Lian Li stands out in a tech world where brand extensions, market diversification and cost cutting strategies are currently the norm. Indeed, its focus on uncompromising build quality and unqualified loyalty to aluminium as a material for building cases is almost legendary among tech enthusiasts. This absolute focus on quality is a double-edged sword, however, as prices for Lian Li cases can sometimes border on the ridiculous. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a Lian Li chassis to be more expensive than many of the components within it.
This is certainly the case when it comes to the Lian Li PC-V1020 which, at a whopping £255, costs the same as a high-end graphics card. Still, you do get a hell of a lot of case for your money - the V1020 looks stunning. We’d actually go as far as saying that pictures of the V1020 don’t quite do it justice, as the case has an air of elegance and class about it that you just can’t quite capture with a camera. The scale and height of the case, and the beautifully tactile feel of the brushed aluminium, need to be seen first-hand to be fully appreciated.
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Whether you like the restrained styling of the V1020 is a matter of personal taste, but the feeling here in the bit-tech office was that the clean black lines and sleek curves of the case were very pleasing. The vented front panel of the case is reminiscent of the Mac Pro sitting on the desk of our art editor, but this isn’t necessarily bad; the fruit merchant is well known for its design skills after all. The other most immediately noticeable part of the exterior of the case is that it's sat on wheels. These make moving the case around very easy and they can be locked if needed; there was a tiny bit of play in the wheels, even when they were locked, however.
The front panel of the V1020 is well appointed with four USB 3 ports, an e-SATA port and the usual microphone and headphone sockets. The panel is located in the traditional position on the front top edge of the case, and when it's not in use the ports can be hidden under a small aluminium cover. The only negative here is that all of the USB 3 ports use pass-through cables rather than the new USB 3 motherboard connectors that we’re starting to see on most decent motherboards these days. As such, if you want to connect all of the front panel USB 3 ports, you’ll need a motherboard with four rear-mounted USB 3 ports.
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The side panels of the V1020 are solid sheets of aluminium that attach via a clever lockable sliding bracket that runs the length of the top of each of the panels. The mechanism is extremely easy and satisfying to use, and does away with the need for easily-lost thumbscrews. It could be argued that this is a somewhat over-engineered solution, but it’s the kind of feature that we expect to see on expensive cases such as the V1020.
Dimensions (mm): 220 x 505 x 562 (W x D x H)
Available Colours: Black, Silver, Red
Front panel: Power and reset switches, 4 x USB 3, stereo, mic, eSATA
Drive bays: 3 x external 5.25in drive bays, 7 x internal 3.5in drive bays, 1 x internal 2.5in drive bays
Form factor(s): ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling: 2 x 140mm front fan mount (2 x 140mm fan supplied), 1 x 140mm roof fan mount (1 x 140mm fan supplied), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (1 x 120mm fan supplied)
CPU cooler clearance: 155mm
Graphics card dimensions supported: 305mm
Extras: Removable motherboard tray, rubber hard drive mounts, dust filters on all intake fans