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Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case Review

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Fod 26th November 2009, 10:19 Quote
sorry but why is having an ATX mobo over an mATX mobo in a HTPC case such an advantage? IMO, even mATX HTPC cases are ridiculously big, and even worse is their depth. Manufacturers need to come up with some way of combating the ridiculous depth of these cases, possibly by stacking components over areas of the motherboard. I'd love for there to be an mATX case that actually properly stacks on top of my other hi fi gear. As it stands they just don't fit into most equipment racks.
Xtrafresh 26th November 2009, 10:28 Quote
I've always wanted to mod one of these to hold a proper watercooled system presented through a windowed top-panel. Desktop-style computing 2.0 so to speak :D

I fear this case could be a prime contender for that treatment.
The boy 4rm oz 26th November 2009, 10:30 Quote
The only advantage that I can see of using an ATX mobo is the expansion card options, besides that they are quite useless IMO. Any mATTX mobo can run a GPU, a wifi card and a sound card quite comfortably, what more do you need, except maybe a TV tuner card. If your particular mobo runs out of slots and you desperately need one you could always use a wifi USB dongle and attach it internally to the mobo header instead of using a wifi card.
crazyceo 26th November 2009, 10:33 Quote
I setup a HTPC last year using the Antec Fusion case. My only pet hate has been the LED screen and the iMon software for it. Whether I've used XP MCE or Vista and now onto Win7 it's been a pain but still something I can live with. It has the Volume knob on the front and the IR receiver but can only use mATX which has not been a problem since pretty much all mobo makers release a mATX version of their best full ATX boards. The antec also allows full sized cards and looks great beneath the TV and Sky HD box. It comes with all the rubber grommits and padding to quite out any vibrating noise but also suffes from the lack of dust filters.

Sorry for the mini review here but the Antec case isn't as overpowering as the Lian Li looks and has been a great addition to the living room.
Baz 26th November 2009, 11:20 Quote
For me, ATX compatibility means you're able to use spare parts from older systems you've built in the past - I know most of the HTPCs I've built have come about this way.
SlowMotionSuicide 26th November 2009, 12:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fod
Manufacturers need to come up with some way of combating the ridiculous depth of these cases, possibly by stacking components over areas of the motherboard. I'd love for there to be an mATX case that actually properly stacks on top of my other hi fi gear. As it stands they just don't fit into most equipment racks.

I recently got myself a GD04 from Silverstone. It has stealthed slot for full 5.25 optical drive (which sit on top of the mb, meaning only 70mm high or lower coolers can be used), room for full atx psu and 2 hdd's. It can also take full-lenght graphics cards, and has some decent cooling potential. Also, it features luscious 8.0mm aluminum front panel, but best of all its only 323 mm deep, meaning it sits nicely next to my amplifier. It's not too pricey either (had it for 90 Eur), the only downside i've found is the 3 included "silent fans" which are real screamers.
tron 26th November 2009, 12:02 Quote
Quote: "You’ll certainly need a big TV unit to house this beast comfortably"

I wouldn't focus much on the disadvantages of the idea of a HTPC being put under a TV.

In a 'true Home Theatre setup', there should not really be any distracting AV equipment at all located under, or anywhere near the screen. You wouldn't see it in a proper cinema theatre. I like to keep AV equipment as far away from the screen as possible.

Anyway, this case looks good. Neat. It's a Lian Li. I may have bought a case like this 'a few years ago'. But I have learnt through experience that they take up even more room than a normal PC case. A normal PC tower has a smaller footprint and gives more flexibility, in terms of where and how it can be stored. Wheras the 'DVD payer' or 'Hi Fi' style of HTPC cases have a larger footprint on the floor or table.
Flibblebot 26th November 2009, 12:04 Quote
The one thing I hate about so many HTPC cases (and this one is guilty too) is that so many of them leave USB ports and speaker sockets on full view on the front.

It annoys me more than I have words for: any HTPC I've built has been "setup and forget", and the times I've had to use a front-based port are rare - I'd much have them hidden behind a flap or, even better, on the side of the case.

Look matter for an HTPC case, especially one that's going to sit in full view, and ports on the front of the case are just plain ugly.
Fod 26th November 2009, 13:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tron


In a 'true Home Theatre setup', there should not really be any distracting AV equipment at all located under, or anywhere near the screen. You wouldn't see it in a proper cinema theatre. I like to keep AV equipment as far away from the screen as possible.

very true, my equipment is all in a cabinet. And yet most HTPC cases wouldn't fit in a cabinet.
GW42 26th November 2009, 14:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowMotionSuicide
I recently got myself a GD04 from Silverstone. It has stealthed slot for full 5.25 optical drive (which sit on top of the mb, meaning only 70mm high or lower coolers can be used), room for full atx psu and 2 hdd's. It can also take full-lenght graphics cards, and has some decent cooling potential. Also, it features luscious 8.0mm aluminum front panel, but best of all its only 323 mm deep, meaning it sits nicely next to my amplifier. It's not too pricey either (had it for 90 €), the only downside i've found is the 3 included "silent fans" which are real screamers.

