What’s in a case? Well, a computer, that’s what…but what’s existentially in a case? Form? Function? Airflow? All of the above? That’s usually what Lian Li tries to pull off with their creations. It’s hard to say no when they offer to let you look at their latest E-ATX case, so that’s what we’re bringing you today – a look at their new PC-V750. It’s a normal case, but with a twist; the power supply goes in the front. Will it work? Let’s find out.
Packaging & Specifications
Packaging is standard fare for Lian Li. The case is enclosed in a nicely printed box with Styrofoam surrounding it to provide protection while it travels. Quite often these things show up beaten and battered. While this one did not, history shows this packaging is plenty to keep the case in pristine condition.
Here we have our first look at the subject of today’s review. It looks pretty plain at first glance, but once you start to dig into it, you’ll find it’s anything but.
The specifications are what they are and you can read them yourself. The main thing that separates this apart from many Lian Li cases is the ability to house E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboards. Indeed, one of the main reasons we get to take a look at it is our penchant for all things ‘big’ when it comes to computer hardware.
Also of note, six hot-swap 3.5″ places and enough accommodations for pretty much anyone’s 2.5″ HDD or SSD requirements. Cooling is accomplished by plenty of fans, with three 120 mm and two 140 mm fans included.
Now we get a proper look at this beauty. Unlike past cases (and due to an error in the shipping department), today we’ll be looking at the silver version. While we expected the black version, the silver PC-V750 is a pleasant change from the norm.
The silver definitely makes hiding black wires harder, so you’ve got to make all your wiring choices with that in mind. No one that buys a Lian Li case will be doing it to just throw their system together inside it. No, they’ll be going for a good looking setup; and right from the start, we see a great start to accomplishing that.
The exterior of this case, like many-a-Lian Li-case before it, is elegant and moderately under-stated. The silver will raise more eyebrows than the black version as it’s not what people have come to expect out of a computer.
The front of the case has dual 120 mm intake fans, while the exhaust fans reside on the rear (single 120 mm) and the top (dual 140 mm). As usual, the PCIe blanks have slanted holes to allow for even more airflow.
Here’s one more look at the top and rear of the case together.
The bottom has space for a 140 mm intake fan (not included, you’ll see why later on) as well as the PSU intake vent. Both of these are filtered with washable metal mesh filters. Washing isn’t necessary with this type of filter though, as you can just as effectively clean it with compressed air.
The front I/O consists of a power and reset switch as well as plenty of front connectivity. The power switch glows blue and the reset button doubles as a red HDD activity indicator light. As far as connectors, you have stereo audio out and mic input, dual USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port and an eSATA port.
I’m still surprised at how many manufacturers put eSATA ports and would like to hear from our readers – do any of you actually USE these things? I do not and have never owned an eSATA device, nor to my knowledge have any of our editors. It seems silly to put that on here when another USB port would be more practical.
Anyway, one last glamour shot and we’ll move on.
The silver definitely makes for a striking case. Understated elegance – Lian Li doing what it does best.
The accessories that come with the PC-V750 give you everything you need to build your system. One of Lian Li’s best features are the thumbscrews it includes for motherboard installation. That makes things much easier than breaking out the screwdriver (and accidentally dropping it on your board…).
Also included are various HDD/SSD screws and grommets, a motherboard speaker, a little wrench for adjusting motherboard standoffs as necessary and the plastic GPU holders for use with the GPU stabilizer.
What’s missing and is a huge disappointment for this level of case is Lian Li’s little screw holder that they formerly always included with their higher-end cases. Here’s a photo of the one that came with the PC-Z70 just under six months ago. That little value-add was one of the constants with Lian Li’s premium offerings and it didn’t come with the PC-V750. Boo.
Moving on, also included is a metal plate on the left is for mounting SSI CEB/EBB server boards.
Last up is a USB 3.0 -to- USB 2.0 converter for those of you without a USB 3.0 header on your board just yet, which is great for legacy systems.
No screw/part holder. I’ve been reduced to going back to a plastic Zip-Lock baggie to house my screws. On random-manufacturer’s case that’s perfectly fine. On a $379.99 Lian Li case? Not-so-much. It’s a small qualm, but it’s the small stuff that counts when you’re spending that much money.
Interior & Feature Tour
Opening up the case, the first thing you will be struck by is the thickness of this side panel. On their high-end cases, they have never skimped on the aluminum and this is yet another example of the high-gauge metal they are known for. It’s actually thicker than the case’s construction itself, which is already solid as-is.
The side panel mounting mechanism is not only tool-free, it’s screw free. You just pop both side panels on and off. I actually thought that might be a problem with the back panel because I like to cram wire after wire behind the motherboard tray, often leading to a fight to get the side panel back on. Obviously that would be a problem with this kind of mount. The impressive depth behind the motherboard tray fixed that though and using this mounting method was no problem at all.
Here you get your first close-up view of the interior and it is just as good looking as the exterior. Clean and very well constructed, it has everything you could ask for.
The GPU stabilizer I find is unnecessary but if your GPUs are particularly heavy, it could come in handy. Personally, I appreciate the cleaner look without the stabilizer bar. Note you can remove the top bracket with just two screws so it doesn’t have to hang down there. The bottom mount is riveted to the bottom of the case.
