|Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 25 May 2010|
Page 4 of 9
Closer Look: Interior
The first thing you notice, once the dragon is removed, is RED. The entire interior is finished in red anodizing. It's not like you aren't expecting it, the clues are all there, but it's actually a bit overwhelming the first time you experience it. When you look at the image below, there is a slight color shift as you go from the rear of the case, on the left, to the front of the case. The left hand side is more pure red, and it gets progressively more purple to the right. This is strictly an artifact of the lighting and my photography, and not indicative of the case itself. The actual color is quite consistent, and more like burgundy than a pure red. Once we get to build notes, you'll see what I mean, when I install an outrageous fire-engine-red PCP&C PSU and a red-themed Radeon video card from ATI.
Next, let's look at the bottom of the case, where the PSU sits on two raised rails permanently attached to the bottom plate. The top of these rails is covered with fairly dense foam, which reduces vibration and prevents scratched to the finish of your PSU. The rails put the bottom of the PSU about 12mm (0.5") off the bottom surface of the case and allow plenty of space for airflow, and clearance for a fan grill on the PSU, if there is one. Many cases have vents in this location, but the Lian Li PC-P50R is the only one I know of that has louvers. What's the difference? Louvers create an air path that does not have a line-of-sight path to the outside, which reduces the likelihood of starting your house on fire if your PSU explodes. It all sounds a bit dramatic, but at least someone's thinking of your best interests.
The front of the case houses all the drive bays, both internal and external. This image of the lower section shows that, minus the drive cage, it is a very clean, open and uncluttered space. On my first build attempt I ended up stuffing all the unused PSU cables here, and relocating the drive cage to the middle position. We'll see how well that works from an airflow perspective when we do thermal testing. I worried that I might not get enough fresh air to the video card, especially since I've had good results lately with cases that have side panel fans feeding cool air right into the heart of graphics card territory.
The upper drive bays are designed specifically to accept 5.25" size drives, typically Optical Disk Drives (ODD). The thin, rectangular brackets on the outside are the requisite tool-less mounting mechanism. They unlatch and swing out of the way when removing or inserting a drive into the bay. When locked in place, two pins mate with the mounting holes on the side of the ODD to secure it, and a thin rubber pad on the swing arm presses the drive snugly in place and eliminates rattling. There are also screw holes on both sides which can be used by the braces-and-suspenders crowd. There is plenty of space above the top drive bay to pass the front panel I/O, USB and Audio cables through, and there is a convenient portal located there to route them along the backside, if desired. The supplied cables are long enough to make it to the far corner of an ATX-sized motherboard, even when run behind the motherboard tray.
The right side of the case holds few surprises, but it's still pretty to look at. It's a little easier to see the various access holes on the motherboard tray in this view. I used all four of the large ones during my build, and at some point I know I would end up using the largest one directly behind the CPU, to swap out CPU coolers. There is about 14mm of space behind the motherboard tray for cable routing and storage. There is a vertical stiffening rib along the full height of the mobo tray though, that limits the space to 4mm for cable that have to pass between the front and rear sections of the case. Fortunately, very few cables need to traverse that area; most start and terminate in the same section, or can use one of the access holes to bypass the offending rib. It's not an issue in the lower portion of the case, below the motherboard.
The rear panel on the interior is a whole lot more interesting than the exterior view. Two things really stand out to me here, the expansion card clamps and the fan guard. The clamps are a very slick design, and they look fabulous. There is no way around the fact that these are the best looking and best made clamps I have ever seen in a PC chassis. I'll give you a better look later, but this is how they look as part of the whole. The red anodized aluminum fan guard is also a bespoke item that combines good looks with efficiency. They could have used the same black wire-frame item that is on the exterior, but this custom made part speaks volumes about Lian Li. They don't mind showing off the fact that they have arguably the best metalworking talent in the business. Talk is cheap, I like their approach better.
There is one final item to take note of in the image above, and that's the cutout in the motherboard tray for the ATX 12V cable. It's tucked up pretty high, but it has to be, to clear the motherboard. Let's continue looking in the next section, at some of the detailed features on the inside of the PC-P50R from Lian Li.