Introducing Lian Li's PC-90

The majority of the enclosures from Lian Li that we've tested so far have been designed for mini-ITX and micro-ATX builds, but today we have on offer one of their premium full ATX cases, and it's a promising one indeed. Lian Li's PC-90, which they dub "The Hammer," is designed to support HPTX and XL-ATX motherboards while being smaller and lighter than most other enthusiast cases in its class. And while we'd hesitate to call it diminutive, it's definitely smaller than you'd expect.

Lian Li aims to offer a lighter, more austere shell for high performance systems in the PC-90, and we can tell you they've been very successful. Without giving too much away, Lian Li's traditional brushed aluminum shell and accompanying aesthetics meet an old school ATX enclosure design complete with top-mounted power supply in a way that offers an intriguing alternative to the larger, bulkier enclosures we're used to reviewing for this bracket. Here's the brief overview.

Lian Li PC-90 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5", 6x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm fan mount
Right -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 10
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, headphone and mic jacks, eSATA
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 15.5"/400mm (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 300mm (PSU)
Weight 14.7 lbs (6.7 kg)
Dimensions 9.1" x 19.9" x 19.3" (230mm x 505mm x 489mm)
Price $200

The PC-90 certainly isn't cheap, but it's most definitely an intriguing design. At just 14.7 pounds it's positively svelte compared to other enthusiast-class enclosures like Cooler Master's Cosmos II or SilverStone's FT02. That light weight owes to the largely aluminum shell and minimal use of steel in the framework. There's also a respectable amount of depth to the case, but as you'll see, that depth is needed.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-90
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  • ckryan - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Lian Li's are difficult to build in for the most part. Especially the smaller ones. The PC V351 is a total bitch. Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    The older cases were a joy to work with.. Still never had a better case then the Lian-Li PC60.. for it's era it was remarkable. I still have two in use today and I to work with alot of the new designs that come out so it's not like there isn't something to compare to.

    Todays' Lian-Li needs to get back to the basics and understand what we want rather then throwing weird our way and hoping we will buy..... and I hope their execs read this!!! I'd really like to pull the trigger on new lian-li's but for now i'll pass and keep buying from corsair and cooler master, with the odd nod to antec.
    Reply
  • pandemonium - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    I, for one, enjoy the simplistic look of Lian-Li's cases. Reply
  • Robalov - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Nice results, but for that price, it looks a mess.

    I would like to see cheaper iterations based around that design in the future however.
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I love Lian li for much the same reason I love Silverstone cases, they dare to be different. There is a real attempt to rethink case design, unlike most case manufacturers whose idea of innovation is to stick a fancy front on the case and change the fans from 120mm to 140mm.

    Sadly like Silverstone sometimes the quality of construction does not match the originality of the original concept.

    Mking the case 25mm wider and allowing for cables to be routed round the back would have been simple to achieve and immeasurably improved the case. Alternatively why not mound the drives behind the motherboard but with some channels for cable routing.

    Fundamentally a nice try by Lian Li but not really convincing
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    To make that work with the giant mobo form factors they're supporting they'd also need to make it an inch taller to have space for cable holes on the bottom. Not sure if they'd also need to mess with anything on the front end since it's hard to visualize how a massive HP-TX board actually would sit in it. Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Maybe - although running cable holes down side of MB tray makes a lot of sense too.

    As a case I think it probably has real potential for watercooling but for a standard ATX board - radiators on front and bottom look rather obvious locations
    Reply
  • Luay - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    For a single GPU build, any two or three 120mm fan equipped case from CM, Rosewill or Antec for less than $60 will do the job.
    For SLI/CF, any mid tower 140mm fan equipped case for less than $100 such as the Rosewill Blackhawk will do.
    For Tri-SLI/CF, I'll start looking for the 230mm big boys, HAFX or the $150 Rosewill Thor.
    For Quad SLI-CF, I'll need a case with two PSU mounts and a minimum of four 230mm fans such as the $200 Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra.

    as for this case, no side fan means the two 140mm front fans won't push the air all the way to the exhaust fan at the back, if more than one GPU or any obstructive device is installed on the motherboard. The roof intake fan is already feeding most of the air to the CPU and the cooler if it's there. I don't think it's safe to install more than one non-vapor chamber custom cooled (inside-case heat dissipating) video card in this case!

    I don't believe this is a gamer's rig at all and your recommendation for the PC90 as such worries me.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Anyone who buys Rosewill is wasting money. Anything marked with Rosewill, run the other way as fast as you can.

    As for the rest of your post, you sound like a troll or a genuine retard.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I disagree. The Rosewill Thor v2 has shaky build quality, but it's not terrible. On the flipside, the case is an incredible performer and probably the best bargain for a full tower on the market today. Reply

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