Lian Li's commitment to aluminium for building its cases lends its products an elegance that other cases struggle to match. This comes at a cost however, given the price premium aluminium has over steel, and the PC-A76 is no exception. £165 may seem like a lot to pay for a case, but in actuality it's fairly good value for a full size aluminium Lian Li tower case. It's cheaper than the steel and plastic NZXT Phantom 820 and comes in at way less than the excellent PC-V1020 too. and you do get a lot of case for your money. Put simply, the big black fridge-like PC-A76 is a massive chassis, although it's not quite as big as the super expensive PC-V2120 we looked at last year.
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In terms of styling, the monolithic PC-A76 is about as minimalist as you can get, with flat, black aluminium faces on the sides, front and roof of the case. The material used is lovely, and gives the PC-A76 a real touch of class about it, although you'll need to be careful when handling it as it attracts finger marks all too easily. On the front is a lockable door, lined with foam on either side where it meets the case to prevent metal on metal contact. Slits along each side of the door provide breathing room for the three 140mm front intake fans.
The sleek exterior is maintained thanks to a sliding cover for the top-mounted front panel. The cover itself can be a bit stiff to open and close, but it's firmly in place. As for connectivity, a fairly standard array of connections is provided, although there's no e-Sata port. We did like the inclusion of a downstepping USB cable, which allows you to run the two USB 3 ports as USB 2 ports should your motherboard lack USB 3 headers. Next to the front panel are the power and reset buttons, but annoyingly no fan control is included with the PC-A76.
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Along with the three 140mm front fans, a single rear 120mm fan is supplied for exhaust duties. However, Lian Li has also left room for two more 120mm fans on the roof, in which it's possible to house a full height dual water-cooling radiator, but in a case this size we were really hoping to see support for triple rads. External water-cooling loops are also possible thanks to the holes on the rear panel, though the grommets on these were very stiff. Finally, there's space for two more 140mm fans on the left side panel.
In the interest of preserving the smooth finish of the PC-A76, Lian Li have used aluminium blanking plates to cover the empty fan mounts, which have the added advantage of keeping noise in and dust out when they're not in use. Dust filtering mesh is provided for the top 120mm fan mounts, but annoyingly none are provided for the 140mm side mounts. Unless you have your own or buy one of Lian Li's own optional 140mm fan kits (with included dust filter), side fans on the PC-A76 will be left unguarded. This is a big oversight - not only does it look bad, but it's a hazard for stray hands or feet and would promptly result in a layer of dust being sprayed over your components.
Click to enlarge - aluminium blanking plates are used to cover the empty roof (left) and side (right) fan mounts
The case feet are fully rubber, although the case is still wobblier than we would like. The door too, is quite loosely attached, and consequently rattly and a bit squeaky, which is very disappointing and detracts from the sense of elegance that usually accompanies Lian Li cases. The removable PSU dust filter is handy, but as it cannot be slid out, it must be clipped off by tilting or laying the case on its side, which is not ideal with any chassis, especially not one so large and heavy. The three front fans include their own removable filters, however, which we liked as they can be clipped off for cleaning simply by turning them.
Dimensions (mm) 220 x 615 x 585 (W X D x H)
Available colours Black
Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 2 x external 5.25in, 12 x internal 3.5in, 3 x internal 2.5in (using 3.5in bays)
Form factor(s) E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, HPTX
Cooling 3 x 140mm front fan mounts (fans supplied), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan supplied), 2 x 140mm side fan mounts, 2 x 120mm roof fan mounts (fans not supplied)
CPU cooler clearance 170mm
Maximum graphics card length 360mm
Extras removable PSU dust filter, removable fan dust filters, USB 3 downstepping cable