SUMMARY: Built for cooling and large enough to hold just about anything you’d ever want to put into a case – just possibly the “ultimate” case.
Lian-Li was nice enough to send a sample of their Aluminum Server Case PC-626. Folks, this is a BIG case – it’s twice as big compared to a typical mid-tower case. I calculated the Lian-Li’s volume at 3.1 ft³ compared to about 1.5 ft³ for mid-tower case.
Because its aluminum, thankfully it’s light – about 25 pounds. This is an “industrial quality” case built to house servers with up to 8 hard drives. The case has lockable wheels – it moves around very easily.
The lockable front cover is 5mm thick aluminum; opening it
reveals space for 4 CD ROMs and two floppies. Plenty of lights – one for for power, 9 for hard drives plus a power and reset switch. Note that access to the drive slots requires opening the case – this is, after all, a server case. The grill in the front bottom holds a dust filter in place for two 120mm intake fans. Removing the grill
shows the two intake fans. The fans are Sunon KD1212PTB2-6A, 80 cfm @ 2800 rpm, 3.6 watts, 41 dBA. I measured noise from the case with a Radio Shack sound meter placed 3 feet from the case, at a 45 degree angle above the side – 55 dBA. This is not a quiet case, although using fan rheostats can dampen sound at the expense of airflow.
Opening the case
reveals just how spacious this case is. The motherboard tray is about 50mm (2″) from the back; airflow behind the motherboard is extremely good, adding to the cooling performance of this case. Note that there is a rear exhaust fan and a “blowhole”. The back
has a power supply slot, 120mm exhaust fan and the usual PCI slots. Note that the power supply sleeve pictured above is not removable and is enclosed on four sides; if you have an Enermax or similar power supply with two fans, you’ll have to cut an opening in the sleeve for the fan (not too difficult – it’s aluminum). Each PCI slot uses a knurled bolt – no screwdrivers required here. The front
has the usual CD and floppy slots. Hard Drives are housed in two separate, removable drive cages holding four drives each. The drive cages
each have handles for easy removal and are held in place by three knurled screws. Removing one cage
shows one of the 120 mm intake fans – LOTS of cool air flows over the drives. With drive speeds of 10,000 rpm becoming more common, drive cooling is becoming more a necessity than a nicety.
features a removable power supply plate.
The 120 mm exhaust fan is below it, above the usual PCI slots, with additional airflow slots. I used an Iwill KK266
to test out how well the case cools. What you see is that the Iwill is almost lost in the case – as crazy as it sounds, I wouldn’t be surprised that you could possibly fit two slim motherboards into this case (never mind why). Users should note that because the case is long, power supplies need cable lengths on the long side.
To record temps,
I used a Digital Doc 5 and placed probes as indicated above. I then ran Prime 95 for over an hour and recorded temps. I recorded temps with the case front closed and open.
|1 – Rear|
|2 – GPU Back|
|3 – Heatsink Intake|
|4 – Front Bottom|
|5 – Rear Exhaust|
|6 – Hard Drive|
|7 – Top Exhaust|
|CPU Back Temp|
Probe #4 – Front Bottom, is intake air temp. Probes in free air show not more than 3 C difference (probes 3 and 4), indicating uniform airflow throughout the case – not surprising considering there’s 4 120mm fans doing the work.
Opening the case improves airflow and reduces temps such that there is now a 2 C difference. I think even better results can be obtained by replacing the two exhaust ports with open fan grills rather than slits.
The Lian-Li PC-626 is about as good as it gets; superior airflow, beefy construction, attention to detail – it doesn’t get much better. This is a server case, but consumers looking for the “ultimate” case should consider the PC-626 – with some hacking, it could be something else! Not cheap – consider it a “lifetime” purchase.
Thanks again to Lian-Li for sending this our way – I am sending this case to Skip to test in a server environment.
The manufacturer tells me you should contact Carl Mixon from PCMODS for their server case.