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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

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.



# 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.
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