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  • Iketh - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Thanks for sharing my thoughts, not just on this case but Lian Li in general. I want and have always wanted an all-aluminum case for years, but each time I look through Lian Li's stock, I'm left with that feeling of running your nails across a chalk board and I end up with a cheaper case. And that's coming from someone who bought the original Cosmos years ago...

    And, please, case engineers, stop including side vents... they're not needed anymore when you have slotted PCI covers... just give us robust intake solutions and that's it. I have never found a side intake fan that didn't rattle the door or make the case humm and I can only imagine how the case in this review would sound with the thin panels...
    Reply
  • michaelheath - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I've had a number of aluminum cases over the years, and, to be perfectly honest, the only ones that didn't feel chintzy were the cases that had other materials padding the panels and the frame. There really aren't many realistic benefits to using aluminum aside from weight - which doesn't mean much if you don't move your PC all that often. Aluminum certainly doesn't do much for heat dissipation or noise dampening, and Lian Li isn't alone in winding up with cases with middling performance that rattle and hum (though this particular case seems to avoid that).

    According to the rather thorough testing from Bit-Tech several months ago in their article, "The Big Air Cooling Investigation," where a Fractal Design Define R3 was tested with practically every reasonable (and a few unreasonable) configurations, it seems one of the most critical fan locations was in the side panel. Then again, as I mentioned before, the side panel is made of layered steel and plastic, not aluminum.

    Perforated PCI covers don't really help much when they aren't in the direct path of convection, especially if they aren't in the direct path of moving air. Typically, they sit below most of the sources of heat in a computer case and don't provide any tangible benefit except for allowing another location for sound to escape.
    Reply
  • cashkennedy - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    You obviously have never had a cooler master wave master , or a cooler master atcs, both are made of aluminum so thick, you cant even bend / dent it if you tried with all your strength. I believe the first year or two lian li was around they made cases out of similarly thick aluminum, and those were the years that aluminum cases got a good reputation, later they all started being made out of sheets thinner then a coke can, and add to that the fact that aluminum helping cool the components was all hype by retards who somehow didnt come to grasp the fact that none of your components are in direct contact with the aluminum (except for possibly the hard drives), so cant be cooled by the case... Reply
  • Iketh - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    actually there is obvious truth to aluminum keeping the AIR inside the case cooler... steel will act more as an insulator keeping the heat inside while aluminum will transfer that heat through the panels better, but it's negligible to the point of gimmicky Reply
  • rarson - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    You've got that backwards. Aluminum is a poor conductor of heat, hence the outside of an aluminum case will likely stay cooler than a steel case. Steel is a good conductor of heat; a steel case gets hotter because it's transferring heat from inside the case to outside through the metal itself. Reply
  • sor - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    My BS meter just went off. Nearly all metals are good conductors of heat, but aluminum, copper, and silver are among the best. Aluminum simply has less mass and doesn't RETAIN heat well, but it conducts heat just fine. Reply
  • Iketh - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    sorry, but you're the one that's backwards, and generally lacking knowledge on the subject as illustrated with this statement:

    "Steel is a good conductor of heat; a steel case gets hotter because it's transferring heat from inside the case to outside through the metal itself."
    Reply
  • BiggieShady - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    If steel is a good conductor of heat, aluminum is better. For purely hot air contact it's negligible, however for direct contact it matters - that's why you have aluminum or copper heatsinks instead of steel. Reply
  • johnsmith9875 - Sunday, October 07, 2012 - link

    Steel is a terrible conductor of heat. They're used in cases mainly because its inexpensive and easy to fabricate compared to aluminum. Reply
  • xc68000 - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    Seriously. I can't get rid of my Wavemaster because literally every new aluminum case I look is crap in comparison. It was designed more for the P4 era and as such doesn't have any 120mm fans (except for the one I cut in the side panel). There is a market, but seems like no one is making cases for it. I've never seen a silverstone, but they look like a premium case I wonder about the panel thickness though.

