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Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case E-mail
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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

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.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Close_Dragon.jpg

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.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Operator_Panel_02.jpg

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.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Rear_Full_Open.jpg

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.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_PSU_Filter_Latch_01.jpg

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.

Lian_Li_Armorsuit_PC-P50R_Gaming_Case_Full_Front_Open_01.jpg

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.



 

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.
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# 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?
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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