|Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 25 May 2010|
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Detailed Interior Features
The Lian Li PC-P50R is a true mid-size case, and is not an outsized tweener. As such, it relies on some design features to make it easier to work on during the build process. One of those is the removable drive cage. It's easy enough to remove and replace (R&R for the car guys...) completely, that it becomes the preferred protocol for installing hard drives. Physically, it can slide either out the front of the case, or out the back. The latter is not really feasible once you have other components installed inside the case. It's plain to see here how the front intake fan is mounted to the drive cage, as well. All the fans are clear and are fitted with Red LEDs in each corner. This is another upgrade from the base PC-P50 case.
Speaking of fans, here is how the two 140mm exhaust fans on the top of the case look like from the interior. There are no finger guards here, and pretty much zero obstruction to airflow. The cable arrangement for both fans is well thought out and offers a lot of flexibility for getting the fans either hooked up to the fan headers on the motherboard or to 12V Molex connections direct from the PSU. There are plenty of 4-pin Molex adapter cables included, some preinstalled and another spare one in the accessory kit.
Here's a better view of those expansion card clamps we looked at earlier. As promised, they are simple to operate, very secure once snapped into place and gorgeous to look at. The only downside I experienced was that some of the clamps would not stay in the OPEN position. This required one extra hand while installing cards, and two extra hands if you are installing a dual slot card. They are definitely secure once they are locked down, with an over-center linkage that snaps the lever into place in the CLOSED position. When I first saw these, I actually thought they were overkill, as I am reasonably happy just using screws. The more I used them though, the more I appreciated their simplicity, reliability, and utility.
Folks who have jumped on the SSD bandwagon are well taken care of, as all of the 3.5" drive trays are designed to accept 2.5" drives. Hindsight is always 20-20, but Lian Li has chosen the simplest and most direct method of securing the smaller drives; just provide the additional mounting holes for them on the drive tray. I've done this on a DIY basis to some other drive trays I own, so I quickly warmed to the idea. 3.5" drives can be installed with the tool-less clamp that just snaps into place, and there are also a couple of extra screw holes if you really want to keep the drive from moving. To be fair, there are some undersize and oversized 3.5" drives out there, so the extra screw holes are good insurance in case the clamp doesn't fit.
Each of the front drive bat covers has a removable, washable air filter in it. The retaining frame snaps in and out easily, yet securely. The filter material itself is more of a stiff nylon mesh than a thin foam insert. Foam holds more dirt before becoming clogged, because of its depth, but the stiff mesh is ten times easier to handle when removing, cleaning, and replacing. Once again; if you make it easier to clean the filters, I'm more likely to do it on a regular basis.
One of the other tool-less features of the PC-P50R is the clamp for the power supply. There are mounting holes on the back surface of the case for the usual four screws, that will accommodate right side up and upside down mounting of standard PSUs, but the clamp supplied by Lian Li is more secure and also more universal. I've had difficulties in the past with power supplies that had various parts mounted on the back surface that strayed outside the area defined by the cutout on the chassis. If you're stuck using mounting screws, which is true for at least 90% of all cases, it can cause trouble. I've actually cut away part of the mounting flanges on these parts and/or cut away the case in order to make everything fit properly. None of that will ever be an issue with this case, because the metal case of the PSU doesn't have to be pushed tight up against the inner surface of the PC chassis during installation.
Now that we've thoroughly toured both the inside and outside of the Lian Li PC-P50R, there's only one thing left to do, start building a system with it. I've chosen some typical gaming components to see both how they fit and how the cooling system performs.