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Written by David Ramsey   
Friday, 10 December 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Building a System
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Detailed Interior Features

The trend these days seems to be to reduce the number of 5.25" bays and increase the number of 3.5" bays. I'm not sure this is best for most users, but it does make a lot of room available for fans below the 5.25" bays. Looking in through the rear of the Lian Li PC-V1020 with the hard drive rack removed, we can see that most of the front of the case is occupied by the two LED-lit 140mm intake fans. You can also see the oddly elaborate bracket and mount for the upper exhaust fan. I'm not sure why this is built this way or what advantages it has over simply screwing the fan to the top of the case. Many full-tower cases these days provide top mounting points for a 2x120mm or even 3x120mm radiator; the Lian Li PC-V1020 does not, but the case would need an extra inch or two of height above the motherboard for this to be a workable option anyway.

I wasn't able to find any air flow or noise specifications for the four fans included with the case. They're all rather quiet and don't seem to move a lot of air, and the front intake fans are not filtered. You can of course replace any of the fans with fans of your own choosing. Integrated fan controllers are starting to appear in much less expensive cases, and it would be nice to see something like that here.

lian_li_pc_v1020_interior_rear.jpg

The 5.25" bays include stealth covers for two optical drives (a nice touch). Flip-out levers operate locking pins to secure devices in the top two bays, but the bays are hardly tool-less: to install your optical drive, you'll need to remove the four thumbscrews holding the 3.5" adapter in the bottom bay and slide it out of the case, then remove the two small Phillips-head screws securing the stealth cover, slide it down into the area vacated by the 3.5" bay adapter you removed in the first step, and slide your drive in from the front of the case.

lian_li_pc_v1020_upper_bays.jpg

In addition to the adapter Lian Li provides to mount two 2.5" devices in the hard drive rack, there are mounting holes for a single 2.5" device directly above the power supply.

lian_li_pc_v1020_bottom_25_drive.jpg

As I mentioned previously, this case has eight slots, necessary for most motherboards if you want to run a tri-SLI or CrossFireX system. Although Lian Li touts the PC-V1020 as having the "latest in tool-less design", it does not have the clever mounting clamps used to secure cards in some other Lian Li cases, opting instead for simple thumb screws. As is standard these days, a large cutout in the motherboard tray provides access for CPU cooler mounting hardware.

lian_li_pc_v1020_rear_slots.jpg

One expects a lot of room in a full tower chassis. Here are the clearances I measured for the Lian Li PC-V1020:

Measured Clearances
Video card length (back of slot covers to hard drive rack) 12"
Top of motherboard tray to left side panel 7.25"
Bottom of motherboard tray to right side panel 1 1/16"

There should be enough room for any video card short of an ATI Radeon 5970 (12.25"), although a little Dremel work on the hard drive cage would let even that fit. Let's build a system in this case and see what it's like to work with.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseDoug 2010-12-12 20:19
Wait, I didn't read the entire article word for word. I skimmed most of it and looked at the images. First, nice review. Second, I hate this case.

(1) Cooling seems skimpy. I'm not talking about the included fans, but possible fan mounting options. Two front, one back, one top?

(2) What is the advantage of putting the PS under everything? Heat rises. I've never understood that trend.

(3) Waste of space taking up bays only for fans. My old 830 Stacker has space to include two 120mm front fans and bays all the way down, nine of them!

This case is not impressive to me from a technical point of view; however, it is nice to see a full aluminum case so nicely finished, so nice in fact it looks sterile. But I still like the case in a spartan way.

What I would like to see in case manufacturers is a fully removable slide out motherboard tray that includes the power supply and drives. In other words, the entire guts of the computer would slide out on a roller rack, like a drawer in your house. You would simply turn the case on it's end, for one example, and pull the entire guts out of the other end, complete, everything ready to work on. Once it's out a modular design would then allow you to separate the PS and drives from the motherboard, if one wished.
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# RE: RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseJeff 2010-12-13 07:37
Doug is mistaken in his reply to features of this Lian Li tower.

1. Cooling system is adequate for sure! The inside fans, both the rear and top fans, are optimally placed for efficient heat removal. The two 140mm front fans provides volumes of air to cool effectively.

2. The bottom-mounted power supply is the most efficient way to accomplish several purposes. First, the weight of the PSU is at the bottom preventing the case from being top-heavy as in older case designs. Second, the power supply has its own dedicated air vents on the bottom of the case so the psu fan is mounted facing the bottom vents pulling in cooler air and then venting out the rear of the PSU. Therefore the PSU's fan acts as a third vent fan pulling out the PSU heat most effectively.

3. The space is not wasted, it provide ample room for proper effective air circulation throughout the case.

4. Lian Li makes very well engineered and constructed computer cases. The "fit and finish" is bar-none in my opinion and their products excel and will last for many years. The front panel wiring, switches and connectors are all top quality and heavy duty.

I have owned a Lian Li case for a few years now and it is by far the best computer case I have ever owned.
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# Good chassis but could be betterRobert Johnson 2010-12-12 23:18
Windowed side panel would be good by default. One top fan is insufficient. Cable management could be better. Otherwise a nice build from Lian-Li
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# RE: Good chassis but could be betterJeff 2010-12-13 07:44
Again as I stated in an earlier reply. The rear and top fans are adequate; however if more cooling is needed for hot video cards Lian Li make a dedicated VGA cooler fan assembly which bolts onto the back of the case and either pulls hot air out or blows cool air in depending the way the cooler fan is configured.

Cable management looks as if it's adequate. The reviewer did a poor job of cable management in the product build photos. If he would have spent another 30 minutes, he could have cleaned up his cable routing significantly.
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# MrJeanlou 2010-12-13 05:45
Hi,
You both should better write "negative comments" after using the Lian-Li cases for a while!

We use Lian-Li cases since years from now, for industrial quality control systems, and... try to find better, and let us know !

Thanks for the review.
Jean
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# Expansion card clampsBarry 2010-12-13 07:57
Lian Li sell their expansion card clamps separately. Although it's a pity that they weren't included, I assume that the clearly visible mounting holes permit this?
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# RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseChris 2010-12-13 08:46
They are really expensive cases, but they are really nice to work with. I'd say that this case seems to not have as good cooling as the other cases. Jeff, you may want to take a look at the PC-A77F.

I think you wrote about it:
#benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3658&Itemid=47

Still, here's a video:
##youtube.com/watch?v=RIOP8-bt7tg
##vortez.co.uk/articles_pages/lian_li_pc_a77f_revi ew.html

I wonder how this compares to say, the HAF-X or 800D?
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# RE: RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseChris 2010-12-13 09:07
Edit: I meant Doug, not Jeff, as Jeff is not satisfied about the cooling options.
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# RE: RE: RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseJeff 2010-12-13 09:14
I am satisfied with the cooling options. If readers will notice, the motherboard tray has a set of vertical slots near the PCI slots section.

This gives the ability to mount the Lian Li Aluminum PCI Cooling Kit Model # BS-03
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseChris 2010-12-15 06:31
I went out to a LAN party a few weeks ago and saw a few Lian Li cases in person. It does make you want an aluminum version of other cases like from Cooler Master and for them to be all metal. Still, it doesn't seem worth the price premium.

Lian Li cases cost about $350 here in Canada:
##newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112261&nm_mc=OTC-sho6b0tCA&cm_mmc=OTC-sho6b0tCA-_-Cases+%28Computer+Cases+-+ATX+Form%29-_-Lian-Li-_-11112261

and the US:
##newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112261&nm_mc=OTC-sho6b0tCA&cm_mmc=OTC-sho6b0tCA-_-Cases+%28Computer+Cases+-+ATX+Form%29-_-Lian-Li-_-11112261

Plus expensive shipping (as it's a case). After shipping is factored, that's more than double the price of the HAF-X (which I can get at a local computer store). That means about $200 less cash to spend on the parts in your PC, which is the difference between a mid-range GPU and a high-end GPU.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-12-15 08:12
True, cases at this level are expensive. For every one of these that Lian Li sells, Antec probably sells a thousand $100 cases, just as Chevy outsells Mercedes. It all depends on your priorities.
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# Cooling Could be BetterRobert 2010-12-13 09:50
Of course this Lian Li case is extremely well made, but as with anything, nothing is perfect and trade-offs are made to enhance one thing over another. While it's cooling is adequate, it is not optimal, IMO. First, bottom mounted PS, the only way to go, the PS's fan only cool itself, I only use bottom-PS mounted cases. Second, the omission of side-mounted fans is where this case is not optimal. Blowing air directly on the mother board and it's components makes a huge difference in temperatures, particularly with video cards. Take a look at many Cooler Master cases if you want to see optimal cooling. Even the CM 690-II allows two 140mm exhaust fans, two 140mm intake fans, two 140mm side intake fans, the standard 120mm exhaust, and mounting points for an internal 120mm fan. Of course there are compromises with that configuration, it tends to be noisier.
While this Lian Li case is gorgeous (not in red!) and I would like to have one, it's cooling options are not optimal, hopefully adequate, but not optimal.
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# Custom System BuilderArron 2012-09-06 06:31
To Robert: Cooling Could be Better - If you want the best cooling you put a bunch of fans at the front (yes, all of it), back and top rear. You ensure the CPU cooler is firing straight into one of the case fans, or even build a small tunnel to make it so. You place the PSU at the bottom with its own filtered air inlet - by definition, the PSU generates more power than any other component. There is still some argument about positive or negative air pressure configurations being better, however via fan controllers and fan speed adaptors (i.e. Noctua ULNA) you can play with it and achieve cool and quiet machines.
The reason - you are moving the air in straight lines.
As soon as you add any fan to the side, you get turbulence and vortexes and the cooling performance plummets.
That is why every Lian Li I have built (at least 40) is always a lot cooler than almost any other equivalent case (several thousand - 1981 to date). Like most of the other guys in these comments, I now use Lian Li exclusively.
Oh yes, and I have tried almost every brand of case in BMR except the NZXT.
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# Top fanBob 2010-12-13 12:48
I love the case, and am thinking of putting a water system in it. One big question: How easy is it to remove the top fan mount?

