Back to Article

  • KingKongDonkeyBong - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I'm a Mac junkie now, but rewind 4 years back and I used to build my own tower PCs like no tomorrow. I loved to pick out the best of the best components and put them together only to sell what I had done and start over again. To me, Lian Li has always stood for excellent looking aluminum cases, but they were bloody expensive then and are still today. I dreamed of a Lian Li case bak then, but I never got to build a PC with one of those beauties. :( It's great to see them still making top-notch stuff, though. Some of the better companies faded into oblivion, like SuperFlower. CoolerMaster used to make some good stuff back then, but no longer. :/ I'd put my money on Lian Li if I still had the passion to build tower PCs. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    ...did you actually read the review? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I'd guess not. He looked at the picture and said, "That's a nice looking case!" Too bad it doesn't have the performance to back it up, unless maybe you just want to run a Core i3 CPU with now discrete GPU? Buying a $110 case for such a PC seems a bit much, though, and it still performs like A55. Reply
  • Brutalizer - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    There is a smaller ATX case, the Lian Li PC-V700. It is 21 x 40 x 50 cm. And it holds six 3.5" disks.
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Yeah. I have a PC-G50. It is smaller than this ( 14.5" tall or so ), and has 3 3.5" drive slots. With the Add-on 4in3 bay adapter, I've had 7 HDD in it at one time. Plus it added a 120mm intake fan into the mix.

    It is not the perfect case for a couple of reasons. but I am very happy with it. However, it is by far in my mind a better design compared to this.

    Move the PSU horizontal, sideways, and reverse ( with perhaps an adapter cable going out to the back ). After removing the drive bay from the bottom of course.. Then add ventilation for the PSU intake, front, or side ( both ? ). Just thinking out loud here . . . Still lots of things could be done to improve this design. Obviously.
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    My guess is that this person did not read / understand the article title. Never mind the article its self.

    One thing you do have to keep in mind however. Individuals have a mind of their own. Just because you or one of your cohorts gives equipment a bad review. Does not mean that someone else has to agree.

    And there is a lot to disagree with sometimes, from the articles / reviews presented here. Everyone's priorities are different.
  • wonderpookie - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Hehe, yea, I was just about to ask the exact same thing! Thank you for the in-depth and informative review, appreciated! Reply
  • Flunk - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Lian Li makes some great cases, this may not be one of them but there are a lot of other models so if you like the look of this there probably is a case for you in there somewhere. I have a PC-9F that is quite similar but a bit bigger than this that's just great. Reply
  • p05esto - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    If you use Macs then what in the world are you doing on this site poser? This site is for computer enthusiasts and those into the latest and greatest, open standards and system, fastest machines around that can be upgraded and overclocked. Apple products don't fit under any of those headings. Maybe if we created an "overpriced preschool computing" Apple would fit nicely. No one wants Apple crap around here buddy. Reply
  • tim851 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Who made you boss, kid?

    It sure was that guy Anand, who probably owns every Mac ever made.
  • Stuka87 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    You just proved that you are not a regular here. Every new Mac/iPhone/iPad gets heavily reviewed here.

    This site is for "Computer Enthusiast" like you said. That means ALL COMPUTERS. Not just non-Macs. I also find it funny that you says its for Open Standards, which most things reviewed here run Windows.

    I think you should just run along now.
  • jmhart - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Wait, you're calling HIM a poser? Reply
  • AVP - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Where do losers like this get this mentality? Reply
  • Voo - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Ah one of the new kids on the block that want to boast, but sadly have no idea what they're talking about.

    Yep there really aren't any Mac users on AT, apart from several staff members.
  • zanon - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Thank you for the thorough review Dustin. I know you dislike having to rag on and thumbs down something that people put effort into, but as potential customers we appreciate it, and Lian Li shouldn't be excused too much. While I very much appreciate companies that are willing to really experiment and push the envelope, they aren't running a charity, they're charging real money and have a duty to be professional. Basic thermal testing isn't rocket science, it's the sort of thing that any company should be doing as a continuous part of R&D, precisely to catch these issues. It's a core part of the engineering they should be doing. If you could get those numbers, they should have been able to as well long before ramping manufacturing. Someone should have said "hey wait a second, this isn't going to be that compelling, I guess we have to go back to the drawing board here."

