Introducing the Lian Li PC-V353

We've been wanting to get Lian Li enclosures in house for review for a while now, and we're pleased to report we finally have a contender on hand (with more on the way!) in the form of the PC-V353. Lian Li touts this case as having been designed to cool through use of extensive ventilation instead of fans, but surprisingly they don't advertise what may be one of its more interesting aspects: the enclosure is comprised almost entirely of aluminum and is likely to feel surprisingly light. Can an aluminum, well-ventilated enclosure take the place of steel and fans?

We're trying to get more Micro-ATX/Mini-ITX enclosures in for review, so when the Lian Li rep contacted me about reviewing their products and asked me what I was looking for, I had a pretty specific answer in mind: something silent and/or something small. (Well, I had a third answer, too: "...or pretty much anything; I've been dying to get some Lian Li kit in.") Her answer came in the form of the PC-V353: a Micro-ATX enclosure designed to minimize the amount of fan noise by simply not having fans, instead relying on a lot of ventilation  to get the job done.

Lian Li PC-V353 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 1x 5.25"
Internal 2x 3.5" and 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 4x 120mm fan mounts
Rear 1x 80mm fan mount
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
Side I/O Port eSATA, 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 11.5" (Expansion Cards), 100mm (CPU HSF), 200mm (PSU)
Weight 9.1 lbs. (4.13 kg)
Dimensions 11.26" x 11.34" x 15.63" (286mm x 288mm x 397mm)
Price $169

Like many smaller cases, the PC-V353 is going to be fairly limited in the types of peripherals it can hold. While some are more bizarrely spacious than others (SilverStone's Temjin TJ08-E comes to mind) these are generally cases that require some compromise; a tower-style cooler seems like a bad idea in general for the PC-V353, especially when you note that the area above the I/O cluster is one of the few places Lian Li didn't ventilate the chassis. Let's take a closer look and see how this small box performs.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-V353
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    It never ceases to amaze me what some people find offensive. Reply
  • IlllI - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    i find your post offensive!!

    i DEMAND you change it because i find it offensive! you have lost all credibility with me because you spoke your mind!

    actually i agree. some people get too damn butt-hurt over the littlest things
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    +1 Reply
  • cjmurph - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    "but surprisingly they don't advertise what may be one of its more interesting aspects: the enclosure is comprised almost entirely of aluminum"

    Umm, it's a Lian Li case dude, what else is it going to be made out of, chicken feet?
    Reply
  • aznofazns - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    That line had me confused as well. Anyone who knows anything about Lian Li cases should realize that the all-aluminum construction is practically their main selling point.

    But the part that bothered me was the conclusion. "It's a nice and unique piece of aluminum, tremendously light and easy to move, but this case honestly would fare a lot better with fans." Dustin, I think you're missing the point of this case. It's designed to be a silent case, so it'd probably be wise to use a fanless PSU (Seasonic SS-400FL, anyone?), large, passively cooled CPU heatsink (or a really quiet one like the Scythe Big Shuriken or Zipang 2), and a passively cooled graphics card. Or better yet, install a Llano A8 chip.

    I do agree that Lian Li didn't make the best use of space in the V353, as with most/all of the V3xx series, but the end result is a pretty slick looking microATX rig.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Having lots of ventilation (and no sound dampening) flies in the face of building a silent PC. Reply
  • aznofazns - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Lack of sound dampening seems irrelevant when the components inside are silent, don't you think? Reply
  • aznofazns - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Just to hammer this point home, read Lian Li's own description of the PC-V353:

    http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php...

    "The PC-V353 is designed to be a silent case.
    To use lots vents instead of fans to cool components."
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    How about "quiet case" as opposed to silent, because small and compact with no sound dampening but still using a CPU fan (necessary given the cramped quarters) means that this won't be "silent". Reply
  • aznofazns - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Well it depends on what components you're using.

    For example, a low power Zacate, Llano A4, or dual core Sandy Bridge chip would be able to get by with a large, passive heatsink. The ventilated case would be enough to keep those chips from overheating. With no case fans, a fanless PSU, and an SSD, the system would literally be silent (save for possible capacitor squeal).

    On the other hand, a higher power CPU/APU could use a heatsink with a large, low rpm fan. In that case it would be "quiet," but having case fans would still add to the noise.

    Either way, Lian Li designed this case to be cooled passively.
    Reply

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