    And seriously...you can see the LianLi badge is on crooked in one of those photos. They have definitely strayed from where they started from.
    Reply
  • Captmcnet - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    NewEgg has this case listed for $190.
    The Lian-Li web site specs show 12 internal 3.5in HDD bays.
    Your Sept 2012 review specifies only 9 such bays.
    Which is correct please.
    Wm McMullen
    bill@mcmullen-fla.net
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    My last two cases have been Lian Li, my first a V1000 about 6 or 7 years ago and that thing was built like an aluminum tank. The panels were thick and strong, I still have it as a media server. Based on that experience my second case a full tower is a PC-P80. While very large and roomy, the aluminum on this case was not as high of quality as the original and the has a lot less features. Somewhere along the way, Lian Li began cutting corners on both their features and quality of their aluminum. I hate to see when companies have a good rep going and they start taking advantage after awhile. My next case probably won't be a Lian Li. Reply
  • hyrule4927 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Not really why you're complaining about side vents. I have an Antec 1100 and my GPU temperatures are about 5C lower with a side fan installed. I observed similar benefits from a side intake fan on my old Cooler Master case. Reply
  • Iketh - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    if you design the intakes efficiently and their flow through the bottom of the case, there is no need for the side intake

    side intake = more noise escaping from said GPU and very rarely come with a filter pre-installed, and of course vibration on the side panel
    Reply
  • Steveymoo - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    Actually, the extra noise part is not necessarily true. When I added a second GPU to my NZXT Hush PC, the GPUs would get so hot, the fans would max out. Instead of paying god knows how much for a new case with more adequate cooling, I drilled a hole into the side of the case, right above the GPUs, and fitted a 140mm Noctua fan, including a grill on the outside, and the rubber mount pins. The panel does not vibrate, and the temperature of my GPUs dropped by around 15C.

    As a result, my system runs way quieter under heavy load, and quietens down to a whisper during idle.

    A side panel fan is definitely the best solution, it just has to be done right.
    Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    A side panel fan isn't necessarily the best solution. Though, it is the correct answer for many cases, there are cases designed to flow large volumes of air through the case with minimal obstructions. In these cases, a side fan doesn't necessarily help. Silverstone's Raven RV02/ Fortress FT02 have no side panel fan, but produce some of the lowest GPU temperatures on the market. I had a buddy cut a hole in the side panel of an FT02 to mount a fan for the GPUs, thinking he could get the temperatures even lower (very nicely done by the way). Unfortunately, it caused more noise, more turbulence in the airflow, and ultimately, higher temperatures across the board. He even re-cut it for a larger fan, but to no avail. He ended up ditching his modded side panel for an original with no fan.

    That said, there are plenty of cases, like the Cooler Master HAF series, where side panel intake is absolutely critical as front intake is clearly obstructed. This type of case isn't necessarily inferior, just different. Done properly, this cooling style isn't really any noisier than the more free flowing style. Given a high end video card or two in this type of case (such as your case), the side fan does in fact reduce overall system noise (as you described).
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I think you are really stretching here to try to make your point. Side vents aren't necessarily more noisy, and if you are getting any kind of increased vibration from a fan - you need to stop using dirt-cheap fans! Seriously!

    Personally, I want a side fan. I realize my opinion is influenced from the days when graphics solutions started overpowering case cooling designs to the point where pulling off the side cover and setting up a fan to blow across the video card was a necessity, but I've found that a side fan can still significantly drop the temperature of a card.

    You can say proper design makes for a better solution, and certainly that has a lot of truth, but in the end moving air is going to be important enough to some builds that the side fan will be of great benefit. If you don't need or want that, buy a different case.

    ;)
    Reply
  • rarson - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    "if you are getting any kind of increased vibration from a fan - you need to stop using dirt-cheap fans!"

    My thought exactly.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    "Side vents aren't necessarily more noisy"

    Oh ok, I'm just making things up. Sorry...

    "if you are getting any kind of increased vibration from a fan - you need to stop using dirt-cheap fans! Seriously!"

    You consider Zalman fans cheap?

    "Personally, I want a side fan. I realize my opinion is influenced from the days when graphics solutions started overpowering case cooling designs to the point where pulling off the side cover and setting up a fan to blow across the video card was a necessity, but I've found that a side fan can still significantly drop the temperature of a card."

