than 2 SSDs and 2 internal 2.5" 3-4TB HDs these days? The killer, the multiple-GPU system, is most times just a sad case of OCD. Instead of multiple monitors on each system -- been there, tried that -- I'm replacing the 27"Samsung 1920x1200 monitors with 27" and 30" 2560x1600 single monitors.

    I can appreciate that some modest overclocking is fun, perhaps slightly profitable ... but who's paying the electric bill in your household? (I've dropped my electric bill 50% by using CREE LED downlights throughout the most heavily trafficked rooms.) Note that almost any serious overclocking can start adding 20-40% (and up) monthly to your system energy costs. (Use a Kill-a-Watt to test.) When you have a half dozen systems in 24/7 use, that's a serious no-no.
    Reply
  • naisanza - Friday, June 07, 2013 - link

    My Antec 1200 currently has three hard drives in it right now and an SSD. 5TB total storage. My 240 radiator currently takes up the rest of the bays. Reply
  • naisanza - Friday, June 07, 2013 - link

    I was hoping the build quality would be denser. I was really set on getting this, because it's the best looking case with a full front panel, but the flimsy build and the irremovable hard drive cages is a pretty big deal breaker. Reply
  • naisanza - Saturday, June 08, 2013 - link

    Also, there doesn't seem like there is enough space to fit a 240 radiator with fans above the motherboard. There seems like there are so many things wrong with this case, but it's still the best looking case that fit's my requirements. Reply

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