As mentioned, there is a ton of room behind the motherboard in this case, owing mostly to the way the PSU is set up – it has to be thick enough to mount the power plug extension. There is also a giant hole for cooler backplate access. Blissfully, this one is large enough to access the full backplate on the Rampage IV Extreme, unlike the previous Lian Li cases we’ve looked at (which were just too small laterally).
Moving in a little closer, we see a strong feature of the PC-V750 – the hot-swap HDD bays. There is room for six 3.5″ drives to be hot-swapped here, assuming you hook up all the connections of course. Due to form factor issues, you won’t be able to hot-swap 2.5″ drives, even with a 2.5″-to-3.5″ adapter (I tried).
Speaking of 2.5″, if you look at the three silver cross-braces, you can see they all have holes to accommodate mounting 2.5″ drives. Of course, you’ll lose that 3.5″ HDD hot-swap bay, but that’s to be expected. It’s nice to see so many SSD-sized mountings. As they’ve become more mainstream with price reductions, more and more people are using them. Lian Li has you covered with their high-end PC-V750.
Here is how the drives are actually mounted. You simply put the supplied screws through the supplied rubber grommets and screw them into the drives. There are two sizes of screw, one for 2.5″ drives and one for 3.5″ drives. Once the screws are installed, you can snap 2.5″ drives into their places or slide 3.5″ drives down the rails into the hot-swap connections. There is a rail on the left of the HDD rack that slides down to hold the HDDs securely in place.
There is a removable bracket on the bottom of the case on which you can install three more 2.5″ drives, if you have a bunch of them you want to use. There are other holes too, which might be for 3.5″ drives but I’m honestly not sure. They definitely don’t fit 2.5″ drives turned sideways or anything.
This bracket is also why you won’t see the extra 140 mm intake fan included – because it’s where the bracket resides. They did include a filter for the fan if you choose to install one, but for once Lian Li didn’t include ALL fans and this is a justified reason.
Removing the extra drive mounting bracket shows the 140 mm mount wide open. In the photo on the right you can also see the non-removable GPU stabilizer bracket. Well, non-removable unless you want to drill out the two rivets holding it down.
Here we have what is probably the most unique feature of this case – the PSU is backwards! That’s right, the PSU in this case mounts on the front via a removable bracket and extension wire for the PSU power cable. It’s a very interesting way of doing things and honestly made cable routing that much easier because you have lots of extra length to work with.
The only drawback I can see is that the warm air from the PSU will float up to be drawn into the case by the intake fans. That could be fixed by reversing the case airflow but it’s really not necessary. Granted, the PSU I’m using for this build is very efficient and an absolute monster, so it would take a lot to heat it up, but I’ve put my hand down there to see if it’s putting out a bunch of heat and was pleasantly surprised that it was not, even under load.
The front fans are easily removable by sliding them to the side and pulling them out. They both have dust filters installed too. It’s great to see dust filters all around to help keep your computer clean.
Continuing our interior tour, here’s a closer view of the motherboard tray and and rear of the case. The fan is standard fare for Lian Li, with grilles on both sides to protect your fingers. There are also holes for water tubing to pass through if you want to use an external radiator.
One thing that is a slight disappointment is the lack of Lian Li’s standard screw-free, quick-release PCIe bracket. Here is a photo of it on the PC-Z70. I say slight because I didn’t miss it that much. Sure, it’s easier to swap cards out, but there is one key factor that it lacks – uniform appearance. The quick-release bracket has black in it. This case, aside from a few minor details (and the fans) is basically all silver. Why pollute the interior with more black when you don’t really need to. Instead they went with shiny silver thumbscrews.
I think the function-to-appearance trade off is a valid one here. If you want to, you can purchase the quick-release bracket separately. However, I will say in a case that costs this much – just like the lack of a screw/bits and baubles case – they should have included it and given you the option of installing it or not. It’s a very minor thing, really it is; but at this price point, minor things count.
Here you see the top dual 140 mm fans. As you can see they are awfully close together. Regrettably they are too close together for radiator hole spacing. We’ll get to that in a little while though.
Here you can see the amazing amount of room to work with behind the motherboard tray mentioned before. Yes, it’s due to the fact that the plug is there, but I like to think they intentionally thought of wire management freaks like myself as well. So much room back there makes the case an absolute joy to clean up.
So now that you’ve seen the exterior (exquisite) and the interior (clean, functional and also exquisite), let’s start putting a computer in here and see how the case is to work with.
Working With the PC-V750
Right off the bat, we have great news – the motherboard tray’s hole for heatsink mounts actually works for the Rampage IV Extreme! It’s the first one that has worked with E-ATX boards. Thank you for making that change Lian Li. It’s not something used often, but when it is, you want to be able to do just that – USE it. Thankfully, now we can.
Remember how I said the fans in the top were too close together? That’s true for anyone that plans on using a dual 140 mm radiator in this case. I don’t think they anticipated that in any event, because there is no way you can fit fans and a radiator internally above the motherboard. They just didn’t leave enough room. Yet again, water cooling is an afterthought in the form of a couple holes drilled in the case.