    Well of course! If a side fan is needed, the case was either designed poorly or you bought the wrong case for your needs. This is my whole point. Of course there are some designs that require side vents (ones that obstruct the entire front panel), but in my opinion, 80% of builders don't require these designs, yet it seems 80% of cases have side intakes... Antec three-hundred is a good example of a case that doesn't need a side intake unless you populate the lower half of the 3.5" bays.

    "You can say proper design makes for a better solution, and certainly that has a lot of truth, but in the end moving air is going to be important enough to some builds that the side fan will be of great benefit. If you don't need or want that, buy a different case."

    Again, you're exactly right.... Your post is scary because you're trying to argue yet you're agreeing, like you're not understanding my point at all. (and you're calling me a liar in others...)

    JPForums said it better than I ever can. Refer to his post above.
    Reply
  • redmist77 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Looks suspiciously like an Antec P18X Reply
  • fausto412 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Lian Li had a case that sold for 400+ dollars a few years back. The P180 was a cheap version of it. Lian Li was the leader in their component seperation scheme. Why Lian Li still makes good cases you can get the same or better just not 100% aluminum for way better price. Reply
  • Samus - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I prefer the aluminum/steel hybrid Silverstone implemented in the FT01. The outer ring is a seamless C-member made of steel, which makes the rest of the (aluminum) chassis very rigid. This way they don't need additional aluminum support brackets and crap to keep things sturdy. The added benifit of the outer ring and edges being steel is that it wont ding and dent (like even this Lian-Li PC-A76X sample did) when it is transported to you or when you transport it anywhere. I've moved mine across the country to San Diego and back in a car, and it still looks brand new four years later.

    Obviously using steel as the exterior support adds weight, in this case, it is 8lbs more than the PC-A76X, but after water cooling, 5 HDD's and a GTX570, who's counting weight?
    Reply
  • Brendonmc - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link


    Agreed. Silverstone make some of the nicest looking cases on the market. I've thrown a whole heap of goodness into their SUGO SG04F, which is a full-width mini tower. It can accommodate a full size power supply and 2 full size double slot graphics cards. The concession is a micro ATX form-factor, but there are some good mobos available.
    Reply
  • Granseth - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    It also looks very much like Fractal Designs R3 (and 4) cabinets. But I like the design very much, so I won't complain about a better selection. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    And yet... I think it looks ugly. Something like a brushed metal bar fridge. Reply
  • NicodemusMM - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I have a Lian Li Tyr PC-X2000 which is about the same width, though I believe significantly taller. It easily accommodates a Noctura NH-D14, which is a massive. I will tell you from my experience with the Tyr that taking the front door off helps airflow and temps. The cutouts in the front are insufficient to permit the volume of air that the 3 fans are capable of and this case has even smaller cutouts. I'm currently running an i7-2600K @ 4.9GHz with HT on with the D14, but only with the front off. It restricts airflow that much.

    I can't comment on this case specifically, but my experience with Lian Li has been superb. The construction is top notch. My only complaints so far would be with the Tyr's choked airflow from the front and it's insufficient room for cables between the motherboard tray and the side panel.

    Regarding noise; I've found their cases to be quiet, but like all cases if you have a loud GPU it can get irritating.... even with noise dampening materials. Said materials are readily available, so if you're planning a HTPC near your seating area you may wish to consider it.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    " A76X's cooling design looked to be a big winner, at least on paper. The more cases I review, the more I'm convinced the bottom-front intake to top-back exhaust standard is just not the best way to do things. "

    I've been saying this for a while now... Forcing air thru that S or L shape just isn't very efficient (before even taking internal components into account, and their fans). I just don't understand why we haven't seen much experimentation beyond a few fringe cases like the Silverstone FT02. The whole thing makes even less sense when you look at more compact mid towers...

    How many people out there are really using more than one or two external bays along with more than 1-3 drives, the vast majority of users aren't... Yet the vast majority of cases dedicate a third of the space to this huge tower of drive bays.

    I wanna see a case with a single external bay that's either oriented vertically (for media readers or slot loading opticals) or moved up and OVER all the other components, with two front fans pointing directly at the CPU area and directly at the GPU area, slap a couple of sleds for HDD/SSD on the bottom (maybe two stacks that are two drives tall each, so they occupy the space in front of the PSU), and done.

