We don’t get Lian Li’s spider obsession, but the rest of the PC-8FI is quite handsome.
Lian Li’s chassis are renowned for their all-aluminum construction and superb build quality, but are also known equally well for costing a fortune and featuring questionable design choices. The mid-tower PC-8FI, thankfully, brings the legendary build quality, adds some nice new toolless touches, and for the most part eschews silly design elements—aside from a giant spider-shaped side window, that is.
Lian Li’s PCI expansion slot–retention mechanism—sometimes the first thing we remove from one of its cases—is better than ever.
The PC-8FI’s drive-bay complement includes three optical drive bays (one with a front flip-down bezel, and one with a 3.5-inch adapter preinstalled) and six toolless 3.5-inch drive bays, one of which can be transformed to hold two 2.5-inch drives with the use of an included adapter. The fan loadout isn’t the most comprehensive we’ve seen, but three 12cm red LED fans still manage to keep air moving through the case, and there’s room at the top of the case for a 14cm exhaust fan. Lian Li even includes an extra mesh fan-cover for that hole.
The PC-8FI ships with a mesh cover for an optional 14cm fan. We wish the fan came with it, too.
The case’s interior is generally well appointed: The motherboard tray includes the now-requisite CPU backplate cutout as well as several non-grommeted cable-routing holes. The PC-8FI also includes Lian Li’s toolless PCI expansion slot–securing mechanism, and it works better on this chassis than we remember it working on previous models. It only covers seven of the case’s eight expansion slots; the top one is used as a pass-through for the case’s front-panel USB 3.0 cable.
Unfortunately, the PC-8FI isn’t without its annoyances. If you plan on routing the 8-pin ATX power cable behind the motherboard tray, you need to do so before installing the motherboard, or it won’t fit through the routing hole. And you won’t be able to run a graphics card measuring over 11.2 inches long unless you can figure out a way to run a computer without a hard drive. In other words, oversize videocards will only fit if you remove the hard drive cage entirely. And what kind of life is that?
You know what else is red and black? A Radeon 5970, which won’t fit in this enclosure.
Finally, the PC-8FI doesn’t match the cooling prowess of some of the other cases in this roundup. Without side or top fans, CPU cooling is good but not great. And the GPU could definitely benefit from more airflow. The garish spider-shaped side window will not be to everyone’s taste; if it doesn’t suit you, you can save $40 or so by going for the black or silver versions of this case.
|Lian Li PC-8FI|
|CPU Temp @ 100% burn (C)||47.5|
|CPU Temp @ idle (C)||33.25|
|GPU Temp (C)||60|
|System Temp (C)||32|
For our case testing, we use an EV GA 680SLI motherboard, stock-clocked Q6700 with a Thermaltake Contac29 cooler, an Nvidia 8800 GTX (with a Radeon 5970 for size testing), and a Corsair AX850 power supply. We use the case’s stock complement of fans on their highest settings.