Manufacturer:Lian Li UK Price (as reviewed):£199 (inc. VAT) (basic model) / £299 (inc. VAT) RRP (ATI CrossFireX version) US Price (as reviewed):$399 RRP ex taxes
Lian Li is a company with a proven history in case design, but one that I was unfamiliar with until around nine months ago. The company has a history of creating stylish, lightweight aluminium cases that really encapsulate and fulfil the needs of discerning gamers.
However, I’ve never really been a massive fan of some of Lian Li’s previous designs and, although I’ve been as appreciative of the aesthetics as everyone else, I’ve always been of the opinion that Lian Li is yet to make a case I find attractive enough to invest in. That’s not to say that it makes bad cases—far from it and I can see merit in the worst of possible constructions—purely that, for me at least, other cases have pipped Lian Li to the post.
Still, excitement is contagious in the bit-tech offices and so, when Tim came lumbering into the office after CES like a sleepwalking zombie and started telling me about this awesome new Lian Li case he’d seen, I was forced to discard my cynicism. Tim was practically dead on his feet after long-haul flights and drawn-out conferences, but he still managed to bubble and froth with glee about the new Lian Li Armoursuit PC-P80.
With Tim offering such a recommendation despite his tiredness, I was more than willing to forget my misgivings and have a look at the Armoursuit – and things only got better when Lian Li agreed to send us a super-special ATI CrossFire branded model!
Click to enlarge
Incy Wincy Spider
Before we go any further it’s probably worth saying that the ATI version of the Armoursuit (PC P80) case is functionally identical to the standard version. The only differences are aesthetical and, while the run-of-the-mill Armoursuit comes in plain, smooth black, the ATI promotional case comes with a something a little more creepy in tow.
Namely, a whopping big spider...
The left side panel is dominated by a striking Perspex window in the shape of a giant arachnid, with some extra ATI branding thrown onto the panel for good measure. You see, back in November last year, AMD released its Spider platform that comprises of an AMD Phenom processor, an AMD 700-series motherboard and one (or more) ATI Radeon HD 3000-series graphics cards – that’s where the tie-in comes.
Now, maybe you aren’t a big fan of case branding and such striking designs but it’s hard to deny the craftsmanship of the ATI case nonetheless. Removing the side panel of the case reveals that the window is made of a full sized Perspex sheet which has been properly mounted on the inside and is precisely outlined with an engraving on the inside.
Having the engraving on the inside is an important thing to note too – it shows Lian Li understands how easily the engraving may be damaged. The fact that the artistry is so protected is fantastic.
Click to enlarge
Personally, for me, the branding and design doesn’t really do much. It’s just a personal thing and my tastes are more suited to the minimalist, svelte and simple. It’s why, if I were going to choose a Lian Li case for myself, I’d have the PC B-25. That said, I can still appreciate that some people do like the ATI design here (like Tim) and I know that the plain version of the Armoursuit is available too.
So, excluding the dangerously elaborate design, what else is there happening on the surface of the Armoursuit?
Well, the first thing to notice is probably the door. Closed, it looks like a fairly standard door – lock, hinge, catch and slotted front for a bit of airflow. Open it up though and you see the truth; three 140mm fans loaded into the door. It’s an…unusual design, but Lian Li seemed to have integrated it well and there’s no chance of catching fingers in the blades (or worse, if you really love Lian Li cases).
On top, there’s a raised section with slotted ventilation points in to provide more cooling. Located bezel-wards is the power button and reset switch that are both metal and rattle free thankfully. The Lian Li badge also lifts up and reveals an array of ports and connection points underneath too. Beneath the door there’s also a handy little knob (the best kind) which, though unlabelled, we bet is for controlling the fan speed. More on that later...