    Instant cross flow across every major component, direct path of air allows for better cooling with lower speed fans and eliminates the need for a lot of side/top fans. Why does no one make a case like this that focuses on cooling without wasting space to also house a sever inside it?
    Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    That kinda case might be a smidge taller than average, but it'll be at least a third shallower (less wasted material) and it'd cool better than most (with just 3 fans, could even skimp and ship it with two), it can't possibly be that big a risk... Someone make it happen please! Reply
  • Grok42 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Why even have a single external bay, just get rid of them entirely. Surely there are enough people that don't have a need for any external drives that there could be a few of these types of cases on the market? I will say I'm impressed that Lian-Li *only* put two external bays in a case this large. Despite my opinion that none were needed, this is a huge step forward from silly cases with 5-9 external bays.

    I get your point that a huge portion of the builds don't need more than a few drives, but I think that unlike the external bay issue, the internal bays could be engineered in such a way that they are flexible and have no trade offs. It seems that a rail system could be conceived that did the job of supporting the structural needs of the case while not blocking air flow at all. Of course, as you add drives, they would block the flow of air but that is a choice you could make. My other big beef with almost all internal bay systems is that spacing the drives is always a trade-off between cabling requirements and heat. With SSDs becoming more popular the 3.5" Vs 2.5" bays is also getting to be a problem. It seems the internal drive rails could be made in such a way that you could decide on the spacing and not need to be locked into set distances based on how many and what type of drives you have.
    Reply
  • Wardrop - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I agree that the need for optical drives is on the decline. Very rarely do I, or anyone else in my house for that matter, need to read or write to an optical disc.

    Where I disagree is with cases with heaps of 5.25" bays. There's a market for them; especially for cases with ONLY 5.25" drive bays. I bought a Lian Li PC-A17B about 2 years ago - I had to shop around to find one as they had been discontinued (I bought one of the last available in Australia). The idea was to buy a bunch of Lian Li 3x 5.25" to 4x 3.5" hot-swap cages, which is exactly what I did. I've now got 3 optical drives and 8 hot-swap drives in the size of a standard ATX case. I could if I needed to, scrap the optical drives and go with another hard-drive cage for 12 hot-swap hard-drives in a standard ATX case. Not only does this function really well, it also looks great as the Lian Li drive bays look like they came with the case as they have the same finish and styling. Each drive cage also has a 120mm fan, so thermal performance isn't completely ruined either.

    I just wish Lian Li didn't discontinue this line of cases, as by having this case, they could essentially save themselves from having to make about 5 additional cases to account for all the combinations that could be achieved with the PC-A17.

    Modular case design. Just my two cents.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Certainly a valid use case and I'm glad they still make cases like this for your needs. However, there seem to be way too many of them given how niche this market would seem to be. There are also a lot of cases with internal hot swap bays which would be almost as good with the exception that you would have to have easy access to one side of the case in order to actually hot swap a drive. Given how uncommon it is to hot swap this typically wouldn't be a problem.

    Another way to build this would be to use an external drive enclosure. I get why this would be less than ideal for a lot of people but it has the advantage of being simple and robust.

    Maybe the answer is stackable case sections each with their own cooling fan.
    Reply
  • rarson - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    You can also use the bays for other things, like storage drawers, fan controls, audio breakouts, etc. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    You know, I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apt and I've come to realize that my monster sized Thermaltake Kandalf is probably the best PC purchase I've made. The reason I state this is because smaller is not necessarily better. My PC case keeps my computer relatively quiet, and it was built to house water cooling as well. It was easier to build in than some of my smaller cases. Granted, a removable motherboard try and specifically designed parts (such as a slimmer CPU cooler) make building in smaller cases much easier. It's a beast, for sure - but I don't mind. It garners attention. It's kind of like having a big truck. It's a man's machine. Reply
  • futurepastnow - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I know that's your standard testbed and you want to use it for the sake of comparison charts, but I can't help but think you should have thrown a dual-socket EATX system in there for a real heat and noise test. How loud is this case when it is used the way it is meant to be used? Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I agree. Some of these cases should be tested more strenuously to see if they really do keep up with cooling demands. That being said, I give Dustin credit for bringing some significant heat challenge in his methodology, much better than a lot of case reviews I've seen.

