|Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 25 May 2010|
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Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Build Notes
The rubber meets the road when you start putting all your carefully chosen components into the case that was chosen with equal care. Almost every other PC component interacts with the case in some way, so it's not unusual for people to spend even more time researching and deciding on which gaming chassis to buy. In my experience, people also tend to keep their cases and monitors longer than any other PC component, so the extra effort is worth it.
Here's what my first full build looks like. It's pretty straightforward: air cooling, single GPU and one SSD. I'm getting pretty tired of always having to find a place to hide all the unused PSU cables, but I figure most people don't have modular power supplies. In this instance, I raised the HDD cage up to the middle position, leaving a huge space below it to store all the cables. I had to run the 8-pin 12V ATX power cable on the top side of the motherboard due to its length, so I was unable to take advantage of the cutout above the mobo that is specifically designed for this cable. Everything else fit right into place, and I was able to minimize the impact to airflow, which is always my number one goal in cable management. You can also see here the downside to color as a form of branding. Those three different shades of red make a pretty hideous color combination, IMHO
One of the key specs for any gaming chassis is the maximum length of video card that it can accommodate. Seeing as this is an AMD "Special" case, I can answer the question with two numbers, 5870 and 5970. Depending on where the HDD cage is located, the PC-P50R can take an HD 5970 in stride. In most instances, the HDD cage will have to be located in the lower position, and the HD 5970 will then be able to extend into the middle area of the drive tower without interfering. You can see in the picture below that an HD 5870 can fit anywhere, regardless of where the drive cage is located. This is true of the reference design cards, and also for the newer cards that are shorter, but have the PCIe power connections out the back of the card. I tested both types, and they both fit about the same.
Another major concern for gamers and PC enthusiasts is how well the case and its cooling system will work with their CPU cooler. There is every reason to believe that the PC-P50R will work well with your favorite CPU cooler as long as it can be set up in one of two ways. Because the exhaust fans are on the top and upper rear of the case, the CPU cooler fan needs to either push air up towards the top of the case, or push air back towards the rear of the case. This is a pretty common arrangement these days and most cooler/motherboard/DRAM/NB combinations will work in one of these two arrangements. For my component mix, because I have insanely tall DIMMs, I have to mount the CPU cooler fan on the bottom of the heat sink, blowing upwards. If I had a smaller CPU cooler, which means almost any other cooler.... I could also mount push-pull fans on it with this case.
Cable management was pretty simple, with the cutouts in the motherboard tray all in the most appropriate locations. There was plenty of space between the motherboard tray and the side panel to run any cable I wanted to, including the main 24 pin ATX power cable. I certainly could have made it look a lot better. For instance I got lazy when routing the SATA signal cable for the ODD and the fan cable for the front top-mount fan, but neither of these will have any impact on airflow, so I saved a few wire ties for another day. The thing that trips up a lot of cases is having enough space for SATA and Molex HDD power connectors to lie out in the open, as they are all daisy chained and sometimes you need to leave one or two in the clear. I wish Lian Li had included some cable tie attachment points on the back surface here; it's easy to punch a few straps into the tray.
All in all, there weren't really any issues with the build, which is a good thing. It fits in with one of the stated goals for this case, which was to make the build process quicker and easier. The aim was for people preparing machines for a LAN party, or for quick reconfigures during the event. I'm just happy if I never have to remove half the things I just installed, just to get the next thing into place. Let's plug it in and run some thermal benchmarks, to see how well the cooling system works. I've got some tough competition lined up.