Visiting Lian-Li's CES booth is usually at least an interesting experience. I often feel like the engineers and designers there just get an idea for an enclosure and "go for it," which results in a mad doctor's laboratory of experiments. Sometimes you get failed experiments (the PC-A55), sometimes you get great ones (the PC-90), but there's always something going on that's at least worth looking at. As I was telling Vivek the othe night, even if a unique product is bad, at least someone did it so nobody ever has to again. By the same token, though, if experimenting yields fruit, we all benefit.

Case designers often hesitate to produce an enclosure that's necessarily wider than the standard, so the V850 on display is an interesting choice. The side panels pop off in the same fashion as Corsair's Obsidian 600T, and the rear struts are replaced with casters. Inside is a wealth of fans directed squarely at the graphics card, CPU, and motherboard area; the case is designed for cooling performance first and foremost, with noise being a distant secondary consideration. I was keen to point out to the Lian-Li rep, though, that fan controllers were very common at this year's CES at almost any price point. Hopefully this will change in time for next year.

I was taken with the Q30, though I'm exceedingly skeptical about the cooling design. Thankfully this is a prototype, but it's certainly intriguing. It features a Mini-ITX mount, single half-height expansion slot, and two USB 3.0 ports in the front. The cooling is handled by a single 120mm fan that sits behind the motherboard, but that fan is actually an exhaust. I think the idea is to pull air in through the side vents, over the components, and out of the back of the case, but in practice I suspect that moving air will simply bypass the components entirely.

We're looking to get more and more Lian-Li enclosures in during 2013, and I'm looking forward to having some of these more exotic designs in for testing. Sometimes you get a PC-A55, but sometimes you get a PC-90, and I'm really anxious to see when that happens.

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  • Gadgety - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Got a PC-90 as it takes the monster sized HTPX motherboard size yet still looks like an ordinary sized chassis. Fit and finish is great. There are a couple of Lian-Li upscale features that are not available on the PC-90. They ought to bring out the PC-90x, or PC-90+, PC-90 Premium or similar so I could get it all in one package. Lian Li could benefit from bringing out upgraded versions of their better chassis.
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I bought a PC-G50 reverse ATX design and love it. It does not seem to have been a very popular case ( they did not last long on the market), but it is very functional, and small for a full ATX case.

    At 17" tall it can house a full ATX motherboard, full length video card, and has 2x 120mm fans, and 1 80mm blow hole for an optional 80mm fan. One of the 120mm fans has its own bracket, which is adjustable to sit directly over where the video card would sit inside the case.

    The 3 HDD bracket on the bottom was kind of cheap, but where Lian Li makes up for this is the 4 x 5.25" bays up top. You could like me opt out of a full length video card, and buy a 4in2 drive bay caddy. Which gives you room for 7 total HDDs. If that 4in2 drive bay adapter is bought from Lian Li, you get an additional 120mm fan to go with it as well.

    However one minor drawback was that the PSU mounting is sideways, on the back and sits right above the CPU. Leaving aftermarket cooling options to a minimum. OEM HSF's fit just fine, but anything larger would most likely not fit. *Unless* you modded the case, and moved the PSU forward to the front. Which I had considered myself several times.
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Sorry, meant to say 4in3 drive caddy.

    Another thing i had often considered was buying something like a sythe 3x 5.25" bay mounted 120mm fan adapter, and making my own custom "tube" coming off it and blowing over the CPU, and out the back. I did buy one such fan bracket from Sythe, but never got around to making my own cooling ducting system. Hell I even bought the aluminum to do so lol . . . Oh well.
  • vanwazltoff - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    i watch a CES video on the whole line up and didnt really like any of there designs. lian li needs a new aesthetic. i love fractal cases
  • tzhu07 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Yeah Fractal Design for me is the new king of case makers. Especially their Define line. They are quiet and classy and heavy set. I love my Define Mini.
  • Wardrop - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I still wish Lian Li would do more generic modular designs. They offer so many nice accessories like hotswap bays and optical drive bezels, side panels, etc. I'm currently typing this from a computer housed in a LIAN LI PC-A16. It's such an awesome case. I've got 2x optical drives with bezels, 8x hot-swap external hot-swap drives, a full-size graphics card, 3x expansion cards, etc, and it's the size of a standard ATX case. It's perfect, but sadly they don't make any such case.

    They still do an E-ATX version, the A77, but I'd live to see the re-introduction of a case like the A16, and would love a Micro-ATX version with 6x5.25" bays. Would make a great NAS or gaming enclosure. They could half their product line by offering more generic cases like this. Instead they produce so many specific cases, none of which fully satisfy anyone's needs.
  • shatteredx - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I used the legendary Lian Li PC-60 for my first build back in 2001 and it's still a great looking (but boxy) design.

    For me, their design aesthetic peaked with their Mac Pro ripoff design (the PC-V1000) which was a beautiful case with a great internal setup (mobo flipped, separate compartments).

    I've moved on to Silverstone (the FT03, outstanding design) since then and am very impressed with the internal and external design. Cases have progressed nicely over the past decade.
  • aguilpa1 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Lian Li, could make their aluminum cases thicker. I have an older I believe V1000B that is built like an aluminum tank. My new full tower PC-P80 is made of much thinner stuff and I would be afraid to move it around to much for fear of it collapsing. It is obvious when a company is going downhill when cost cutting is apparent in their products.
  • chaos215bar2 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure why you guys seem to like manual fan controllers in cases so much. Automatic control is great when it works, but I absolutely don't want to think about changing fan speeds in my case ever time I start up a game or a CPU intensive task. I want my builds to just work once I'm done getting everything just right.
  • shatteredx - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Agreed. My ASUS board's Q-fan control works great, manual fan controls are just an extra gaudy knob to have on the outside of the chassis.

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