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Sing it with us: “If you like aluminum chassis / and a whole lot of fans / if you want premium airflow / and have plenty of clams…” then, well, you might find that Lian Li’s PC-B25F mid-tower is what you’re looking for. At 8.2 inches wide by 19.5 inches high by 19.3 inches wide, it’s a mid-size mid-tower, but its aluminum construction makes it the lightest of the bunch. The PC-B25F is completely toolless, if you so choose: The motherboard standoffs are preinstalled (for ATX, anyway) and the mobo screws are all thumbscrews.
The exterior of the B25F is completely black, except for a circle of blue light at the bottom of the front panel. It’s the only light on the case (except the power and drive activity lights) and we like it that way. The B25F’s interior is unpainted, but we’re willing to forgive that, because shiny unpainted aluminum looks a lot better than unpainted steel. The motherboard tray includes the now-requisite CPU backplate cutout, as well as cable-routing holes, tie downs, and even a few PSU cable–routing clips.
We’re disappointed with the lack of 5.25-inch bays and the either/or proposition regarding hard drives and extra-long videocards—you either have a six-drive hard drive cage or you have an extra-long videocard. The hard drive cage’s mechanism is a familiar one: Thumbscrews and rubber grommets thread into the hard drives, and slide into rails in the cage. There’s even a slider to keep the drives secure once they’re in place. The PCI retention mechanism holds expansion cards more firmly than plastic versions. Even the PSU mount has a retention bracket to clamp it to the anti-vibration foam-rubber pads on the standoffs.
One place Lian Li has never skimped, besides the price of its cases, is in the number of fans that accompany each enclosure. The PC-B25F comes with two 12cm front intake fans, two top 14cm exhaust fans (mounted between the removable top-panel cover and the top panel), and a rear 12cm exhaust fan. The front fans have removable filters, and you can add a filter for the PSU fan, too.
We appreciate Lian Li’s rubber grommets on everything that could vibrate, from fans to optical drive mounts to hard drive mounts, and the construction and aesthetics of this case are, of course, top-notch. But $180 for a case with only two optical bays, no radiator mounts, and no support for extra-long videocards is too steep. But then, that’s sort of Lian Li’s thing.
Top-notch aesthetics; full of fans; rubber grommets on everything that could vibrate.
Expensive; lacks 5.25-inch bays; no support for extra-long videocards.