|Lian Li PC-B20A Aluminum Mid-Tower ATX Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 10 November 2006|
Page 3 of 6
Closer Look: Interior Features
Removing two thumbscrews will allow you to slide each of the access doors back, and then up and away from the case. Once you open the Lian Li PC-B20A, you are welcomed into a whole new world of precision machined aluminum. I was honestly taken back by the sheer attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. It helps that every single component inside is fresh and clean, without so much as a fingerprint.
Certainly, I am impressed. While I found very few disappointments in the exterior design, the interior is nearly flawless. Both doors and the top panel have noise cancelling material applied to them. Every internal piece and section can be easily removed by thumbscrews. All four of the 5.25" drive bays use tool-less design to secure each device into place, and removal is as easy as lifting the plastic retaining tab.
While many try, most fail when it comes to making component access a convenient endeavor. By far my most favorite feature is the ability to slide the entire motherboard tray assembly out the back; and all by removing four thumbscrews. Additionally, the fan shroud for the CPU is an effective method to help cool the processor and surrounding devices. Using a series of thumbscrews, you can create a custom angle for the shroud. Ideally, Lian Li designed this 80mm fan to take in air from the backside of the case and use the shroud to shape and focus the incoming current. While this works, I noticed that my power supply unit began to practically breathe fire with all of the heated air coming from it. In the end, I used the 80mm fan and shroud to draw heated air away from the CPU and out the back of the case, together with the VGA fan.
This feature proved invaluable since the initial motherboard I used for this review had to be removed and replaced. For users requiring hardware security and tamper prevention, the motherboard tray can be locked using the designed latch system along with a padlock.
Since this is the first case I have ever reviewed which came with sound dampening material pre-applied, I am very impressed. This was probably a very inexpensive feature to add, and yet so many manufacturers overlook it. While the Lian Li PC-B20A is very quiet with the fans on their "low" settings, I found that the sound dampening material really made a noticable difference. Once the VGA fan was set to "high" it raised the noise level enough for the dampening material to really play its role.
At the same time, Lian Li goes to the design table thinking outside the box; or perhaps it could be said that they are thing about what to put into the box. Notice how even the 120mm VGA fan is a remarkable example of taking a little extra step to reap big benefits.
Although I am certain that the front bezel assembly utilizes four corner screws for removal instead of some tool-less mechanism to maintain system integrity and security, I was brought down from my euphoria. After seeing how easy other manufacturers have made it to access drive bays (see my other reviews such as the NZXT Adamas), I was a little disappointed that Lian Li made it troublesome to swap out devices. After all, what's the point of easy release 5.25" device tabs if you have to take the time to unscrew and remove the front bezel? It seems like this was a compromise between convenience and security, and one that I won't hold against Lian Li.
Above is a more detailed image of the front access. The coarse media filter allows ample airflow while keeping larger particles and debris from entering the case. I cannot help by notice that the fan speed selector switch is still every bit as miniscule as the pins for the power and reset buttons in this close-up image; something that should have received a bit more attention by designers. Ok, I'm sure you get my point. I'll leave it alone now.For reference, Lian Li did their design homework with regards to structural integrity. This is no aluminum can, as you can see by the reinforced elbow joints at the lower corners.
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