Nathan Edwards Jul 03, 2008

Lian Li PC-P80R

At A Glance

Peter Parker

Lightweight; stylin'; spacious; rear mobo tray; holes for water-cooling; tons of features.

Toby Maguire

Why does everyone use those damned retention bars? And for a case this expensive, we'd have liked to see a few more bells and whistles.

There’s no denying that the PC-P80R makes a statement. And we’re not just talking about its avid ATI affiliation. Regardless of our personal graphics-card preferences,

we have to admit that Lian Li’s fanboy chassis looks awesome. What’s more, minus a single, irritating lapse in design judgment, this enclosure’s internal layout is a stunning combination of beauty, foresight, and ease of use.

We’ll start with the chassis itself. The all-aluminum case is blessedly lightweight, and its anodized red aesthetic covers the outside and inside alike, right down to the case’s numerous thumbscrews. And the fine etching on the windowed side panel gussies up what would have otherwise been a cookie-cutter design. If only ATI’s official colors were blue or purple, because the etching would pop out even more in a blacklight environment.

The inside of the case is as spacious as a small refrigerator and offers ample room for a typical ATX motherboard installation. The rear removable mobo tray is a helpful companion in the system-building process, which itself is only blemished by an irritating PCI retention mechanism running top to bottom inside. We see no purpose for this. The tightness of the silly plastic card-holders had us worried about cracking our motherboard. Thankfully, the retention mechanism is easily taken out by removing a few screws.

With room for up to 12 5.25-inch devices, the PC-P80R is equipped to handle most any configuration an enthusiast could throw at it. The case comes with two hard drive bays that fit up to three drives apiece. And each bed reduces both the noise and vibration of the drives by using thick rubber washers to dampen vibrations. While installing the drives requires the use of screws, we’re willing to accept this trade-off given the bays’ propensity for quieter operation.

A flip-top door on top conceals four USB ports, one FireWire port, an eSATA port, and two audio jacks.

Three red LED fans installed in the case’s front door cool all of the 5.25-inch bays. The door also conceals the fans’ built-in controller mechanism, a wonderful way for enthusiasts to dial speeds up and down according to their personal noise tolerance. It’s a minor note, but we especially like the satisfying snapping noise provided by the door’s steel-ball-based locking mechanism.

Your first mod will be unscrewing the ugly, useless retention bar from the case's side.

This is the first chassis we’ve tested that comes with not two, but four holes for water-cooling tubes. You also get a host of screws for mounting your PCI cards, and we give Lian Li credit for matching the color and texture of the brackets to the rest of the case. Minus the PCI retention mechanism, our only other complaint concerns the case’s simplicity. Other costly cases just have more—digital panels or built-in water cooling—which can help justify an exorbitant price tag. But if elegance is what you’re after, the PC-P80R has it in spades.

Click here to go back to the Budget Cases feature!


Lian Li PC-P80R

Around the web