I plan on cutting a 2x120 rectangle on the top, and mounting the fans inside, and the rad outside the case. (I did this on a PC-V1100 and it works well.)

ie:

[ rad ]
---------- case
fan1 fan2

Is the top fan mount bolted in? Is it riveted in? If just a few screws, does it leave the top clean of obstructions once it is removed up there? You didn't show a god picture of it, and no mention of how it is held in.

This is the only big question I have before getting this case.
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# RE: Top fanDavid Ramsey 2010-12-13 17:39
Bob, the top fan mount simply unscrews. If you're looking to put in a dual-120 or dual-140mm radiator, it should fit, but obviously you'd have to do a bit of cutting for the layout you proposed to work.
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# RE: Top fanBob 2010-12-13 20:34
Cutting on the top plate sure, I'm expecting that ;) But, would I have to cut anything else, like anything on/around/by the rails that run lengthwise front-to-back just under the roof? Anything functional to the case itself, like slots for the door to lock into, etc? Anything like structural supports that might be there to add strength to the frame?

ie after removing the fan assembly, is it clear up there to then simply cut the 240x120 hole out of the top plate?
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# RE: RE: Top fanDavid Ramsey 2010-12-13 21:39
I don't think so (but I don't have any rads laying around to check). There are internal rails at the top that latch into the side panels, but I think there's enough room for a rad between them.

You can remove all the brackets for the top fan, leaving only the top panel.
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# RE: Top FanBob 2010-12-14 09:20
As I said in the first post, I put the rad on top, outside of the case, with just the fans under it on the inside of the case. Since the fans are narrower than the rad, based on what you've said, it should be fine. Thanks for the info and the great review!
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# RE: RE: Top FanBob 2011-02-10 23:02
Well, I bought the case, and the box in the top really makes it a mess to put a rad up there. The box is for a 140mm fan. I have a 2x120 rad. I had to cut part of the box away to get the fans in under the roof. More work than I was expecting. FYI.
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# RE: RE: RE: Top FanDavid Ramsey 2011-02-11 09:00
You had to cut part of the box away? Doesn't it unbolt or unscrew from the inside of the case?
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# Top DogReid 2010-12-15 23:12
Having found and used the earlier versions of this case for my last 3 computers, I am completely unsatisfied with anything else. The case is gorgeous, easy to trick out, and building in it is a joy. And cooling? The thing is a giant heatsink! After I am done with my builds, Mac Users weep at what Apple dumps on them. The latest innovations in this case prove LL is thinking and listening to what builders want and what would make an already stellar case shoot for the moon. I am hugely pleased and will be building 3 i7 systems with this case.
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# How about installing...Thomas 2011-02-15 11:43
... big items, i.e. a Thermalright Archon CPU cooler? The PC-V1020 has a width of 220 mm, the Archon requires 170 mm - but you need to take that "wasted space" for the slide for the mobo tray into account.

Plus: As far as I understood, the reviewer installed a 10,6" larger-than-ATX-but-smaller-than-E-ATX mobo. As I intent to do the very same thing - would the cable management spare holes in the slide tray be covered and, in consequence, become useless?

Thanks for your comments, guys.

Thomas
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# RE: How about installing...David Ramsey 2011-02-15 12:40
Hi Thomas,

At the bottom of the "Detailed Interior Features" page, I measured the specific clearances you're looking for. The "top of motherboard tray to left side panel" distance is 7.25", or a touch over 184mm, so the Archon should fit, although you might have to install it after sliding the motherboard tray in.

Any motherboard longer (front to back) than the ATX standard of 9.6" is probably going to cover some of the cable routing holes.
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# RE: How about installing...Bob 2011-02-15 21:22
I have a Asus Maximus IV Extreme, which is 1" longer than normal. It covers up about 80% of the 2 holes on the side. You can still fit a SATA cable in there (at an angle), or the case connections (like power led, etc), but nothing bigger than that.
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# Thank you...Thomas 2011-02-19 05:53
...David and Bob. Your comments are very helpful and appreciated :-)

Thomas
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# RE: Lian Li PC-V1020R Full Tower Computer CaseWhyNot 2011-03-10 03:53
After reading the review on Thermaltake's Level 10 GT I thought I'd poke around here more and totally forgot about this case. My comment here today is nothing more than to say how awesome Lian Li cases are. I have a Lian-Li PC65B I've had for a little over 4 years and I've upgraded and/or put 4 systems into it. Even with the PSU top mounted and the tiny fan at the top of the case, air moves really well insdie and I've not had any cooling issues *knock on wood* Am I running some god-like system? Nope, but a quadcore AMD processor, GTS250 video card, 8GB RAM a couple of Hard Drives and SSDs with a 750w PSU...there's room to make it far warmer inside :)

Lian Li all the way!!!
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