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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  • 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.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/lian-li-mid-case-...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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