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Lian Li shows radical new case design

Lian Li shows radical new case design

Both cases feature an innovative hard disk mounting mechanism

Another day at Computex 2011 sees another round of new products and this time it’s Lian Li showing off two new cases: the PC-90 and the PC-100.

Both cases are made out of Lian Li’s customary aluminium, but feature some truly innovative internal design elements.

The PC-90, for example, mounts its hard disks vertically along the right-hand side of the case, a mechanism that when fully loaded with hard disks creates a bizarre looking wall of storage.

Lian Li claims that mounting the disks in such a way frees up room at the front of the case where the disks would classically be mounted. This allows Lian Li to either place more fans at the front of the case, or to shrink the size of the case.

On the down side though, mounting the disks in this way essentially blocks off access to the rest of the PC meaning you’ll need to remove your disks every time you needed to fiddle with your components. We also can’t help thinking that mounting the disks in such a way is a cable routeing nightmare waiting to happen. We’ll wait until we see the PC-90 in our labs before making any firm judgements, however.

Lian Li shows radical new case design Lian Li take the wraps off a pair of new cases Lian Li shows radical new case design Lian Li take the wraps off a pair of new cases Lian Li shows radical new case design Lian Li take the wraps off a pair of new cases

Lian Li also showed us the PC-100, which features an innovative back-to-front design whereby cold air is drawn in at the rear of the case and hot air exhausted out the front. Not only this, but the motherboard is also mounted back to front, meaning its rear I/O panel is actually located at the front of the case.

To accommodate this design Lian Li has had to place routeing holes for things such the DVI cable you can see in the pictures. There's also a number of small holes around the aluminium fascia of the case, which unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of (though it’s similar to that of the PC-90), for things such as mouse and keyboard wires to pass through.

Such a design is obviously a radical departure from what we’re used to seeing from Lian Li, which should be applauded for attempting something new. Whether the design actually offers any thermal benefits remains to be seen.

Lian Li shows radical new case design Lian Li take the wraps off a pair of new cases Lian Li shows radical new case design Lian Li take the wraps off a pair of new cases Lian Li shows radical new case design Lian Li take the wraps off a pair of new cases

Both cases are still in the development phase but should be hitting the market later this year if all goes to plan, Lian Li said.

Do you fancy a mental mirrored case, or do you think the design will fall flat? Let us know your thoughts in the forum.

47 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
PureSilver 1st June 2011, 12:23 Quote
My V1000 is already 'upside-down' - the motherboard is the wrong way up with the PSU in the base, which was pretty radical back in 2004.

It's not aged perfectly - heatpipes aren't really designed to work inverted - but in theory I'm interested in weird design revisions...
Flibblebot 1st June 2011, 12:24 Quote
I don't see the point of turning the fans around if the internals of the case are turned around too - surely that's just the same as spinning the whole case around by 180 degrees?

Or am I missing something.

Glad to see Lian Li are still being as mad as ever, though.
bluespider42 1st June 2011, 12:27 Quote
Wouldn't it make more sense for the 'wall of storage' to be behind the motherboard tray?
faugusztin 1st June 2011, 12:27 Quote
I would rotate the disk and route the cables other way around - not in the middle, but on the sides. That would create a nice, manageable way of routing cables (the length wouldn't change at all when you open the case.

The real downside is the heat from the graphics card in my opinion.
Tsung 1st June 2011, 12:46 Quote
bluespider42 beat me too it, I thought when I saw this the wall would be behind the motherboard rather than infront of it.
DragunovHUN 1st June 2011, 12:57 Quote
Put hinges on that hard drive tray and it's good to go.
Technobod 1st June 2011, 13:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsung
bluespider42 beat me too it, I thought when I saw this the wall would be behind the motherboard rather than infront of it.

Same here too, though personally I quite like the idea. What would make it perfect imo would be to have all the SATA cables embedded or even a backplane, so you actually connect your SATA cables at the bottom/bottom/side etc all in one clump rather than having lots trailing around.
Or even a custom case cable from the bottom etc to get to the ports and then split so all you get is one nice albeit thick cable to route not 6/8.
TheLegendJoe 1st June 2011, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
Put hinges on that hard drive tray and it's good to go.

Exactly what I was thinking, hinged door = ease of access & lots of space
Spreadie 1st June 2011, 13:11 Quote
Yeah, I like the idea of a SATA hub integrated into a case design, with minimal cabling as a result.

Agree on the HDDs being mounted behind the mobo tray too - much cleaner look and more room for a WC loop inside the case.

