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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  • etamin - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    +1. The light weight is just as obvious...there was no need to make such a big fuss about it like this was the first small all aluminum box made Reply
  • kevith - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Strength comes from the inside, Dustin, from the inside:-)

    Nice review.
    Reply
  • londiste - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    first, i am admittedly a lian-li fan. however they don't have a single matx case i would really like. all their matx cases are too strange.

    lian li has some itx cases that would be better built for the purpose of fitting itx hardware (which is what you use) and thus be considerably more suitable. i've assembled a couple of systems with mid-high video cards into their pc-q08 that is frankly excellent for its size. anything without a gpu (or large/hot gpu) will also fit into and stay cool in their smaller cubes just fine (pc-q07 and pc-q11 are the current ones if my memory server me right).

    considering the noise/heat situation bad for a case with no fans compared to case with a large 18cm fan is not very fair. 73w processor on an itx board is not a smart thing to do if you're assembling a quiet system. when comaring to temjin, i would be a lot more interesting in how pc-v600f fares - similar size, more traditional layout. or maybe pc-v354.

    quibbles, to answer your question about atx case - as we are on the subject of lian li, pc-a05 and its newer derivatives are quite excellent at being simple, light and fairly reasonable size atx cases. price is naturally somewhat outrageous for what you get though (as with anything they produce). the first time i bought one, i had to open up the box immediately as i was afraid it was empty :)
    Reply
  • etamin - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    You might want to give the PC-A04B a look. I built one about a month ago and it is literally a shrunken down standard ATX case with a removable hdd cage that allows it to support a full length vga. Extremely quiet with three removable fan filters too...at a very reasonable price. Reply
  • RandomUsername3245 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    I've got a PC-V351 case, which is very similar to this one but a couple generations older. It's got several fans throughout the case, so the cooling is probably better than this one. It is a relatively light case due to its aluminum construction, but I also think it's rather flimsy. For example, it is very easy to bend one of the side panels when it is taken off the case -- it's just a thin aluminum sheet.

    Like the review states, if a video card has a top-oriented power connector, it absolutely won't work. I had to return one video card (luckily to a local Microcenter) because of this.

    Also, the review suggests that the panel could be attached with screws instead of the clipping mechanism. The PC-V351 uses screws. It uses about 6 tiny flat-head machine screws per side. The case has a clean look, but it's a pain to disassemble vs. something with clips.

    The form factor of this case is also a bit strange. It's not a small cube case (it's wider than most full-tower ATX cases that I've seen), but it is much shorter in height. I still think the case looks nice, but after living with it I realized that the extra width (3-4 inches vs. a mid tower) make it less convenient to put under or on a desk -- I think most people could spare an extra few inches in height, but might not have a few extra inches in width beside or on top of their desk for a computer case.
    Reply
  • MichaelD - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Very nice review. I've owned a few LianLi cases and have always been impressed with them. One thing: In the Cooling area of the Specifications chart...I highly doubt this tiny case has 4x120mm fan mounts. Just sayin'. Reply
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    I own a few older (about circa 2007), larger Lian-Li cases, and let me tell you. If an intruder comes into my home, I'm just going to take the side panel off my PC-V2000B+ and use it to ward off said intruder. It almost seems like a psychological thing, because the side panels are what we typically work with a lot on a PC, and if they seem flimsy and cheap... what about the rest of the case?

    My main desktop uses a Corsair Obsidian 800D, and the flimsiness of the side panels is rather bothersome. Although, I think Corsair did that because of the horridly poor design of their (much lauded) cable routing, and the flimsy side panels allows for some flex. The flex is almost necessary as the 24-pin ATX power connector is simply too thick to be routed behind the motherboard. Why don't case manufacturers give us more room in the back if they expect us to route our power cables?
    Reply
  • int9 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Try adhesive velcro strips for holding down the 24-pin ATX cable. Corsair's 600t case has zip-tie holes punched into the rear plate; I had almost 1-inch of clearance after tying down the power cable. Reply
  • Peroxyde - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Hi,

    I have noticed that the heavier the case, the quieter it is. If this case is too light, would it be subject to more vibration noises?

    Can you please confirm? And more generally, what are the most important factors to have the quietest case?
    Thanks for any advice.
    Reply
  • Flagrant - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    I have the v352 which is almost the same as this new version. The differences are cosmetic, there is a lot more ventilation with all the tiny holes on the v353. V353 have snap on side panels while mine has a lot of tiny screws. I prefer the tiny screws just for peace of mind and since I won’t be swapping out components, but I prefer the exterior look of the v353 over mine.

    It took me almost a week to put mine together. I spent an hour every evening to work on it and cable management took the longest time. The most painful part of the install is having to almost always remove the motherboard panel completely to get inside the case which also meant I had to unplug almost all the cables.

    After the install however I have to say I am very happy with the look and size of the case. Now I can put it on my desk and it looks very nice. Actually would have loved to consider the Silverstone case mentioned in this article. But I had the impression Silverstone is too expensive and I had a budget with this build.

    I think the reviewer would have given a much more favorable review if he was able to consider every component going into the tiny case and make it a complete new build with a decent graphics card. I had a lot of fun filling up this case even tho it took awhile.
    Reply

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