    I worry that a lot of companies don't use measurement-based reality checks as much as they should be. I hear a lot of "well design is an art, not a science" type of wishy-washy statements (the audio industry seems to be the worst), but ultimately science is definitely a part. They should be as wild as they like in the concept and prototype stages, but everything should go through a careful measurement filter before further work. Hopefully they can do better next time around, they certainly have the engineering chops to produce excellent work. Everyone produces duds once in a while, if it's not a pattern then they can bounce right back with a useful lesson learned.

    Thanks again for the balanced review.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I'd optimize for depth instead of height. mATX, ODD above board, PSU and HDDs below. Straight front to back airflow. 2x 140 or 2x 180 in front should be enough. Depth of 350mm should be achievable. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Actually a single 180mm can more or less nail it:
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    The TJ08-E is nice but a bit too cramped and a bit too long. Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    How is this cramped??
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    You forgot to install the HDD cage... Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I already have 3 HDDs installed, why do I need the cage? Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    BTW, that's a passively cooled 2600k @ 4.3GHz at 79C with prime load WITH THE DOORS OFF

    however, evo + 2600k is lapped
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Passive? As in no fans at all?

    Without the cage the case looks good.
  • wifiwolf - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Doesn't seem right to passively cool the cpu and have fan in the front and back.
    The noise will still be there, having a low noise cpu fan there wouldn't add any noticeable noise
  • Iketh - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    then i guess when i tested the noise levels with and without and found a very noticeable improvement, i must be absolutely incompetent to make the judgement... thank you for showing me the path wifiwolf Reply
  • doctormonroe - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    PC-X500/PC-X500FX in the mATX formfactor would be brilliant, hopefully it would be cheaper as well... Reply
  • etamin - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I've been wondering why Lian Li (or any other company) hasn't employed the 90 degree rotated design that Silverstone uses. Is it under patent protection? Reply
  • InterClaw - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    It seems like a major mistake to not let the PSU get its own air from the front, especially since it dumps its hot air at the bottom of the case. The way it is now it just recycles its own hot air. Genius... This is beside all the other cooling problems what with the GFX blocking the flow.

    Dustin, I'm curious though why you mounted the CPU cooler horizontally and not vertically to help the airflow along. Was it not possible or is that deviating from the testing methodology since the heat sink might perform differently after being reseated?
  • RanDum72 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I cannot believe that the case designers never thought about where the PSU exhaust is going to come out. The heat generated by the PSU is dumped inside the case. They could have drilled some holes that aligns with the PSU exhaust but even that will also be picked up by the bottom fan and thrown back into the case. All form, no function. Reply
  • kesbar - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    after looking at the thermal results, the PC-A55 has carpet burn. Reply
  • i077 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    What about just simply turn the top exhaust fan around and make it an intake? In that way the CPU area will get some fresh air that it desperately need. The CPU fan can be position to the other side of the heat sink and double as an exhaust fan, or just add an 140mm to the back.

    The power supply positioning is a massive failure though. It has no dedicated intake or out take, and ends up being a pure heat generator tuck away at the bottom corner. If they just poke some hole in the front panel and at the bottom and separate the PSU into its own thermal zone this case could have been something.

    Hopefully they do a revision soon, the case does look sharp and uses space wisely.
  • Pazz - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Shame about the poor thermals but I suppose to be expected when they adopt a vertical system without rotating the mainboard.

    I do like the small form factor full-ATX idea though since a lot of standard ATX cases are approaching gigantic. The average enthusiast doesn't require 7x 5.25" or 6x 3.5" bays. Particularly now that SSD's are mainstream and optical drives superflous.

    PC-A05NB FTW (note I did not type A05FNB)
  • mbf - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    ...might just possibly help with cooling in this case. Reply
  • SimKill - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I'm a regular lurker here, but I think in this specific review you've made an unnaturally high number of mentions of the complete model number instead of using words like "it", "it's" etc. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    I think you're just seeing things. Why would I do something like that? Reply
  • erwendigo - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    Because you have a very bad sense of humor (cheapest). And "we" (more than one) can see it. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    Hey, I don't go to your place of business and insult you. Reply
  • AssBall - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Lian Li might disagree with that statement, relative to how the article was titled.