I love my Lian Li V1200 Plus - a spot of dremelling easily made room for a couple of 240 rads inside.
TAG 1st June 2011, 13:18 Quote
We've already seen similar HDD mounting location with the Silverstone RV03
warejon9 1st June 2011, 13:20 Quote
What is odd is the say it saves space, yet not made the case any smaller? Also yea i agree with putting the HDD behind the motherboard tray. Maybe they might implement some kind of hot swap esque connection so you just plug the drives into that silver band? Even so the bonkers design will probs cost a small fortune sadly :(
only_happy 1st June 2011, 13:23 Quote
Definitely go with the HDD's behind the motherboard instead, hinged at the base to give access for cable routing.
I can understand reversing the fan flow. my case at work and at home are under the desk, exhausting the hot air out the front would give better cooling instead of heating up the area under the desk.

Lian-Li's marketing department need a slap though, 6 identical HDD's would make it look a lot more impressive than just a bunch of random drives.

And why hasn't anyone before put HDD's in the base of a pc? how many cases have empty space in the bottom. seems logical (or is that a big oversight by me?)
minimad127 1st June 2011, 13:48 Quote
the only problem i can see with having hdd behind the board is the cooling of the hard drives, yes i know they dont get as hot as a GPU but they can still kick out a decent amount of heat, and in a area of no air flow could have some serious shelf life issues,

although i guess with a little bit of playing you could potentially replace 1 or 2 of the hard drives at the bottom with 120mm low speed intake fans and have a vent/s at the top of the case to get some air flow over the drives
Quote:
Originally Posted by only_happy
And why hasn't anyone before put HDD's in the base of a pc? how many cases have empty space in the bottom. seems logical (or is that a big oversight by me?)

also wild stab in the dark but i guess the higher concentration/build up of dust at the bottom of a case and mechanical drives dont mix well in the long run
Cei 1st June 2011, 14:16 Quote
I/O on the front of the case...otherwise known as turning the case around.
Jehla 1st June 2011, 14:22 Quote
I like the hdd thing, would be awesome for water cooling with that room at the front. I don't understand revised mobo though.
Phalanx 1st June 2011, 14:41 Quote
OK, I don't get the 100 series. So they've basically turned the case around? Genius. I could just pick up my case and rotate it 180 degrees. Voila, a PC-100 for free!

At least Silverstone had a GOOD idea with the FT02...
TAG 1st June 2011, 14:44 Quote
They didn't just turn the case around since the 5.25" bays are on the same side as the i/o
Flibblebot 1st June 2011, 14:47 Quote
Maybe, but I still don't see how turning the case round will improve cooling...
TAG 1st June 2011, 14:52 Quote
I'm not sure what the point is either, maybe it's as simple as easy access to all your i/o

If it's cooling related maybe the crazy rotation is solely dictated by having the usual rear exhaust used as an intake, straight into the cpu cooler. Underdesk air, behind the pc, is usually considered hot and dusty so that's probably why the rotation.
dragonthc 1st June 2011, 15:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PureSilver
My V1000 is already 'upside-down' - the motherboard is the wrong way up with the PSU in the base, which was pretty radical back in 2004.

It's not aged perfectly - heatpipes aren't really designed to work inverted - but in theory I'm interested in weird design revisions...

My v1200 is the same, the heatpipes are struggling while inverted. I've always wished the case weren't inverted.
faugusztin 1st June 2011, 15:02 Quote
My board and graphics card really liked the V1000 when i had it. Everything was much cooler than it is now (aka heat rises thingy).

And what is the point of having the back of the board on the front ? There is none, really. They just have to come up with some crazy stuff when they seen the Silverstone rotated layout with the back of the board at top :).
Xir 1st June 2011, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
seen the Silverstone rotated layout with the back of the board at top :).
Well, rotating 90° does allow the hot air to rise easier as your cards aren't in the way anymore.
Webby63 1st June 2011, 15:18 Quote
Probably the coolest and worst idea I have ever seen in a computer case... I might just get one :D
faugusztin 1st June 2011, 15:18 Quote
Of course, but Lian Li can't just copy that. That wouldn't be innovating :D.

(yes, i'm a bit sarcastic).
balatro2005 1st June 2011, 15:39 Quote
Like the way the hard drives are mounted. Could be a replacment for my current case.
Waynio 1st June 2011, 16:24 Quote
Lol how awesome to see a past idea I implemented in a case now, I mounted hdd's like this on side panels about 4 years ago when I didn't used to share my modding antics :D so hell yeah it's cool to see this being done by Lian-Li, it's absolutely true about it saving space, that's why I did it, was at a time when I was trying water cooling out for the first time & had to do some major modding to make room for it all even though I did remove the water cooling & never returned to it as I didn't like the constant thought of water flowing around my pc lol this is good weird tech news to me :D;).
bobwya 1st June 2011, 17:03 Quote
I'm a die-hard Lian-Li fanboiii all the way - but this is just too far! They will probably bring it to market too (given their past record)... :-)
Waynio 1st June 2011, 17:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwya
I'm a die-hard Lian-Li fanboiii all the way - but this is just too far! They will probably bring it to market too (given their past record)... :-)