    ;)
    Reply
  • vgray35@hotmail.com - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    You do not mention the type of aluminum employed in this case - is it pure aluminum or aluminum alloy? Aluminum tensile, bending and compression strength is comparable with steel with the right choice of material, so a flimsy case simply amounts to bad design and choice of aluminum alloy.

    Lots of steel cases are flimsy - just bad design. So too this aluminum case is simply one with bad choice in material thickness and/or material alloy.

    Aluminum may also be hardened to make the surface durable. Again bad choices and design for the material.
    Reply
  • theSeb - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    " is it pure aluminum or aluminum alloy? Aluminum tensile, bending and compression strength is comparable with steel with the right choice of material, so a flimsy case simply amounts to bad design and choice of aluminum alloy."

    I can tell you without looking at the case that it will be an aluminium alloy. Basically all "aluminium" consumer goods are made out of some aluminium alloy and not "pure aluminium" so your question does not make sense, even though the second bit about the choice of aluminium alloy is correct.

    Pure aluminium is soft and very malleable.

    "The yield strength of pure aluminium is 7–11 MPa, while aluminium alloys have yield strengths ranging from 200 MPa to 600 MPa"
    Reply
  • Magichands8 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Lately every time I look at most of Lian Li's offerings I'm seeing lots of weird design decisions. I just don't understand the standard layout of most cases in which you have a thick drive tower positioned right behind the front intake fans. The components that need air flow the least get the best cooling. At the same time air flowing over the drives at the front is heated before it reaches the components that need to be cooled the most. I guess it's a throwback to a time when standard hard drives produced far more heat and storage capacity was much, much lower requiring many drives to satisfy the needs of power users. But those times are long gone. Lian Li really seemed to hit the mark with their PC-X2000 series. I am very impressed the by their straight-through air flow but the rest of their line-up seems to be deviating from that paradigm for reasons that scape me. Although it's really interesting to hear from an above poster who said that the front cover restricts air-flow. It wouldn't surprise me if that also contributed raising the noise floor of the system as well.

    Take the drive cage away from the front of the case. You should be able to easily fit at least 5 drives, very compactly, either above or below the motherboard. Especially if some of them are going to be SSDs (and they should be anyway). In fact I remember reading once that cooling drives TOO efficiently can actually cause them to fail SOONER. Plus, anyone who needs to fill on the order of 10+ drive bays is someone who is looking to use, what, 20+ TERABYTES of storage space? Anyone needing that much storage space is going to be much better served by a storage scheme that's flexible and expandable i.e. an external NAS or SAN setup. No matter how you cut it it just doesn't make any sense to allocate huge amounts of case space to large numbers of drives.

    I hear a lot in comments about Fractal Design and I like their cases but they can't get it right either. Every one of their cases seems to be designed for negative pressure cooling. That's the deal breaker for me on their cases. Even Lian Li is doing this with some of their NEWER designs. Negative pressure cooling is great and all if you want your case to double as vacuum cleaner but to me that's never made any sense.

    What I take away from all of the various case reviews I see is that all these case manufacturers either have no idea what their customers are using their cases to do or are simply not paying attention what qualifies as a good case.
    Reply
  • wwwcd - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    This BIG case assembled with micro motherboard...PC case who was making for E-ATX...This is fun! Reply
  • ZoSo - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I love Lian Li cases. Never had any issues with them and the build quality is great. Any system I built with them ran exceptionally cool with proper wire management. I've tried a lot of other all aluminum cases and once I bought my first Lian Li, it was then I realized I wasted my money on those other cases, and the extra money for Lian Li is well worth it. I also recommend them if someone wants a system built by me. I plan on getting the PC-A76X or the PC-A75X, still undecided, and fill it with HDDs using the optional backplanes. If the PC-A76X is built like the PC-X2000, which I'm currently using for my main system for the past 2 years, then it is a very good case.
    And by the way, Lian Li anodizes there cases, they don't paint.
    Reply
  • etamin - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I've owned the original PC-A71F (before the USB 3.0 version) for over 2 years and thought that the A76X was the perfect successor to it when I first glossed the photos. I like that the interior has been blacked out and that there are only two 5.25" bays (perfect for 1 optical, 1 card reader). But then I realized all the misses...

