Evolution of Lian Li's SOHO Server Casesby Joshua Buss on May 16, 2006 8:00 AM EST
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IntroductionFor some enthusiasts, it seems like there's an almost insatiable need for more storage space. With the advent of super-detailed games, high-quality music, high-definition video and more, needs for kilobytes or megabytes have quickly given way to needs of gigabytes. If the media can just be archived, there are a few good solutions available now and even better emerging technologies like Blu-Ray on the horizon. However, for practical everyday use, nothing really beats a hard disk drive - especially twelve of them.
Enter the home-server case. Massive server tower cases are nothing new, but considering these types of machines have traditionally been strictly for commercial use manufacturers have never cared much about the cases' appearances. Now that home users are interested in storing such large quantities of data, it only makes sense that case builders are starting to pay more attention to aesthetics and usability in their server cases.
While we've looked at several cases in the past year or so that are capable of holding many drives, there are other features of a case that make it truly fit to hold a server. The most important features are that it can comfortably handle extended motherboards - as a lot of the professional dual-processor boards are extended length - and longer expansion cards as well. Beyond that, ample cooling and expansion options must be present, and if there's an option to hold a secondary power supply that's a bonus as well.
Lian Li, well known for their quality, all aluminum cases, took a stab at this genre a couple years ago with the PC-V2000, which essentially is a bulkier version of the PC-V1000 reviewed in our roundup of several tower cases. The V2000 gets a lot about this type of case just right, and the design overall will please many people just as its smaller sibling's did. Presently Lian Li also offers several newer cases designed for the same market, and we'll take a look at how one of their latest, the PC-201B compares to the V2000.
More information can be found on the Lian Li website. Also, thanks to Directron for the PC-V2000 unit.
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cgaspar - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - linkThe V2100B is just the V2000B with a door, and no silly side window.
Be careful with which power supply you buy for this case - the PC Power & Cooling 850W unit I got didn't fit, because it was too long.
Also be careful with which CPU coolers you use if your motherboard has a CPU on the bottom edge, as there is almost _no_ clearance between the motherboard and the case. I had to replace the Zalman CNPS7000B I was using. On the other hand, this is the first case where my Extended ATA montherboard didn't feel cramped (this thing is _huge_!)
Other than those minor issues, I've been extremely happy with the case. My 8 500G SATA drive array is running along quite nicely.
Missing Ghost - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkWho would use IDE for this.....And with a lot of 2 port expansion card?
Also, the cables that you used are out of spec. (40 cm max I think)
This case is meant for SCSI.
JoshuaBuss - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkI used IDE 'cause it's all I have on hand. More importnatly though, it takes up significantly more space than SATA cables, making it apparant how well the case can handle that much cabling.
ohnnyj - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkI love my PC-V2100, been a wonderful home to my AMD SLI system for over a year now. Build quality is excellent but I have but one gripe. The USB cables for the front panel are not nearly long enough to reach my motherboard. Perhaps they have fixed this in an updated model.
JoshuaBuss - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkthe front panel cords in the PC-201 are very long.. you'd have to route them all over the place for them not to reach pretty much anywhere on a motherboard.
rowcroft - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkI liked the article, always fascinated with cases. One thing I would have liked to see was an E-ATX motherboard though- it would give a better idea of the case flexibility. I would think most people buying this case would be putting a workstation class mobo in it. I've been looking for a good box to build a dual opteron rig around and this looks like a contender. Thanks again!
Xenoid - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkWould have been nice to see some temperatures on the cpu/video between the cases and other popular enthusiast cases. Overall, nice article and quite a nice case.
JoshuaBuss - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkI'm hoping to follow this look up with a more in-depth comparison of performance once I have some real sever-style equipment.
mkruer - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkI have this case. Never had an issue with it other then the rubber wheels not staying on when moving the system around. The only thing I would like to comment on, is that if you are building a “quite system” there are a few things you can do to improve that subjective score of 3.0/3.5 of 10 to 7.5 to 8.5. first remove the drive mounting (you can unscrew it) and suspend the drives is a harness. This will eliminate 99% of the reverb from the case while the drives are on. Next replace the 120mm fan. I don’t know why but the fans that are included with the case are not that grate for making a quite system.
Finally at the front of the case where you would mount CD Rom drives. Place it some foam. It really doesn’t effect the air flow but it will deaden any sound that my be coming from the mother board.
I have very sensitive herring and if I can leave the system on full boar and still go to sleep then I know that its pretty dang quite.
Lifted - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - linkThat reverb has been driving me nuts lately. I replaced a drive and moved a couple to different places, and it seems to have gotten a bit better, but still shows up now and then.