Gotta agree really though even though the idea of them doing something now what I done 4 years ago in an infinitely more ghetto look is a funny thing but really Lian-Li have the resources to make it work excellent I think if they use sata backplanes effectively with some nifty wire work to keep it all tidy, those pictures must be in prototype stage I'd expect, really is like a blast from the past :D, was feeling kinda down & this article really cheered me up .
sixfootsideburns 1st June 2011, 17:48 Quote
Nooooo!!!! That harddrive design is almost EXACTLY what I was planning for a mod I'm still designing! Daaamnnnn yyouuuu Liii Liiiii!!!!
BitHeroes 1st June 2011, 18:02 Quote
Say goodbye to case windows I guess?
wonderer 1st June 2011, 18:12 Quote
Every case that comes in to test in PC Advisor labs is checked how the hdd-s are placed in gages and then there is lot of talk about how mounting disks sideways blocks the cooling of disks and how mounting them other way would give much better cooling and more points in test.
Now those disks will be mounted against side panel, so about what cooling we talking here?
Not impressed at all.
TAG 1st June 2011, 18:15 Quote
We're talking case cooling, with the drives not impeding airflow whatsoever.
Hard drive cooling is overrated.
kzinti1 1st June 2011, 18:16 Quote
These concepts are so incredibly stupid it's hard to figure out where to start.
Exhaust the hot air into the room, where the majority of air conditioning is concentrated? You'll never get enough cool air fron the wall side of the case. The hot air, exhausting directly into your expensively air conditioned room will raise your A/C costs. I bet you'll really feel cool with all that hot air blowing out the front and rising up to the vicinity of your face.
Block access to your internals with a "wall of hdd's?" That's really bright! Hinge the wall of hdd's? Where are you going to bunch up the extended sata and power cables? Right up against your cpu heatsink & fans? Create a snakes pit of worthless insulation? Fried cpu's on toasted mobo's anyone?
Make the cases smaller? That's exactly what LianLi is after. Cheapen their costs to manufacture that will never, ever be passed on to you.
Smaller cases tend to be extremely hard to cool. I have just switched over to all full tower cases because of this, plus the much easier access to the internals. I've also switched over to watercooling. Absolutely impossible with these completely retarded concepts.
LianLi, you're engineering staff really needs to quit guzzling those gallons of sake' they appear to be consuming all day long at an ever increasing rate. Your "concepts" have been going straight down the crapper ever since you were bitten by the spider that made you hallucinate the most stupid, ugliest case(?) I have ever seen. Your spider m-atx platform. Do yourselves a favor and sell out to Chenbro before you lose ALL of your money and pride.
TAG 1st June 2011, 18:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kzinti1
Exhaust the hot air into the room, where the majority of air conditioning is concentrated? You'll never get enough cool air fron the wall side of the case. The hot air, exhausting directly into your expensively air conditioned room will raise your A/C costs.

This doesn't make any sense. Hot air rises whether it starts its journey under your desk or in front of the pc doesn't make any different to your AC system.
The only difference would be if you were stupid enough to sit in front of the exhaust AND crank the AC up because you're feeling hot sitting in a hot spot.
suenstar 1st June 2011, 18:36 Quote
Oh my God... the cables!
Particularly in the the 3rd picture of the P90 and the 2nd picture of the P100, they just look appalling with those cables all over the place.

Anyway, now I've moaned about the cables... the actual layout of the case just doesn't look right with me. It's slightly interesting, but many of us like to add a window to our cases and having a wall of HDDs showing through is really going to kill off that idea. :\

Could you imagine doing a water-cooled setup just to cover it all up with that wall?
I'd guess by the grommeted holes that they intended to support water-cooling, so I would have thought that they would automatically assumed that people would like to see their intricate loop routing.

I'd agree with others that putting the drives behind the MB tray would be a better idea, although that could gimp cable management somewhat (unless perhaps they extend the back back panel out a little further to accommodate the space required for drives and cables).

Lian Li have done one of my pet hates in these cases as well... top-mounted PSUs.
I don't mind them at the top if the case has some unique exterior design that makes good use of it, but for something in a very plain box style case I just can't seem to force myself to like the power supply at the top of the case.

I really hope these cases get some serious alteration before getting sent to retailers.
They just don't look well thought out from those images.
Waynio 1st June 2011, 19:29 Quote
It's actually an excellent idea if implemented well as I'm sure if they go forward with this they will, instead of warm hdd's allowing warmer than ambient air pass over to the system parts like most cases, the hdd's & system parts will all catch enough ambient air all the while compacting the size of case, honestly people who can't see that & talk about engineering around pc design are quite closed minded, I highly doubt they are thinking water cooling for a smaller case also, they already have a massive range for that.

