Everyone should be familiar with the name Lian Li by now, they have been among the top case manufacturer's for years with their innovative and high quality aluminium cases, but quality comes with a price, Lian Li has never been known to be cheap and the PC-V1100 is no exception. With its price tag of a hefty 255 euro it is targeted for the high end market, but for those of you with deep pockets and the desire to have a stylish looking case with a very innovative internal design, this might just be the case for you.

The Packaging
The PC-V1100 comes packaged in the usual cardboard box with the picture of the product on it.

The case itself is wrapped in plastic to prevent scratches on the aluminium, and it also has the usual foam “bumpers” on its edges.

Product Specification

  • Dimension: 210x490x550mm (W,H,D)
  • Drive bays: 5x5.25", 6x3.5" internal
  • Fan: 2 x 12CM ball bearing fans
  • M/B type: ATX & Pentium 4
    (MAX SIZE: 12"x9.6")
  • Front I/O: IEEE 1394 port x 1
    USB 2.0 x2; MIC x 1; EAR x 1
  • Slot: PCI Slot x 7
  • Interior three zones design for better heat dissipating
  • The fans are fixed with anti-vibration Rubber rings
  • Aluminium door with lock
  • Sound insulated foam inside
  • Easy assemble device for side panels
  • Sliding tracks for easy assemble
    Hidden H.D.D.
  • Aluminium casters with brake
  • Crenulated edge of side panel
  • High quality stainless power button
  • Removable sound damping cover for the fan in the rear.
  • CD/DVD ROM bezel x 1; 5.25" to 3.5"
  • Converter with floppy bezel x 1

The Case

The Lian Li PC-V1100 front bezel has small ridges running lengthwise giving it a very “slick” appearance. Overall its plain look makes it stick out from other cases, and that I personally like.

When I opened the front bezel for the first time I was very surprised how “sturdy” it felt, no flimsy plastic bezel here. I measured the thickness of it and was very pleased to see that it was about 3mm solid aluminium. It also had a rubber gasket around its corner for isolating the sound made by the optical drive(s).

The PC-V1100 has room for 4 cd/dvd roms and one floppy, but if you wish to not use the floppy and for whatever reason have a 5.25” device in the lowest slot that can easily be done by removing the the floppy tray, as you can see here:

It also have the common I/O feature two USB ports, one firewire, and one headphone and mic on the bottom of the front of the case.

On the above picture you can also see the wheels with an axel under the case, this is a pretty nice touch in my opinion, and the wheels are also “lockable” so the case stands steady.
Here you see the backside of the case with the PSU slot closest to the floor, and the pci slots on the top. This is rather a weird way to build a case, but read on and let’s see if it actually works.

The design of the case is very different from other cases I’ve worked with, first of all it opens on the right side of the case. And then there is this thing with the different compartments. The hard drives and the power supply are separated from the rest of the components, this makes sense to me since your hard drives and Power Supply can generate quite a lot of heat. And keeping them separated should at least theoretically keep the components cooler.

The Fans
Here you see the front intake fan blowing over the HDD cages, it’s a 120mm from a company called ADDA, and I must admit that I’ve never heard of that company before. The fan is mounted onto a removable bracket held in place by two thumbscrews.
When you remove the fan bracket, you can see a small rubber “gasket” that is placed at the screw mounting point to prevent vibration
.

The fan bracket's front side is covered by a grill that holds an air filter in place to keep the dust out.

The front air intake doesn’t take its air from the usual place, since the front bezel has the gasket to prevent noise. The actual intake is beneath the case, just under the I/O connectors. And it also has a dust filter, which is removable by thumbscrews.

The exhaust fan is the same ADDA fan as the intake fan, and it’s placed next to the CPU as most exhaust fans are.

Here you also can see the fan duct, that redirects the air in a downwards direction. This can be a nice thing to have when attending a LAN, if you have the case on the table and don’t want your opposing gamer’s eyes to dry out ;)

Installation:
The installation of the components was pretty straightforward, nothing new here really. To install the motherboard just screw the standoffs into place and install the motherboard.
But when I was going to install the PSU I noticed something that can be negative thing. If you have a “longer” PSU it will be a tight fit as you can see in the picture below. And if you have a dual fan PSU its airflow can be somewhat restricted. I’m not sure how this will affect your Power supply unit in the long run, but hopefully it won’t at all.
One thing I was kind of confused to see was that the PC-V1100 lacks a reset button, I like having a reset button to press when a to high overclock freezes the system, even though holding the power button down for a period of time or hitting the PSU switch can solve this, it seems a strange omission.

Now on to the installation of the Hard drives, you just screw in the supplied HDD fixed screws into the hard drive and slide it into place. This was in my opinion a very trouble free way to mount the hard drives.

Then you secure the hard drive by sliding a latch down, very nice…

One thing about this case design is that I found it pretty hard to hide the cables away, they may or may not restrict airflow a bit. I need to start off with getting new SATA cables, if I had a longer model it would have been possible to wire them behind the HDD cages and take them up on the motherboard “side” it would’ve looked better. But hey this isn’t a windowed case, so I guess that it doesn’t really matter.

Performance
Now onto the performance of the Lian Li PC-V1100, can this baby really keep things cool with this design? And how noisy is it?
Well, I must say that I am pretty impressed with the performance of this case. If I compare it with my Antec 1080AMG case with five 80mm fans it is about the same in case temps. Actually the Lian Li is one or two degrees better. With the Antec case I had a motherboard temp of 27C and with this Lian Li case I’m idling at 26C as we speak. The ambient temperature was/is 20C. The same goes under load, the Lian Li manages to stay a couple of degrees cooler then the Antec case.
The weird thing is that the 1080AMG case has a fan in the side blowing onto the graphics card, and the Lian Li hasn’t.
Still the temperature of my Gainward 6800GT card stays in the same zone, with the Antec case my idle/load temps was 46C/59C and with the Lian Li it stays at 47C/60C. But then I must say I don’t know how reliable the temp readings are on the Gfx. Nevertheless it's very impressive.

How loud is it then? Well if I put it this way, the Gainward card is the loudest component in the case, even with the fans spinning at 50% it is the most audible component. I put my girlfriends Ati 9600pro card in, and turned down my Ys-tech CPU fan to 1600rpm I can’t hear it at all at that rpm. And Voila! Almost silent, I could only hear a low hum from the case fans.

Conclusion
It is a very nice case indeed with its dust protected 120mm fans and innovative internal design, and “slick” outer design. But is it a case for all? I would say no, mainly because of the price. You can find similar/better performing cases for half the price of the PC-V1100.
But on the other hand it’s a beautiful case and it performs really well, the concept of seperating the motherboard from the hard drives is a very nice touch. My only suggestion about that solution is that I would have liked an air intake in the upper compartment to, I think the performance would have been even better with that.
Finally, can I recommend this case? Certainly, If you have the money burning a hole in your pocket and want an extremely stylish case with premium build quality you wont get better.


 

Missed our other reviews?

ue