    But you can't stay mad at what was essentially a completely honest and well done review. If your product is ass, its ass.
  • mcbowler - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    LIAN LI,

    Please hire me to design a case.
  • etrigan420 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link


    I expected a little more from Anandtech.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Considering the mountain of cheap laughs I got working on this review, I'm happy to disappoint you. Reply
  • eBob - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    My current case is full ATX and is smaller than that! I was actually considering going micro-ATX for my next build, but couldn't find a motherboard that I liked. Reply
  • crackedwiseman - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    A couple of years ago I did a build for a customer in an A05, which, similarly to the A55, tries to fit an ATX board in an mATX sized enclosure. It was a bit cramped, but not that bad, and thermal performance was solid given that I had an overclocked i7-920 and a GTX 260 in there. The A05 had a totally different internal layout; I can't image why they decided to change it - this is anything but an improvement Reply
  • rickcain2320 - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    The A05 doesn't work well unless you cut a hole in the top or add a slot fan. I never kept the front panel on because of heating concerns, which turned out to be true as my motherboard chipset fried from the heat, taking out the video card in the process. Reply
  • PortsOrBust - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    "Unfortunately, a case I can't find any argument for."

    This thought may be anathema on a "latest and greatest" enthusiast site, but if one simply wanted a small ATX case, and used only on-board ports with no additional cards, it seems to me that most of the other issues are not deal-killers.

    Granted the PSU mount isn't ideal, but without add-in cards the airflow would likely overcome that problem, and finding a way to raise the box off the floor a half an inch or so isn't a big deal either.

    Some people will pay $110 for the size and looks of a case, but aren't looking to spend $400 on the latest and greatest video card.

    So, its by no means a perfect case, or even the best example of a compact case, but that doesn't mean there's no argument for it . . .
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Except if you're not going to use any expansion cards, what's the point of going with a full ATX board instead of Micro-ATX or even Mini-ITX? Reply
  • erwendigo - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    The better quality of a good ATX motherboard, a very "little" point.

    This review is a shame. You lost the point of a minimal case ATX, you had overestimate the importance of temperatures in a system that it isn´t in the enthusiast niche.

    This case have a very specific niche, but you missundertood this and its rol.

    And the worse, you made a lot of badass jokes. :-/
  • plamengv - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    Lian Li PC-A55 compared to Antec NSK-4000 is a monster. Lian Li never had such a good case as Antec is! Reply
  • Alchemy69 - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    This will do until NZXT release their M0-U7H case and then I'll go from A55 to M0-U7H. Reply
  • dave1_nyc - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - link

    I'll probably wind up feeling like a dumbass for saying this, but I can' t believe that the dimensions are correct, esp the height, which is shown as 17.6". One of my machines systems uses a Fractal R3, which feels far more spacious, (and which has room for the PSU under the ATX slots), and it's about the same height.

    It measures a little bit higher from the floor, but then it has taller feet, and hence more space under the case for air intake.

    So what am I missing? How can this case be almost 18" high and yet have so little vertical space?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Bitmap - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    I laughed my A55 off Reply
  • MadAd - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    "We're at a juncture now where there are very few reasons to go with an ATX motherboard over a Micro-ATX board"

    Exactly!! PC form factors need a reboot if they are to survive the next 10 years onslaught of tablets. ITX is a fantastic format limited only by its 17x17 size allowing only a single expansion slot and 2 channels of ram - and that really makes sense when paired with a low profile card in a thin case ... as soon as we need some HDDs, or a larger graphic card, or a soundcard and a graphics card then theres a big void between that and the 4 slot uATX format, filled only by the defunct DTX format (that imo with only 2 slots really didnt give much more of an option to ITX.)

    My ideal board would have 3 expansions, 2x16 and 1xPCI, 4 Ram Slots and 6 Satas in a size not much bigger than ITX however this is all moot since the biggest problem is elsewhere too, we still have a problem with things like PSUs, they need to be smaller, same with Optical RW drives, do we need more than a laptop slimline size for opticals?

    The first CD i burned in the last century was in a 5.25" bay, while we cant do anything about the width of the disk certainly it could slimline allowing sideways mounting yet there are no standard mountings for slimline Optical drives in the ATX spec.

    Apart from the wishful thinking I do believe its time to step down from these humongous tower cases. I am already planning my next build into a uATX but of course anandtech doesnt really cover uATX stuff now does it *grin*
  • rickcain2320 - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    I have the previous version of this case and it has a severe hot spot at the top. The addition of the exhaust fan at the top hopefully resolves this problem. They rotated the power supply so it blows in rather than out (I guess) which is good, because the old fan direction was right over the hard drives, bathing them in warm air from your GPU and CPU. I regularly kept my front panel off because of overheating.

    Makes me wonder if I do some minor surgery and flip my fans over, could I achieve something similar?
  • manythings - Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - link

    I have read this several times and still didn't get the joke about the name of the unit. Is it about being "PC"? But every Lian Li case is a PC. Could the author explain the joke? Thanks Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now