Visiting Lian-Li's CES booth is usually at least an interesting experience. I often feel like the engineers and designers there just get an idea for an enclosure and "go for it," which results in a mad doctor's laboratory of experiments. Sometimes you get failed experiments (the PC-A55), sometimes you get great ones (the PC-90), but there's always something going on that's at least worth looking at. As I was telling Vivek the othe night, even if a unique product is bad, at least someone did it so nobody ever has to again. By the same token, though, if experimenting yields fruit, we all benefit.

Case designers often hesitate to produce an enclosure that's necessarily wider than the standard, so the V850 on display is an interesting choice. The side panels pop off in the same fashion as Corsair's Obsidian 600T, and the rear struts are replaced with casters. Inside is a wealth of fans directed squarely at the graphics card, CPU, and motherboard area; the case is designed for cooling performance first and foremost, with noise being a distant secondary consideration. I was keen to point out to the Lian-Li rep, though, that fan controllers were very common at this year's CES at almost any price point. Hopefully this will change in time for next year.

I was taken with the Q30, though I'm exceedingly skeptical about the cooling design. Thankfully this is a prototype, but it's certainly intriguing. It features a Mini-ITX mount, single half-height expansion slot, and two USB 3.0 ports in the front. The cooling is handled by a single 120mm fan that sits behind the motherboard, but that fan is actually an exhaust. I think the idea is to pull air in through the side vents, over the components, and out of the back of the case, but in practice I suspect that moving air will simply bypass the components entirely.

We're looking to get more and more Lian-Li enclosures in during 2013, and I'm looking forward to having some of these more exotic designs in for testing. Sometimes you get a PC-A55, but sometimes you get a PC-90, and I'm really anxious to see when that happens.

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  • Tuffrabbit - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Still have yet to find a case that I like better than my Lian-Li V1110B, thick aluminum sides, sound insulation, massive room for any motherboard or graphic card set-up. Currently using Koolance liquid cooling on overclocked Intel cpu and AMD crossfire... Reply
  • RandomUsername3245 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I bought a Lian Li case (PC-V351) a couple years back due to its unique form factor. Based on this experience, I'm probably not going to buy a Lian Li case again. It is a pretty, anodized aluminum case when viewed externally, but it's a pretty lame design. The case requires > 10 tiny screws to disassemble the thin (easy to bend) panels. There's little ingenuity in its design -- just a basic frame with panels attached on the sides. I prefer the superior engineering of a steel + plastic Antec case any day. Maybe I'll try a Fractal Design case next... Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Lian Li surely does come up with some weird designs I'll grant them that.

    At the same time though, some of their cases are great. The best case I have personally owned was made by Lian Li.

    Someone else had stated that they're "made of cheap flimsy aluminum". Well in some respect, I guess that could be viewed as true. It is not 2" thick structural aircraft grade aluminum for sure. On the same hand, those "rugged Antec steel cases" have cheap, flimsy plastic door catches that tend to break off in a couple of months.

    In the end though, you have to ask yourself what is the intended purpose of a computer case. Is it a tool that doubles as a hammer, or is it something that sits out of the way, and looks nice? Also, does it give you what you want / need in a case. Beyond just housing your parts in one enclosure. What accessories are available for it ?
    Reply
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