It really doesn’t matter how pretty a case looks if it can’t cool your precious hardware, so we put all the cases that we test through our thermal stress test. This involves fully loading both the CPU and GPU for a set period of time, and it really sorts the genuine quality cases from the puffed up wannabes.
Thankfully, given the price of the case, the V1020 performed very well in our tests, being near the top of the table in both our CPU delta T and GPU delta T tables. Its CPU delta T of 45oC was only 3 degrees behind the excellent SilverStone FT02, which is the best air-cooled case that we’ve seen in our labs to date.
The V1020 was pretty handy at cooling our graphics card too, as its delta T of 40oC was still among one of the best results we’ve seen. This was doubly impressive given that the V1020 doesn’t have a side panel fan (or even an open grille in the side panel) to provide the graphics card with cool air. The massively high-airflow Cooler Master HAF X only managed a GPU delta T of 4oC less, for example.
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It isn't surprising that the V1020 performed well in our tests, as it comes with all its fan mounts filled as standard, although we wouldn't expect anything else from such an expensive case. The downside of this is that there's little scope for increasing the cooling of the case.
You'd have to really be in need of extra cooling to replace the fitted Lian Li-branded fans, though, as they shifted plenty of air while remaining quiet and unobtrusive. With the graphics card fan set back to its default value, the case only emitted a low, constant thrum, even when being heavily stressed.
We also found the airflow through the case to be very focused, as there are no extra fan mounts or mesh panels that enable air to escape. This means that nearly all the cool air getting sucked into the case by the large front fans was being used to take heat away from the components, rather than spilling out of the case unused.
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We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Lian Li PC-V1020 – it was a joy to build a PC inside it, and it provided excellent cooling while looking great. Unfortunately, the price is a huge barrier to overcome – it’s difficult to justify spending £250 on a case, no matter how many natty little features and extras it’s got.
As a result, it’s difficult to recommend the V1020 to anyone other than those to whom price is no object, especially when cheaper cases such as the SilverStone Raven RV02 or the Cooler Master HAF X perform similarly for much less dosh. The V1020 is a desirable piece of kit for sure, and it will turn heads with its excellent looks, but unless you’ve got a trust fund burning a hole in your pocket, we suggest getting more for your cash elsewhere.