|Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 25 May 2010|
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Detailed Exterior Features
One of the more obvious features of the Lian Li PC-P50R is the side window. It's a bit of a litmus test, as to whether you like it or not, but the details that went into creating it are impressive. The laser cutting of the aluminum is paired with laser marking on the acrylic window to create an interesting 3-D effect. My only concern about this side panel is the lack of ventilation, especially for cooling the video card. We'll investigate that more closely in our testing section, but I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by the results. The layout of the window hides the areas of the installation where most of the cables will be, and highlights the GPU and PSU sections. The CPU area is partially obscured, which is a shame, since the visual design is geared towards AMD, and most of us like to show off our CPU coolers.
The control panel is pretty basic; a pair of USB ports, Audio I/O and the Reset and Power buttons. The power button is illuminated in a way that seems impossible if you view it in the off condition. It's an interesting trick, lighting up a button that has a seemingly opaque, silver finish. It would have been better to get the power button illuminated in red, instead of blue, as it stands out like a sore thumb against the red LED lighting of the four fans.
The rear panel looks pretty standard, but there are a few details to mention. All the expansion card slot covers are well ventilated and are nicely finished in black, of course. The slot covers and I/O panel are inset a bit; looking at it another way, the mounting areas for the PSU and rear fan are pushed out further. One thing that may look a bit out of place is the "old fashioned" wire fan guard, most modern cases feature a hex grid for exhaust grills. Well, in this case, the old beats the new. Not only does the wire guard offer less airflow restriction, it's also a nice black accent piece. Now I just need to figure out a way to turn my I/O shield black, as well.
Swinging around to the bottom of the case, here's a close-up of the rear corner, showing one of the cushioned feet and the locking tabs for the intake filter for the PSU cooling air. It's relatively easy to latch and unlatch if you have case on its side, but difficult to do if the case is standing upright. I applaud the fact that you don't have to open the side panel to access the filter, but I think I would have preferred a slider arrangement. Maybe I need to move my case aside more often, and vacuum underneath it, but if I can just slide the filter out and clean it without disturbing the case, I'm more likely to do it on a regular basis.
The front of the case looks a bit different once you take away the outer trim. Here you can see that the drive bay covers are held in place by the main chassis, rather than the front fascia. They are easily removed and replaced, and I've detached the bottom four covers to expose the front fan, which is attached to the drive cage. The cage can be removed or installed from either the front, or the back. Once the case is populated with other hardware, it's much easier to get the cage in and out the front. The default location for the three-drive cage assembly is in the bottom position, as it is shown here. Alternately, it can be moved up by three slots to change the airflow pattern or put the hard drives in a better location. If you have a long video card, especially one with the power connections exiting the back, the ability to relocate the drive cage is a very useful feature.
From the exterior, there is no doubt that this is a stylish and well built case. It may not look like the first choice for someone putting together a serious gaming system, but you might be surprised. The exterior only tells half the story, however. Anyone looking at high end cases expects the internals to offer some features and benefits as well. Let's see what the Armorsuit PC-P50R has waiting for us behind the dragon.