    Despite the A76X being taller than the A71F, the two seem to share the same front panel door design which can be quite problematic. After about a year of use, my door hinge began rattling intermittently (good call on the long term durability of cheaper materials, Dustin). Also, the fan filters are especially hard to remove and clean as the entire front fascia is held on by 7 screws. Dustin, you mentioned in the review that the A76X has no fan filters in the front, but can you try removing the front fascia to see if there are any underneath?...it may be the same design as the A71F.

    Another downgrade on the A76X for me is the case feet. The shiny discs that many of the larger older Lian Li's sat on seem to have been replaced by small, black rubber feet. And as this case seems to be the first Lian Li to offer rubber cable openings, I'm not really sold on their functionality vs. what Corsair and Fractal have come up with. Lastly, the extra height of the case makes cabling especially ugly from the PSU to the external bays, even more so than the Tyr PC-X2000 as the A76X is longer.

    I wish Lian Li can just shrink the A71F a tad shorter, black out the interior, and leave 2 exertnal bays...that would make my day. The B-10 comes close, but a bit too small for me.
    Reply
  • etamin - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    and also I'd like to see an easy pop-off front fasica right behind the case door. Reply
  • sulu1977 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    Do any of these pricey, hi-end cases keep bugs out? I'm pretty sure that a spider, ant or some other small critter can short out an exposed circuits... and there seems to be hundreds of exposed circuits inside a pc. Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I like AnandTech. I appreciate your reviews. This review told me little about the performance of the case for it's intended purpose.

    It's big.... So I would have expacted to see a Dual CPU E-ATX case.
    It has 12 drive bays. I would have at least expected to see a Raid5 setup....

    Equipping this case in a manner similar to the way the targe audience intends to use it, permits you to run meaningful tests.

    How is it's noise and thermal perrformance wthen equipped this way? We don't know.. you chose to use a MATX board and few drives.

    This review should be run again...
    Reply
  • Hood6558 - Sunday, September 30, 2012 - link

    I never liked any of their overpriced cases, they always looked like the design is from 20 years ago, and user input is obviously ignored since they remain overpriced outdated curiosities. Their only so-called benefit is all aluminum construction, which as others pointed out, makes for a flimsy case when the aluminum gets thinner, and offers no real help in cooling, only in dent-collecting. Besides that, they all look the same - get over the whole "mysteriously smooth monolith" bit already and quit sacrificing function for form, and ugly form at that. (I like the "dormitory fridge" reference). Don't get me wrong, I like classy understated designs over gaudy, flashy gaming rigs, but Lian Li's have all the warm appeal of a brick. Hard to believe they flow any real air given the closed up design, and there's no options for upgrading the airflow - hardly an "enthusiast" case, more like a "Grandpa's email machine" type of case. Right now there are hundreds of good cases to choose from, so many that it's difficult to settle on just one, but it's easy to decide not to buy Lian Li, so that narrows it down a bit. Reply
  • londiste - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    how is it that all the lian li cases that get reviewed here seem to be the slightly flawed ones?

    i have owned lian li cases of various sizes (itx, small atx, large atx) and they were never that bad. i had a slightly smaller lian li case of similar design... that was completely toolless, did not have the issues depicted in the review, and had sound dampening mats in it by default.

    when i changed it for a fractal define (out of curiosity rather than actual need), i suddenly realized what a difference there actually is. fractal define is not a bad case by any measure but when looking (and touching/feeling) it as compared to a good lian li side-by-side, they are simply not comparable. yes, the price difference is two-fold, but by now i do know what that difference buys you.
    Reply
  • leonsk - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I have had about 5-6 LianLi cases (three of them are in my study right now, all operational) and almost as many Silverstones, both makes are my favorites. I just completed a build of the PC-A75X, which is pretty much the same as the current review. The 75 is perfect for my EVGA SR-2, easily if snugly accomodating that huge HPATX factor. Two Xeon E5645 with Corsair H60 liquid cooler units, 12 x 4GB Geil 1600 memory, Gigabyte HD6870, all powered by Seasonic X-series 80+gold PSU. The drive rack looks positively barren with only 2 x Samsung 830 128 SSDs and 2 x 1TB Seagate HDDs. Inside is spacious with good airflow from the three massive 140 mm fans in the front (yes, they do have easily removed filters; the front bezel snaps off). Cable management is no problem with the storage units having a big channel space along the side so not to obstruct the inflow from the front fans. The system is almost as silent as my HTPC but does get just a tad bit louder when stressing the system. Note that my Xeons are overclocked from the stock 2.4 GHz to 3.9; the Corsairs are easily and quietly handling that because each Xeon has TDP of 80W while each Corsair is rated to handle 135W+.

    I think many of the comment I see here are from persons with little real familiarity with the actual cases. I find the design just about perfect, the aluminum alloy stiff and with excellent fit of all parts. LianLi encloses a box of silent mounting fasteners which make for easy install and quiet operations. The aluminum is of particular benefit here in my tropical island location because each and every steel case I have seen rusts within several months, but my cases look almost good as new. On an impulse that I greatly regret I bought a Cooler-Master Cosmos II case, intending to use that for the SR-2. Huge 55 lb. steel monster, with multiple doors and removable panels, but it turned out that I had a difficult time installing one of the Corsair H-60s; both of them were an easy fit into the LianLi. The biggie remains in a remote corner and will probably rust into oblivion unless I can unload it on somebody.
    Reply
  • knightsilver7 - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    Im getting a little sick of the case reviews, that arent reviews, more like pictures with a few words......

    Pathetic cable management

    Not using different or proper sized hardware, aka mATX motherboard in a HPTX case, if ur going to do smaller, at least do a comparison VS an HPTX motherboard.

    And backup ur facts, if ya think this Lain Li case is flimsy, prove it, do ya know the difference between light and flimsy or sturdy?

    anandtech.com use to have awesome detailed reviews and unbiased, ya can still get a great case for $200.

    Any more reviews like these, Im giving up on Anandtech....................
    Reply
  • SleepyItes - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I have owned several mid-tower Lian-Li cases over the years (PC-60, PC-6070, and my favorite the PC-7B plus). These all had a a very solid build quality and incredible ease of access features (removable hard drive cages, removable motherboard trays, etc.). The aluminum was thick, and there were panels and rails inside the case that provided excellent reinforcements. These things were rock solid.

    I just purchased the PC-Q18A for a Mini-ITX HTPC/Server. I have noticed the thinness of the aluminum and lack of reinforcement makes the case seem flimsy. Luckily this is a small case and doesn't need a lot of stability, but I can see how this would make a huge difference in a mid or full tower case. Maybe it's just the "Q" and "A" series cases, but it seems that Lian-Li is damaging its reputation by going with thin aluminum and not focusing on the physical stability of their cases. I have always recommended Lian-Li in the past (also Antec for budget steel), but if this is the way they are heading, I will probably look elsewhere for my future case purchases.
    Reply
  • BlueReason - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    I really enjoy your attention to detail in reviews, Dustin, though noise and thermal testing with a build configured without consideration for the case or utilization of its unfilled cooling options doesn't really reflect how someone would actually build their rig. A case is part of a kit that requires completion on part of the builder in a way that effectively suits the particular build. Often that requires the addition or relocation of fans, and the supplied options are a part of that case's potential. Merely putting a preconfigured build in a case unaltered out of the box and letting it ride really doesn't demonstrate much, because no thoughtful builder would do that.

    I would enjoy seeing case reviews being done where the build was completed, within reason (no modding, or anything rather elaborate), in a fair approximation of how you would build it if it were going to be your daily use rig. That could mean relocating fans, or even adding them. I realize you want to stick as close as possible to what the case provides, but by definition it is an unfinished part of a whole that requires additional parts that can differ per the build. This case is an extreme example due to the size/components disparity, but I'm also referring to case reviews in general.

    Despite that, very nice review, as usual. =)
    Reply
  • 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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