Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Cases arrow Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case
Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases
Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Build Notes
Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Testing
Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Final Thoughts
Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Conclusion

Closer Look: Exterior

One look at this side of the Lian Li PC-P50R and all most people can say is "Wow!" Gradually, they begin to figure out that it references AMD's Dragon platform, though in a completely different way than AMD does, and their expression changes. Instead of just amazement, they begin to appreciate the unique design on its own merits. I'm not sure exactly which school of art it comes from, but it could only be from the part of the world where Manga literature is such a dominant art form.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Left_Side_Dragon_01.jpg

The front of the PC-P50R presents a more restrained, classical look, compared to the wild side panel. Nine 5.25" sized drive bay covers take up the majority of the real estate, with red aluminum trim running the full length on either side. All this is surrounded by a brush finished black aluminum frame. The outer frame is easily removed, providing access to the drive bay covers, and the ability to load and unload optical drives and the HDD cage, as well. We'll take a more detailed look at this later. Each of the drive bay covers is perforated and has a mesh filter located behind the front surface. Most of the airflow into the case enters through the front panel. There are small vents on the back of the case and louvers below the PSU, but they are minor contributors to the overall airflow.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Full_Front_01.jpg

The right hand side panel is simple and unadorned. Its main purpose is to provide access to the back side of the motherboard tray when removed and to look nice when it's in place. Like every piece of metalwork on this case, it is perfectly finished and fits precisely.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Right_Fr_34_01.jpg

The rear of the case shows off the red and black color scheme better than any other view, I think. It also offers a preview of the finely detailed craftsmanship that is found on the interior of the case. There are eight expansion slot locations, two pass-thru holes with grommets for liquid cooling lines, one 120mm exhaust fan, with a wire cage finger guard, and standard openings for the PSU and motherboard I/O panel. There's nothing unusual about the elements on the rear panel, their locations, design, or quantity, they're just executed better than the majority of examples on the market. Ever hear the phrase, "Me, But Better"? If you haven't, ask your girlfriend, she knows...

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Right_Rear_34_01.jpg

The top surface of the Lian Li PC-P50R is primarily taken up with the grille for the two 140mm fans, serving to exhaust heated air from the case. Just like the front, the top panel is easily removed, for cleaning or access to the fans. The top-mounted fans both run at 1000 RPM and have four bright red LEDs integrated into their clear frame. The electrical connection to the LEDs is combined with the fan connection, so it isn't possible to turn the LEDs on or off independently. This is true for all the case fans, and it's a bright little box when they're all lit up. Having the lights controlled separately introduces a lot of additional wiring and increases the difficulty of good cable management, so I'm happy with the trade-off here.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Top_Vents_01.jpg

The fans themselves are mounted directly to the case, and remain in place when the top panel is removed. This is much more convenient that having them mounted to the removable panel. They are mounted with rubber grommets for vibration isolation; all the case fans are mounted in this way. It's entirely possible that someone could modify the case to install a top-mounted radiator here, but the chassis is not designed with standard mounting points for a water cooling setup. Most radiators are based on 120mm fan dimensions, and there are only mounting locations supplied for the two 140mm fans.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Top_Fans_Open_01.jpg

We've seen all the major overall features now, let's focus in on a few of the exterior details in the next section.



 

Comments 

 
# 5.25 drive brackets are terribleArt Woosley 2011-02-04 14:23
The Lian Li optical drive brackets are a poor sloppy design. The brackets come with the pins in the wrong location and the instructions say nothing about moving them. With a pliers, I was able to carefully dislodge the pins and relocate them in the correct alternate holes. This is Lian Li "tooless" design???? This is UNACCEPTABLE! Furthermore, the drives are NOT held firmly and required screws on the opposite side (bracket is only on one side). All the reviews pour over the cosmetics of Lian Li but the inside guts of the case are not very good.
Report Comment
 
 
# No problem for me....BruceBruce 2011-02-04 16:22
I didn't remember having an issue, so I just pulled the case out and tried it again. N problems....... I actuall like how they have provided an option for the location of the retaining pins, but every ODD I've tried in it used the front set of holes. I don't know of any other cases that allow you to switch the pin location.

I admit the drive can wiggle a tiny bit when the OP Side screws are not used, but that's just cosmetic. The drive isn't going anywhere.

