Manufacturer: Lian Li UK Price (as reviewed): £100 (Approx) (inc. VAT) US Price (as reviewed): $120 (approx)
A quick look at Lian Li's website reveals vast swathes of mini-ITX cube cases. The company certainly takes its small form factor designs seriously, although we haven't quite seen the same kind of innovation as we have from SilverStone, which is making very good use of its Air Penetrator fans in small cases to prevent heat build up, which is always an issue in these dinky boxes.
SilverStone also has the likes of the FT03 Mini, which sport a different take on the usual mini-ITX cube design, while BitFenix's Prodigy is still the daddy when it comes to building water-cooled mini-ITX monsters.
Announced back in April, Lian Li's latest contender, the PC-Q28, has still to reach UK shores but is expected to arrive soon. It is essentially a refinement of several previous mini-ITX cases from Lian Li, which aims to tick as many boxes as possible when it comes to offering what your average enthusiast with a fetish for small cases needs.
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Admittedly it's a fingerprint magnet but the exterior has Lian Li's usual sublime mix of achingly-gorgeous brushed aluminium and precise curves and joints. The front and rear panels curve round to the sides of the case, which means that traditional side panels won't do. Instead, the PC-Q28's thick and rigid aluminium panels are screwed in from the side and use notches to secure them on place. Thankfully it's just a single cross-head screw you have to contend with, albeit you do have the need for a screwdriver. Although the screws and notches are small, they do detract a little from the super-clean exterior.
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The all-aluminium construction sees the Lian Li PC-Q28 weigh in at just 3.2KG, which compares to nearly twice that for the BetFenix Prodigy. It's very compact too, measuring just 277mm x 345mm x 305mm (W x D x H) and if our black sample doesn't float your boat then the PC-Q28 is available in silver too.
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The front of the case houses a single external 5.25in bay, which has no rear limit thanks to the motherboard and PSU being placed well below it. The single power button and case badge are the only other things you'll find as the ports are located on the right side of the front bezel. These include two USB 3.0 ports and the standard two minijacks for headphone and microphone. The rear of the case is oddly spartan, with no vents or fans - just two expansion slots, the rear I/O panel and PSU mounting points.
The roof is home to a 120mm fan vent, which is the only exhaust in the case, discounting the PSU. The underside reveals just how sealed the PC-Q28 is - there's just a small filter-covered vent at the front allowing the front 140mm fan to draw in air, albeit somewhat restrictively.
Dimensions (mm)277mm x 345mm x 305mm (W x D x H)
Available colours Black (reviewed), Silver
Front panel Power, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone,
Drive bays 1 x external 5.25in drive bays, 6 x internal 3.5in and 3 x 2.5in (with single slot graphics cards) - 4 x 3.5in and 1 x 2.5in (with dual-slot graphics cards cards)
Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
Cooling 1 x 120 roof fan mount (fan supplied), 1 x140mm (140mm fan supplied)