Introducing the Lian Li PC-TU200

More and more lately, mini-ITX boards are becoming very feature rich and users are needing fewer expansion cards in their desktop systems. Where once upon a time we'd need a wireless card, a video card, maybe an eSATA card and/or a sound card, now modern mini-ITX boards can cover just about all of these bases short of the GPU. TV tuner cards aren't even what they used to be with vendor lock-in by cable companies. All of that means that in many cases (no pun intended), all the end user is really going to need is the single PCI Express x16 the board provides.

Addressing this segment of users, Lian Li sent us their PC-TU200 enclosure, a mini-ITX case that offers two expansion slots just for those double-wide video cards that have become de rigeur. The TU200 includes a carrying handle at the top that makes its purpose abundantly clear: producing a case perfect for LAN warriors.

When we were first contacted by Lian Li's PR team, we were posed a question: what do we want to see? Our coverage of full- and mid-towers so far has been pretty good, but smaller enclosures have oftentimes gone by the wayside. So while we do have a couple of larger cases from Lian Li on the bench waiting for review, the TU200 is both one of their newer releases and also one of their most compelling. Cursory examination of the enclosure suggests that for both thermals and performance, it should be a big winner similar to (one of my personal favorites) SilverStone's Temjin TJ-08E, using a similar single-fan wind tunnel design.

Lian Li PC-TU200 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Mini-DTX
Drive Bays External 1x 5.25"
Internal 4x 3.5" (3x 3.5" if the top 2.5" is occupied) and 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fan
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
Front 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), 80mm (CPU HSF), 140-160mm (PSU)
Weight 6.9 lbs. (3.15 kg)
Dimensions 13.35" x 8.7" x 11.42" (360mm x 210mm x 320mm)
Price $179

There's really no getting around it: the TU200 is tiny. At just a touch under seven pounds, this enclosure is substantially lighter than my cat (who isn't stunningly overweight for an indoor cat if you can believe it), and frankly smaller to boot. Between the diminutive dimensions and the surprisingly rich internal design, one has to wonder if there isn't some kind of strange witchcraft at work to get all of these parts to fit into this tiny enclosure. As it turns out, a little bit may be involved.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-TU200
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  • Iketh - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I too would love to see a case like this without an optical drive bay, or even a 3.5" cage. Look at all that unsused room behind the optical bay! At least one 3.5" drive could be screwed to the top of the case in that area. A 2.5" SSD can practically be placed ANYWHERE in a case, they're so small!

    Imagine the size of the case if the optical drive bay and the 3.5" cage is removed, and how much better airflow would be. One spot for a 2.5" and one for a 3.5", that's all I'd need in a case in this segment.

    Oh and if I gave you any ideas for your case design in this post, be sure to stamp a "by IkethTech (tm)" next to it in inside the case :)
    Reply
  • rbsc - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Excellent Points.

    May I also suggest the following:

    *Mount the hard drives (2 max) to the doors.
    *Add 4x USB to the back.
    *Refine the handle to be removable. Grommets could be placed there if not needed.
    *Specify the TDP limits on both CPU and GPU.

    Also it is unclear if the tolerances for CPU cooler height were specified in the documentation, but that would've been useful when I was building my PC31. Luckily I took a guess and the cooler but barely fit the enclosure.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    on the TU200, you can't mount drives to the doors, cause the doors are just snap-on.. if you add any weight, they might just pop off during transport and dangle on the hard drive cable (shudder) Reply
  • nubie - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Yep, I agree on most of these points.

    I wonder if you could take this case and disassemble it and trim it down to the size you would like?

    I don't know if I am a fan of full-size power supplies in an ITX case, but if you are using a dual-slot GPU anyway, why not.

    Perhaps flipping the case upside-down so the GPU gets a decent intake would be a good idea too. Of course then you may hear the fan if it is annoying.

    I just realized the problem with removing the front bays and the CD. The GPU is likely to be the deciding factor in the depth of the box anyway, although you will lose some height be getting rid of the 5.25 bay.

    As always, there is never a perfect pre-manufactured case for every person, this one gets mighty close though.
    Reply
  • gaiden2k7 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    hey guys i just wanna post my old project w/ a Lian Li Q07 that was modded to be a homeserver, it needs to be updated b/c i recently remodded again but i was able to make some use of that optical drive bay and everything else.

    http://www.overclock.net/case-mod-work-logs/566798...

    with some research you can fit alot of components inside a case like this :)
    Reply
  • jebo - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    "Imagine the size of the case if the optical drive bay and the 3.5" cage is removed, and how much better airflow would be. One spot for a 2.5" and one for a 3.5", that's all I'd need in a case in this segment."

    *Exactly*. Somebody with a GTX580 probably doesn't want 5 hard drives in their system. You have two market segments for these cases. Small servers and LAN/gaming boxes. It seems trying to serve both with one case doesn't work.

    Remove the ODD, put space for one 3.5" drive and one 2.5" drive and we'll be set.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Or just make it a slim line optical drive bay, like the Silverstone cases. Most people don't use the drive enough to need a full size monster, but it's still useful.

    On the drive bay side, just gimme two 2.5" mounts. One for a SSD, and one for a travel rated spinner. This case is clearly targeted at mobile lan systems, not file servers. Who would put four 3.5' drives in a road warrior?

    At any rate, glad to see performance mITX parts one way or the other.
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Hi,

    If I may chime in.

    Did you see the SilverStone Sugo SG05? I'd say it's less voluminous.

    I got myself one of them with their 450W PSU (unfortunately you can't use a standard one, it's a way for them to make more money I guess) and their is room for a double slot 9.5'' graphic card. Instead of a - almost - useless 3.5'' ODD bay it has a slim drive bay.

    At the time I was considering a Lian Li Q07, like the one modded by gaiden2k7.
    But case's "weird" form factor detered me. Question of price I guess too... but at the end I cost me an arm cause I bought the Sugo SG05 with the regular 300W and was dumfound when I cound't plug the extra alim cable for the GTX 460 - ended up buying this 450W. I believe a year ago or so SIlverStone started shipping some SG05 with the 450W.
    So it could be a good bet.

    The SG06 already existed but some reviews shown it was apparently not as good as the SG05.

    I was happy with the temperatures, air flow and - no - noise.
    I'm using a i5 760 with stock rad (but no OC).

    Hope that's bringing some interesting info to the lads looking to build an ITX gaming rig.

    The Sugo SG05 home: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=210

    PS: note sure you'll still easily find this model though cause it's quiet "old" according to the IT world.
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    *useless 3.5'' ODD*

    I meant 5.25''!!!
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    One review of the good old SG05 http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/758 Reply

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