We like water here though, so we won’t let a silly little things like an inability to fit or hole spacing stop us! So I didn’t mess up this beautiful case too much, I chose to use only six screws for radiator mounting – all four for the fan in the rear and then two for the fan in the front. That way there were only two, um, ‘expanded’ screw holes. I put a cloth down to catch metal shavings, some tape over the holes to prevent the drill from slipping and drilled away.
It really took very little to make the holes big enough. I really wish Lian Li would at least consider water cooling builders, even if a radiator and fans won’t all fit internally. it wouldn’t take that much effort to properly space the fans for radiator usage and just give us the option.
Anyway, I used the fan grilles that came with the case and mounted the fans themselves externally. The fan power wires were then routed to the side and down under the side panel. It actually worked out pretty well. Something could be fabricated to make it look more seamless, but I was quite pleased with the result.
As mentioned before, this case is made to house larger motherboards. Indeed, you can see here that there is plenty of room to spare outside the E-ATX Rampage IV Extreme. Not many boards will take up more room than this one, but if yours does, there is room for you.
The last photo before we get to the final build is the rat’s nest behind the board. Thanks to BitFenix, I was able to use braided PSU extensions to make this system look stellar (I’ll be writing something up on those when project Rhapsody in Red is completed). With all the room behind the motherboard tray, it was nothing at all to use the extensions. Adding in the room behind the PSU and you’ve got all the space you need to hide a ton of wiring.
Overall I’d give this case an A- for ease of use. The biggest -indeed only- issue is the hole spacing in the top and it’s likely very few people will be trying to water cool in this case with the knowledge they can’t fit it internally.
Installed and Ready for Showtime
The system going in today is a mostly top-of-the-line beast consisting of a Sandy Bridge-E processor, some killer RAM, a two SSDs, two HDDs, an NVIDIA Kepler GPU and a solid CPU-only water loop.
|CPU||Intel i7 3960X|
|Motherboard||ASUS Rampage IV Extreme|
|RAM||G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2400|
|GPU||ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP|
|SSD I||OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240G|
|SSD II||Patriot Inferno 100G|
|HDD I||Samsung 1TB|
|HDD II||Hitachi 2TB|
|PSU||Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W|
(Yes, that’s overkill, I’m aware.)
|Water Loop||Swiftech MCP350, XSPC Res Top,|
Swiftech Apogee XT, Koolance 140×2
Bear in mind that the fans included with the case will not look like this These are BitFenix fans also supplied for Rhapsody in Red.
Before you see the inside, this is what the front looks like. Lamptron is supposed to be sending a silver fan controller, so please excuse the black controller used in the mean time.
Now we get to the fun part. Like I said, this case was very easy to work with, especially when it came to wire management. Other than wishing there was about 20 mm extra room over the motherboard to fit a radiator internally, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the build turned out.
These photos are with the photo lights on of course. After a few more of these, we’ll check out what happens when you power up the system and turn the lights off.
Now the fun part. BitFenix, generous as they have been with Rhapsody in Red, supplied LED strips as well. In these photos, I used two 60mm LED strips, one in the top and one on the bottom. They’re mounted such that they are mostly hidden by the side panel mounting lip. I thought it turned out quite well, hope you agree.
You know I’m a sucker for photos, so enjoy a few more!
Last one, I promise….
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
From its beautiful looks and all aluminum construction to its extremely easy wire management capabilities, this case is great to work with and looks stellar to boot.
Before extolling its virtues too much, I want to go over the cons. I usually don’t do straight-up lists, but it seems appropriate in this case.
- Top fans not spaced properly for a radiator. (Granted this will affect a very small subset of users.)
- Lack of the screw/bits & baubles holder that has come with high-end Lian Li cases for years.
- Lack of screw-free quick-release PCI bracket. They really should have included one, if not installed from factory. This isn’t a cheap case and that’s a part that shouldn’t be held back in a case this expensive. I understand why they made the choice they did, but disagree with its exclusion as a spare part.
- Lack of a side panel window. Another thing that really should be included at this price point. There is a black version that does come with a window, but that costs an extra $50, entirely too much over an already high price.
- Price. There are expensive cases, then there are Lian Li cases. This one will set you back $379.99.
The pros, however, are numerous.
- Gorgeous inside and out.
- All aluminum construction.
- All fans included (except the bottom 140 mm intake, for obvious reasons listed above).
- Plenty of airflow to keep your system cool.
- Hot-swap capability for six drives.
- Very easy to remove and install side panels. This is the first time I’ve seen a mechanism like that and it is very pleasant to work with.
- Room, room and more room for wire management.
- Holds large motherboards with room to spare.
- Unique front-mounted PSU. Another interesting choice; it’s a first as far as I can recall and it ended up being great to work with.
- Plenty of space for 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives.
- Did I mention it looks great?
When it was empty, exquisite was the word I used to describe this case’s look, inside and out. Thanks in part to its copious cable consideration, after putting a system in it I’m pleased to say that opinion hasn’t changed. The Lian Li PC-V750 is exquisite, period.