I've just bought the GD04 as well - it was the shallowest matx case I could find. Very happy with it, and not sure why for a HTPC (as opposed to HTPC/haming machine) you would need full atx. (& as SMS has said above, it can take full length graphics cards anyway).

I guess what people want from a HTPC is wildly different, but this Lian Li seems far too big for me.

SMS - I'm more than happy with the fans in the GD04 - however as I didn't have any molex connectors (I went for a DC/DC power supply with external brick, and the DC/DC board didn't have any molex on it ) I just connected all the fans off one system fan connector on the motherboard by using a couple of splitter cables. I think that in effect was a volt mod, and I can barely hear the fans with my head right next to the case. I've only got Athlon x2 though (well, unlocked sempron 140), so the lower fan speeds seems to cause no problem temps wise for me.
faugusztin 26th November 2009, 14:47 Quote
Well, i solved my HTPC in a bit different way. True, i can't turn the thing on by remote, but oh well. Antec ISK 300-65, Asus AT3N7A-I board, 1GB RAM, 250GB 2,5" HDD, 2x8cm Noctua fans and we are done. True, it can't host all the files, it can't record from TV (it could, but i don't want the TV card to be in it) - but that is the task for my fileserver, running quietly in corner (consumption = 61W with 5 HDD's). Instead of those tasks, my HTPC has a Arch Linux with XBMC running on it, playing media from the fileserver - all that while consumion of it is 27W.
13eightyfour 26th November 2009, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I setup a HTPC last year using the Antec Fusion case. My only pet hate has been the LED screen and the iMon software for it. Whether I've used XP MCE or Vista and now onto Win7 it's been a pain but still something I can live with. It has the Volume knob on the front and the IR receiver but can only use mATX which has not been a problem since pretty much all mobo makers release a mATX version of their best full ATX boards. The antec also allows full sized cards and looks great beneath the TV and Sky HD box. It comes with all the rubber grommits and padding to quite out any vibrating noise but also suffes from the lack of dust filters.

Ive got mine in an Antec Fusion Max case, The imon software is a little crappy but i use win 7 media center, and gave up on the lcd trying to display anything truly useful all it shows is what currently being played, or whats on TV. The volume knob on the front refuses to do anything, its not a big problem as ive never tried to use it anyway.

The max has removable dust filters behind the drop down panel. It is a bit big looking but fits ok in my modified ikea expedit bookcase.
Phil Rhodes 26th November 2009, 15:33 Quote
Are there rack ears for it? I build a hell of a lot of rackmounted PCs for industrial applications and I often end up using HTPC cases because with an ATX board the Chenbro stuff is just hopelessly too deep. Looks like there's holes for them.
knutjb 26th November 2009, 17:08 Quote
Good looks and functionality are expensive. The high end audio manufacturers spend a lot of money and charge a lot of money for great looking enclosures. I can't see how it would be any different for computer cases. That thick, heavy aluminum front panel is expensive to machine. Until someone comes up with a good looking alternative a great front panel will remain expensive.

I wish all electronics had better dust protection. When I breakout the compressor blow dust out of the computer I also blow dust from all my electronics too. TVs are particularly bad.



Until I get a house with a great air handling system, I have allergies. I will continue my seasonal cleaning.
Jipa 26th November 2009, 18:45 Quote
I've reviewed a bunch of HTPC-cases and so far almost all of those have been too damn deep. Just had the GD04 around and it was the first one that could actually fit into your average AV-rack.. And this one is just ridiculous. Sure there are plenty to choose from, so the size shouldn't be a problem, but that's just too much...
saspro 26th November 2009, 23:35 Quote
Isn't this case over a year old and no longer for sale (bar ebay)
Initialised 26th November 2009, 23:41 Quote
It doesn't look much bigger than my AV amp.

It looks like could you feasibly fit a pair of 120mm radiators on the internal fans and a LaingDDC with a top mounted res should fit between the optical and HD racks. Would make a nice stealth gaming rig.
SteveU 27th November 2009, 18:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GW42
I've just bought the GD04 as well - it was the shallowest matx case I could find. Very happy with it, and not sure why for a HTPC (as opposed to HTPC/haming machine)

Do they make bacon too or just ham? ;D
WildThing 2nd September 2010, 21:23 Quote
Sorry for the thread necromancy, but is this case still available anywhere? It's just what I'm after for my HTPC upgrade. The article links to this one, but that appears to be a rack mountable version.
Bindibadgi 3rd September 2010, 04:52 Quote
The new C50 is out now, maybe that's why. The UK team has one on the way for review but it's on a boat and will arrive October..
WildThing 3rd September 2010, 08:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
The new C50 is out now, maybe that's why. The UK team has one on the way for review but it's on a boat and will arrive October..

Ooh, something to look forward to then. Cheers Bindi!
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