Next to the expansion slots on most cases is a lot of unused space when a big fan is expanding the width, they could make those internal panels so they simply unscrew & swing out to allow access to the system, it will require some form of anti vibration & custom sata backplanes with cables routed through the internal panel with flex so it can function correct, I have faith they can crack doing this right & look forward to seeing it happen, I think it would be quite awesome, a good compact air cooled full atx case, if I hadn't come so far with modding I'd be very interested in buying 1.

I know what they need to do to make it work excellent & without hassle & they are not far off the mark with what I see, I done a very ghetto version of this either 4 or 5 years ago when I started modding for performance, then the x2000 case came along with the 3 seperated sections which with the price of I think £300+ convinced me to try making my own like that :).

Anyway I'm glad to see an old idea I tried finally come to a quality case manufactuer, I know it could work especially with Lian-Li's build quality.

Many think Lian-Li cases are overated, I see them as nice simple very well made cases & perfect for modding with the plain but nice looks they usually come with, not much fun in modding a case that is full of manufactuer mods of what they think we want.

But yeah a normal window mod wouldn't be so good on this but a top front 1 could & so could the hdd panel, a good enough or brave modder could manage a cool mod on something like this :D if they implement custom sata backplanes & the right wire work, I think it's essential else I doubt people will like it much.

I'm sure they could put them behind the mobo tray but it wouldn't be optimal & the case would need to be wider.
ZERO <ibis> 1st June 2011, 21:15 Quote
I could care less about making the cases smaller but I like the idea of being able to fit more HDDs. Over the years as I have been going for larger and larger RAID arrays on my main system space for more drives is always needed.
TAG 2nd June 2011, 01:16 Quote
fluxtatic 2nd June 2011, 06:50 Quote
Maybe he means he already cares so little he doesn't care to care less :p

Anyway, the PC in the middle of my living room is like the 100 - flipped it around because the case doesn't have front panel connectors. I'll have finished the new scratch build before I get around to moving the power switch to a pci cover on the back. So lean over the table to hit the button and away we go. Not that easy to get to the ODD, but it doesn't matter - it's rare when I need the ODD on that one at all. It's got two installed, but only one hooked up - I couldn't find the blanking plate for that bay, so I just shoved an extra drive into the bay.

Like everyone else, I thought not a bad idea on the 90 when I thought the HDDs were behind the mobo. Since they're not...in the words of Dib, 'This is stupid. This is stupid stupid'. Even in that case, though, I'd be concerned about heat.

I like the look of LL cases, but they're a little rich for my blood. Nice to see the designers coming up with unusual ideas, but maybe they shouldn't make them all public.
ZERO <ibis> 2nd June 2011, 09:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAG
http://incompetech.com/Images/caring.png

Learn it

Nice ;) lol
l3v1ck 2nd June 2011, 10:32 Quote
They'd have been better mounting the HDD's like that behind the motherboard tray.
Waynio 2nd June 2011, 10:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
They'd have been better mounting the HDD's like that behind the motherboard tray.

Yeah I understand that on the looks part & maybe they will because you could get more there too, I'd guess 1 of those long fans at the botttom with vents in the top could do it well to make it so a good enough amount of air flow gets to pass them there & make the case a little wider & bingo a great new form that other case manufaturers will kick themselves for not doing first :).

:D That's all from me on this, I'm feeling much better so I'm back to work on my own case :D.
OCJunkie 2nd June 2011, 17:31 Quote
Incredibly retarded features just for the sake of making something "new"... hard drive rack should obviously be on mobo side, and having to route all your connectors through holes in the front of the cas, WTF, why?!? Complete fail.
HourBeforeDawn 2nd June 2011, 19:58 Quote
you know I think I like it
MY5T AXD 2nd June 2011, 20:24 Quote
I see Hard Drives...Lot's of them. And whilst it looks pretty cool, the fact that the tray is behind the mobo would be enough to put many people off. I'd tolerate it personally, but others would more than likely say otherwise.
Xir 6th June 2011, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by suenstar
Lian Li have done one of my pet hates in these cases as well... top-mounted PSUs.
You mean, someone adhering to the ATX design standard for once is a bad thing?:D
PSU cooling is overrated. At least mine doesn't get hot at all, and has no problem sucking some warm air from the top of the case as ist's supposed to.
azrael- 20th June 2011, 20:37 Quote
Did you guys (BT, that is) get any more photos of the PC-90? While I didn't take to the case initially I now find myself strangely drawn towards it.
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