The ultimate enthusiast case? – Joe
SUMMARY: The ultimate enthusiast case?
The good guys at Microplex Norge were nice enough to send a sample of their Lian Li Aluminium Modular Cube Case to check out. This case is made by Lian Li to Microplex’s specs. Let me say at the outset that this is the LARGEST shipment I have ever received – after unpacking, this is what was included:
What arrived at my door was a package larger than the typical dorm fridge! The interior volume is almost 3½ cubic feet – enough space to house any conceivable PC/cooling configuration I can think of – especially for aggressive water cooling. Think of two mid-tower cases side by side and you get an idea of the size.
Obviously this case needs a host of accessory products to make it fly – the 18 5¼” bays show the server lineage of this case. To accommodate 3½” hard drives, radiators, etc, you must purchase separate components to mix amd match to you needs.
The front center panel includes the usual On/Off, reset and activity LEDs:
The bottom features firewire, two USB and audio ports:
One option is for a window for the case’s side:
The back shows the venting possibilities – three 120mm fans, two 80mm and space for a power supply:
There is a removable top plate for this case
that is held in place with 12 screws. Once removed there is a radiator plate option:
A clear plate option:
and a plate for another two 120mm fans:
Lots of flexibility!
The interior is all space – the front left with 9 5¼” bays:
The back with the usual mobo slots, one 120mm fan and two 80mm fan ports:
The other side – an additional 9 5¼” bays:
The back with two 120mm ports and space for the power supply:
With all these fans, there is an option to add filters to the case front:
Floppies require a separate drive cage:
Each adapter fits into one 5¼” bay:
Hard drives are housed in cages – this one is for mounting hard drives at the REAR of the case:
This one with an integrated for front mounting – the whole unit slips into three 5¼” bays:
This cage holds four drives – if you were to populate the front just with hard drives, you could house 24 of them.
The fan features a good size filter:
A view from the rear shows the cooling potential for those hot 10,000 rpm drives:
Note also that the drives are mounted with rubber grommets to reduct noise and vibration:
There is also a filter for the power supply:
In addition there is a plate that allows fitting two power supplies:
Great for redundancy.
There are a host of miscellaneous fittings – blanks for ports not used:
Brackets to mount a radiator inside the case:
and various bezels to finish the case:
The Lian Li is large enough to easily accommodate a 3 x 120 mm fan size radiator. I installed the radiator with the fans on the radiator, as opposed to installing the fans in the case itself. I did it this way to avoid any problems with masking off the voids between the case and radiator to make it air-tight.
There are radiator brackets available for the Lian Li which install at the radiator’s top…
The easiest way I found to do this is install the base bracket first, then slip the radiator in place, figure out where the top bracket will line up, remove the radiator and install the top bracket – there is enough play in the front mounting slots so that you don’t have to have a precise initial fit.
With the top bracket in place and secure, mount the radiator in place using the screws that hold the fan to the radiator. Once secured in place, then slip in screw in place the front screens:
These screens accommodate a fan, but in this case it was not necessary. By mounting the fans on the radiator, they are also further back into the case and will be quieter than directly mounted to the front screens. For extreme cooling, it certainly is possible to mount an additional radiator at the top of the case.
The fit and finish of this case is top rate – no sharp edges to cut your fingers. The interior volume is big enough to accommodate two motherboards, assuming some enterprising soul did the right mods. As is, this case can easily hold a large 3 x 120 mm fan radiator easily for watercooling and all associated gear no problem. The accessories available are well built and will blend in to the case’s black finish nicely.
Overall, the Lian Li is a case that can meet just about any cooling solution you might want to install, with accessories to make it very pleasing to the eye.