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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  • jjj - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    too bad you aren't actually testing it with at least 2 GPUs
  • jjj - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    lol got to add some more because this review just bugs me.
    Sure you got your standard testing for the sake of consistency but why just stick to it when it's not appropriate for the product? With 2 sockets and/or more than one GPU you don't only have more heat but the location of the hotspots changes and that does make a difference.Ofc you also got a very different scenario for SB-E where if you push the air back from the CPU you got some RAM in the way and you don't get any air over the VRM and that's far from ideal.
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I agree here, a 10-slot case should be tested with an extended ATX mainboard and at least 2 graphics cards.

    Better yet, slam one of those EVGA dual-CPU bad boys in and load it up with all the GPU it can handle. If I were buying this case, it would be for that kind of setup. (Probably not dual CPU, but definitely 3 graphics cards. Overclocked CPU.) How well does everything fit, and does it stay cool in that king of setup?

    I don't understand why adding pieces of plastic to support heavy graphics cards means there is too much there. Now, if they throw in a bunch of odd-looking things and don't explain what they are for, I'd sure gripe about a poor manual, but not that they supplied extra parts I didn't happen to need.

    Nice article really, just would like to have seen a more stressful test.

  • 1ceTr0n - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Lian Li makes ANOTHER boring, ugly ass case and claims it to be "UNIQUE" and "DIFFERENT".

    Lian Li hasn't made a single case that looked halfway decent IMO since the PC-68 back late 2001. The one and only Lian Li i've ever owned.
  • alufan - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    rubbish i got a A70 a while back and its perfect tbh choice of top or bottom psu mount, up to 10 HDs all with fan cooling built inspace and support for the largest GPU cards available and it looks so simple and fuss free and minimalist, it also has factory made top panel with rad and fan mounts built in, look back in the DNA of silverstone et al and Lian Lis ideas will all be looking back at you
  • CloudFire - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Agreed, Lian Li makes horrible cases. There are a few exceptions but like this one, the majority of them are horrid. Money can be spent way better elsewhere. Seriously, look at the wiring done in the assembled case. No thank you. The only thing I give Lian Li is their finesse when it comes to minimalist design and elegance; case design/layout is terrible.
  • aznofazns - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    And what do you consider to be an aesthetically pleasing case? Antec 900? BARF932?

    Take a look at the PC-P80, PC-V2120X, and basically all of the mini-ITX/micro-ATX cases they've put out in the past 5 years. If you think those are "boring, ugly ass" cases then you must be 12 years old.
  • MilwaukeeMike - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    BARF932... I laughed. Gonna use that if you don't mind.

    Yes, it's aesthetically pleasing... so are the other cases you linked. But why are the prices so high? So I can feel good making pretentious statements about being 'minimalist'? A high price for this case, and the ones you linked ($309, $469 on newegg), without knowing where my money is gonig leads me to think it's a marketing stunt and i'm paying for the priviledge of owning a Lian Li case.

    Thanks, but i'll pass.
  • tecknurd - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I have a Lian Li case and it is probably model PC-68, but I do not remember. Besides that, Lian Li case does make plain cases, but Lian Li puts the work on the DIY for making their case their own unique case. Depending on the model, can add extras to Lian Li cases.

    I will own another Lian Li case because they are easy to build a computer compared to other brands. Lian Li has tight tolerances, so drive bays and expansions are with in spec. Do not have to use a rubber headed hammer to pound the drives in place or a screw driver to leverage the expansion slots in place while screwing them down. The motherboard tray from Lian Li moves out smoothly compared to their competitors.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Respectfully disagree with your point that Lian Li cases are easy to build compared to other brands. The Lian Li cases I've tested have consistently been the most time-consuming and frustrating ones to build in. The PC-90 was the least offensive that way.

    If you want something well made and easy to build in, Corsair remains for me the gold standard for ease of assembly.

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