Lian-Li is a name which is very much revered among case enthusiasts, though I’ll admit that I’d never heard of them until I started work at Bit-tech. The company is very much about the high-end I’m told, with incredible build quality and a consistently beautiful series of designs.
Still, as I said – until I started work at bit-tech I’d never even heard of Lian-Li and had never spent more than £50 on a PC case (I was a student, dammit!). So, it was really interesting for me to get a chance to go hands-on with a brand new Lian-Li and get some time to go over it in detail.
In the proper circles of PC builders Lian-Li is a company which is massively respected, so I wanted to make sure I got it right and was careful to spend a serious amount of time with the PC-B25.
So, can Lian-Li live up to the hype in the eyes of a Lian-Li n00b, or will I earn buckets of scorn for forming a negative opinion? Let’s find out in our full and frank review of the Lian-Li PC-B25.
With this ring...
I have a rule; you know a case is something special when it gets practically thrown into your arms and you can catch it one-handed without even trying. This was my first encounter with the Lian-Li B25 and my first thought really was “Great, somebody has sent me an empty box again.”
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I’m not exaggerating either – the B25 really is that lightweight. Before the cardboard box had been opened I was already getting favourable impressions about the case and it’s all-aluminium construction.
Shaking off my sense of wonder at just how heavy the B25 wasn’t, I popped the cardboard box up on the workbench and cut off the plastic banding with my Swiss Army Knife. A few deft cuts later and the cardboard box slid neatly off, leaving me with a monolith of jet-black metal on the desk sandwiched between two pieces of polystyrene.
Cutting off the rest of the package, it very quickly became clear why Lian-Li is so praised for it’s designs. The PC in front of me was truly stunning in a way that no other PC I’ve ever reviewed could match, really. I’ve said (perhaps ill-advisedly in the eyes of my girlfriend) that PC cases like the Antec P182 look sexy, but ‘sexy’ got a brand new benchmark when I laid eyes on the B25. It’s the only case I’ve ever seen which deserves to have the word sexy put into italics when used to describe it, as if the word was being spoken by a stunningly charismatic mixture of James Bond and myself.
Sexy. Oh, yes.
The B25 is black all over, with a door on the front with a lock on each side so that it can be remounted for left or right-handed access. The side panels are bevelled in the centre so that they appear to peak in the middle, rising about half a centimetre out from starting position.
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And that’s about all the there is to say about the look of the Lian-Li, unless you start looking very closely. The whole PC is made of aluminium which is finished to a nicely polished black all over and the only burst of colour comes from the large blue ring on the bottom of the door which lights up when the PC is turned on and which goes nicely with the two red LEDs to show HDD usage and power.
Of course, we couldn’t just leave it at that – at bit-tech it’s our job to look closer than normal, so we opened the door and had a look at some of the finer details. The first thing to notice is the foam strips on the edge of the door – which are both a good and a bad thing. Good because they successfully cushion the door and stop it damaging the case when it slams, bad because the light grey colour ruins the beautiful all-black design of the rest of the case.
The front of the case has room for three optical drives and a single 3.5” drive, which seems limiting compared to some other cases but is realistically all that anyone will ever need. On the right hand side of the case there’s also a selection of the usual ports – two USB ports, a microphone and headphone port and an e-SATA port. Nothing to get too excited about, but again enough for anyone to really need.
The cable coming out of the front of the case to power the light for the blue ring on the door looked a little ugly and could have been better disguised, but it isn’t something worth getting in a twist about.
So, enough with the oh-so-sexy outside, let’s move to the inside of the case and have a gander, shall we?