BTW, what drive wereyou installing that neede to use the rear set of pins?
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon CaseArron Arntzen 2011-10-17 10:22
Hi Bruce
Having built numerous computers over the years, including about 40 Lian Li's for various clients, I would offer the following comments.
1) I have never, ever cut myself (or a wire) on a Lian Li - all the likely competitors should hang their heads in shame on this one. Blood sacrifices to the machine god are wearisome after a few hundred occasions.
2) Everything fits well - I have recently built 3 PC50 machines and their snap in 5.25 drives work well. Of course, showing my age here I guess, I still use the screws as well.
3) Using a gigabyte UD-7 motherboard (inbuilt passive air cooling), two gigabyte silent cell 5770 graphic cards and a Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler (quietest fan speed), 16Gb Kingston RAM, Corsair 950 watt non-modular PSU (less connections) in a non-airconditioned, bare brick environment in Australia, the client can sleep in the same room with the machine on. Further, I cannot hear it until I am literally at the keyboard. Highest temperature - AMD-1100BE CPU 48 Celsius, Intel i7-960 CPU (12 Gb RAM) 63 Celsius, case AMD - 58 Celsius, Intel - 61 Celsius, ambient - often over 30 Celsius. Yes, I checked it several times - the AMD with the Noctua runs at a lower temp than the case - even when she played Crysis at the top settings for a whole day... (the Intel was actually being built for a different client, however she tested it in the same room because she wanted to see if it was faster). Client's previous system - three quarter height steel tower (expensive, famous gamer brand) usin!
g the AMD CPU and AMD heatsink/fan. It sounded like a loosely mounted jet engine and ran over 10 Celsius hotter case temperature. Lian Li's don't resonate!
4) The plastic strap across the top of the 3.5 hard disk drives gave me a hot spot on a server system, so I removed it & went back to the screws - gamers beware... my only criticism of the PC-P50 may be disk threatening. The PC-P80 or PC-A77F are a much better, cooler cradle IMHO.
5) I am picking up another PC50 later today - this time a "dragon" - and will be placing more in less the same bits in it. Unless the fans are a lot noisier than the "black" case, it should be very close to silent.
6) This is being written on my workhorse - a (1999?) Lian Li PC62, my other is a (2009?) PC-P80 - which is quieter and cooler than either the PC-P50 or the PC62.
7) A very thorough review - well done.
Arron, Western Australia.
Report Comment
 
 
# Good FeedbackBruce Bruce 2011-10-17 10:46
Thanks for the informative post, Arron. The more I work on some things, the less I'm willing to sacrifice on the basic quality of the thing. Features yes, quality no..... BTW, when I'm building for real, I also use the screws. I HATE having slightly crooked drives, with uneven gaps. The screws allow me to line up all the pieces and lock it all into place.

Thanks for sharing all this excellent info, based on real world experience. I'm curious how you detected the hot spot(s) on the drive. Thermal imaging, or low-level environmental reporting from the drive itself?

Thanks, Bruce.
Report Comment
 
 
# Temperature measurementsArron Arntzen 2011-10-18 01:31
Hi Bruce

I sent the first email in because your review was so thorough - some gamer type hardware reviews are so poor I would not waste my time. I commend you on your approach, and wish there were more like you in your profession.
I share your view on quality vs features. Pity some coders out there clearly don't...
My digital "instant read" thermometer plus thermal sensing strips are my essential friends in these days of massive "so far over the top I am stunned" power consumption. The original pentium 100 CPU pulled 4 (well, 3.9 actually) watts average - count 'em, one hand. Last year an nvidia graphics card pulled nearly 1000 watts - scary or obscene?
Anyway, back to the PC-P50 - I intended to hammer it the next day, however after only two hours of reasonably hard use just getting a feel for the machine, the drive's sound changed a little. I measured 85 celsius under the strap, 67 near it, both readings where the disk platter would be spinning. A temperature variance of zero to +18C to zero in less than three inches across a high precision device spinning faster than an angle grinder - shudder. Clearly HDD internal frame warping and / or platter shattering is a no cost option. I repeated it with temperature strips the next day - 86 and 67C after two hours.
Result - bin the strap, use those old obsolete things called spare aluminium screws from another Lian Li case. FWIW, that strap is probably the only thing Lian Li have ever come up with that makes no sense at all to me - fashion over function I guess. Even the individual disk cradle runs noticeably warmer than the PC-P80 or PC-A77F's older, lighter and more ventilated "3 drives at a time predecessors".
Oh, and yes, aluminium screws do make a small difference, especially in aluminium frames, conducting heat away a little quicker as well as avoiding hot spots compared to their steel cousins. Screws and closing all gaps also prevents clients losing expensive software - like a Novell server 50 licence disk that disappeared for 4 years until we scrapped the previous assembler's machine ? a technician originally installed it and it had vanished when they needed to reinstall it ? it was between the CD drive and the hard disk, scratched beyond use and already replaced by a not happy insurance company.

More than enough for now, please keep up the good work.
Thanks for your feedback.
Arron.
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter