Introducing Lian Li's PC-90

The majority of the enclosures from Lian Li that we've tested so far have been designed for mini-ITX and micro-ATX builds, but today we have on offer one of their premium full ATX cases, and it's a promising one indeed. Lian Li's PC-90, which they dub "The Hammer," is designed to support HPTX and XL-ATX motherboards while being smaller and lighter than most other enthusiast cases in its class. And while we'd hesitate to call it diminutive, it's definitely smaller than you'd expect.

Lian Li aims to offer a lighter, more austere shell for high performance systems in the PC-90, and we can tell you they've been very successful. Without giving too much away, Lian Li's traditional brushed aluminum shell and accompanying aesthetics meet an old school ATX enclosure design complete with top-mounted power supply in a way that offers an intriguing alternative to the larger, bulkier enclosures we're used to reviewing for this bracket. Here's the brief overview.

Lian Li PC-90 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5", 6x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm fan mount
Right -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 10
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, headphone and mic jacks, eSATA
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 15.5"/400mm (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 300mm (PSU)
Weight 14.7 lbs (6.7 kg)
Dimensions 9.1" x 19.9" x 19.3" (230mm x 505mm x 489mm)
Price $200

The PC-90 certainly isn't cheap, but it's most definitely an intriguing design. At just 14.7 pounds it's positively svelte compared to other enthusiast-class enclosures like Cooler Master's Cosmos II or SilverStone's FT02. That light weight owes to the largely aluminum shell and minimal use of steel in the framework. There's also a respectable amount of depth to the case, but as you'll see, that depth is needed.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-90
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  • ckryan - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Lian Li either makes the most frustrating cases, with serious flaws in design, looks, and execution. Other times, they're a simple, effective, and aesthetically pleasing enclosure. The weird part is, I can't always tell which category a Lian Li is supposed to go in.

    I think this is perhaps why I like them so much. If they were clearly excellent or clearly abysmal, I don't think they'd interest me as much. There is usually as much to love as to hate, and not very much to be indifferent about.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I own an old PC-7B I bought way back in 2002 and I still use it to this day.

    It is the highest quality case I have ever owned.

    Lian Li may come up with some weird designs but their quality is unmatched.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Yeah I own a PC G-50 ( which is about 4 inches shorter than this one i think at 15.5 inches if I recall correctly ). As far as other Lian Li cases go it may not be the best, but I love this case, and I also use it to this day. Also the best case I have owned. Reply
  • superccs - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    What CPU cooler are you using, I had a hell of a time getting good airflow with that case and eventually stopped using it.

    I still have the case just don't know what to do with it.
    Reply
  • p05esto - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Yep, I bought 3 of the classic PC-60 cases and still use them and LOVE them. I made a few modifications like stainless grab handles on the top and top/side blowholes with stainless grill covers. In other words the cases are very high quality and stand the test of time in classic look.

    I have to say that I don't like the front grill design. I actually didn't like most of the Lian-Li front designs, they only made a few like the PC-60 that I considered elegant and timeless. The version above has too many holes and looks like swiss cheese, ugly IMO.
    Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    I also have several PC60s and I'd like to see a return to an updated design with similiar features as the review on this case doesn't impress me at all..

    It would be so simple to do to.. move to 120mm fan enclosures, (keep the removable motherboard tray) all they have to do is fatten the case up a bit and perhaps change the drive arangement.. but noooo.. they give these odd designs that just don't work for me.
    Reply
  • Samus - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Silverstone has some doozies too. Not everyone gets it all perfect, that's the risk of innovation. Reply
  • Stas - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    meh, I disagree. I love their classy, simple designs - look sexy, serious, formidable. but the only 2 times I was blown away with quality of a case were: CM Cosmos (OG), and SilverStone FT01. Not a sharp edge, not a single useless cutout for the sake of saving material. Lian Li cases are high end, no doubt, but they never exceeded my expectations with 10 or 15 cases I got from them. Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    How could they have both "serious flaws in...looks" and be an "aesthetically pleasing enclosure"?

    This seems to be contradictory
    Reply
  • pc_void - Saturday, March 03, 2012 - link

    Just the same as when two people say something completely different about the same thing and both are true? Reply

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