Today, we are going to take a look at the Lian Li PC70 USB and CrazyPC top window kit compliments of CrazyPC.
In reviewing a case there are typically three main components I look for: quality, functionality, and style. More specifically, a case should reflect a good fit, sturdy construction, logical placement, sufficient cooling, and a stylish appearance without being gaudy. Let?s see how the Lian Li PC70 fits measures up.
When we first received this package I was overwhelmed at the shear size. I knew this was a big case, but you just can?t appreciate the PC70?s size until you see it first hand. Dimension for the case are: 23.5? high x 23.25? deep (wow) x 8.25? wide. You would think a case this size would have some serious weight issues, but due to its aluminum construction the PC70 comes in at only 11lbs. I weighed the case on two different scales just to make sure I wasn?t seeing things! With six 5.25?, three 3.5? external drive bays and six 3.5? internal drive bays the potential for storage is enormous?talk about a server! Now add the ability to handle motherboard all the way up to 12? x 13? extended ATX and you have a lightweight server that can pack a heavyweight punch.
One disappointing feature of the PC70 is its lack of a removable motherboard tray. The case is roomy enough that this isn?t a huge feature, but it would have been a nice addition. The one real negative of not having the removable motherboard tray are the sharp edges. Most other Lian Li cases have white molding protecting the edges (or more importantly you), but not the PC70.
Mounting the power supply was a breeze. The included mounting bracket has room for one PSU and 2 80mm cooling fans. Lian Li also offers optional mounting brackets for additional PSU configurations. One thing to watch for in choosing a PSU to use with your PC70 is the shelf that sits right below the PSU. If you are thinking about using a PSU with a bottom fan like Enermax, mounting it is going to get ugly. The shelf will prevent the power supply from pulling air in from the bottom, unless you flip the power supply plate in the rear of the case so you can mount the power supply upside down.
Moving to the top panel we can see that Lian Li has included a top 80mm blow-hole. Typically a great feature to have, this one presents a problem for mounting our CrazyPC top window kit. I saw 2 options: mount the top window in front of the blowhole or cut the blowhole out. I chose to mount the window in front of the blowhole which left a generous .5? front to back after squeezing in a front handle. Additional details on the window installation can be fount at the end of this review.
The front bezel of the PC70 has the same brushed aluminum finish as the rest of the case and features 2 simulated carbon fiber inserts on the top and bottom. It was also nice to see sufficient venting in the lower front bezel for the fans. At the bottom of the front bezel are 4 USB ports and an aluminum Lian Li case badge.
The power and reset buttons are made from plastic and don?t quite match the front panel but still look good. The reset button is easy to press as opposed other designs that make it near impossible to get at. The front LED?s are blue for power (pretty) and red for the HDD and are connected via fiber-optics.
The front bezel can be removed by pulling the bottom straight out and then popping out the top. It is held in by 4 clips (one in each corner) which can be replaced quite inexpensively with a little shopping.
Once the front bezel is removed we can see that the 3.5? drive bay is held in with 3 thumb screws (mine had the additional feature of having one pre-stripped). This is a nice feature if you wanted to say? install a 5? color LCD in its place!
Slightly below the LED?s to the right of the 3.5? drive bays there is a switch to control fan speeds. There are 3 settings: high, medium, and low. This is a great feature for those concerned about PC noise.
A great feature included on the PC70 is the filter for the front intakes. This assists greatly in keeping the inside of your case clean and potentially extending the life of your components. Lian Li decided no to add fan grills behind the filter, so airflow is virtually unrestricted with the exception of the filter. Included are 2 Adda 80mm fans that put out 35CFM at a 31db.
Behind the 2 lower intake fans is the internal 3.5? drive cage which holds a total of 6 x 3.5? drives and is held in with just 2 thumb screws.
After removing the drive cage the internal speaker was reveled. I was a little vexed to see a speaker so close to the hard drives, but it was shielded and didn?t really present any problems.
The lower intake fans are directly in front of the internal drive cage keeping any internal drives nice and cool. Nothing like having a overheated hard drive fail prematurely!
Moving to the back of the case we can see the 2 x 80mm rear exhaust fans located above the AGP slot. These fans are a great compliment to the front intakes and have the added benefit of keeping those overclocked vide cards cool. I was a little disappointed in how restricted the fan grill were. Another disappointment/frustration was the seemingly cheap way the fans were held in with plastic tabs. I would have much preferred either screws or plastic cages. Directly below the fans are the expansion slots each with a cover held in with a thumb screw. To the left of the expansion slots are locations for 3 x 40mm fans. In my experience I have found these to be rarely useful.
Looking at the back of the motherboard tray, you can see how easy it is to hide wires in this case. There is approximately a 1? gap between the tray and the panel in which to hide wires, inverters, and even CCFL?s for a tray-side window.
After the system was built, I powered up, and to my surprise I noticed a substantial decrease in case temperature. My original system was at 51C/39C for CPU and motherboard, respectively. In the PC70, my temps were at 40C/29C. The combination of aluminum and 7 x 80mm fans helped make this possible, and I was thoroughly impressed.
Overall, I loved this case. It has most of the features I would expect in a case of this size and price with very few flaws. I would highly recommend this case to anyone who wants a great case for mid-size server, file storage, water-cooling, or just plain low temperatures. If you want something for LANs, this case may not be for you do to its size. At $200, this case certainly isn?t cheap, but you get what you pay for. I will use mine for years to come.
Adjustable fan speeds
Removable drive cages
Sharp edges (ouch)
No removable motherboard tray
Plastic fan clips
Restrictive fans grills
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