Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case Review

Written by Harry Butler

November 26, 2009 | 09:03

Tags: #aluminium #atx #htpc #htpc-case #reviewed

Companies: #lian-li


Sliding off the roof panel is as simple as unfastening two thumb screws and it’s immediately obvious that the case’s large exterior dimensions have been put to good use. The interior is amazingly roomy and boasts support for full ATX hardware to boot, a fantastic inclusion for those who want to bring a full spec gaming PC into the living room.

As well as the pre-installed ATX motherboard risers, the huge amount of room will make cable routing simple and the case is even deep enough to take some high end tower CPU coolers thanks to a generous 14cm of headroom above the motherboard.

While the C32 is roomy inside it’s clever too, with both the external 5.25in/3.5in and internal 3.5in drive bays fitted into easily removable drive cages. The internal 3.5in drive cage in particular is excellent, with space for three hard disk drives with rubber grommet mountings cutting out a lot of the hard disk drive vibration. While it’s often an overlooked feature we can’t emphasise enough how important vibration deadening HDD mounts are – they really are the difference between a low hum and what sounds like a hive of angry bees living in your PC.

Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case Review Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case - Interior Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case Review Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case - Interior
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Where the roof panel meets the rest of the case Lian Li has fitted plastic runners to eliminate vibration between the panelling and the PSU mounting is particularly good, placed on its side and fitted either directly into the case or slid in via the rear having been fitted into the dedicated PSU mount.

We also can’t stress enough just how brilliantly put together the whole case is – it has a fantastic feeling of solidity and quality despite being made of light aluminium – there’s definitely no dodgy side panels, wobbly rear IO surround or dodgy mounts here – the PC-C32 is built to last.

Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case Review Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case - Interior Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case Review Lian Li PC-C32 HTPC Case - Interior
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While we love the easily accessed drives and roomy interior, our favourite feature of PC-C32 is the twin 120mm cooling fans fitted in the middle of the case. Mounted underneath a central support rail that itself reinforces the chassis the two fans can be repositioned anywhere along their runners to provide optimum airflow or be entirely removed – a particularly useful option when you’re installing hardware or routing cables. While putting cooling fans in the middle of a case might seem a bit odd it is, in theory, a perfectly sound decision, the core hardware receiving direct airflow without the noise of dragging air aggressively into the case.

The lack of an exhaust fan is a worry though and while there are mounts for an 80mm fan to the rear and a 140mm fan mounting built into the roof panel these are empty when the case comes out of its box – disappointing omissions for a product that costs over £100. Add this to the lack of dust filters and the PC-C32’s cooling setup leaves something to be desired.
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