Lian Li just introduced its new PC-Q26 case. It's a mini ITX enclosure for users who want to roll their own NAS box with support for up to 11 hard drives, including 10 3.5-inch drives and a single 2.5-inch drive. A hot-swap backplane for two 3.5-inch drives included, and you have the ability to "easily" add more backplanes as needed, Lian Li says. All that potential storage capacity comes wrapped in a small and lightweight brushed aluminum case.
Open air test benches aren't for everyone. Your mom and pop? They're probably not candidates. In fact, we'd venture to guess that the vast majority would prefer a traditional closed case. That's not to say there isn't a market for test benches -- reviewers, frequent upgraders, and those who are always tinkering will see the value in such a design. There aren't a ton to choose from, though the market for open air test benches did just grow by one with the introduction of Lian Li's PC-T80.
A full tower chassis with room for multiple water cooling radiators
Lian Li today added another big case to its lineup, the PC-V2130. As you might have guessed, this one sports a brushed aluminum design, a popular motif at Lian Li, and is an updated version of the PC-V2120. The PC-V2130 improves upon its predecessor by adding robust water cooling support, more versatile drive bay options, and an enhanced cable management scheme.
Lian Li's obvious fetish for brushed aluminum continues to influence the company's penchant for designing cases. The newest case from Lian Li to receive the brushed aluminum treatment is the PC-Q01, a mini-ITX enclosure with "ample space for hardware" and a tool-lessly removable L-shaped cover that's designed to make installations a lot easier for a mini-ITX build, the company says.
If it's a mid-tower enclosure you're after, your options just grew by two. That's because Lian Li this week announced the release of its PC-B16 and PC-A61, both of which are mid-tower cases sporting brushed aluminum, modular 5.25-inch drive cages, and removable hard drive bays. Both also offer plenty of elbow room -- 59.7L for the PC-B16 and 57.5L for the PC-A61 -- with the former putting additional focus on keeping things quiet.
Lian Li teased a prototype computer case that doubles as desk back in January of this year. At the time, the company wasn't sure if the design would move past the prototype phase and become an actual product, but apparently a decision has been made. Lian Li announced today that it will begin shipping two versions of its computer desk -- DK-01X and DK-02X -- in the U.S. this July starting at $989.
What's it like to build in three of the most unusual cases on the market?
A generation ago, computer cases were typically beige pizza box–shaped things that resided under beige CRT monitors. You wrangled floppy disks in and out of them and pressed the power button at times, but they weren't conversation pieces or personal statements. We don't know exactly when the shift to case fanciness occurred. It evolved gradually, like facial hair or Nicolas Cage. And in the last few years, we've seen some pretty exotic enclosures come to the home desktop, in various degrees of affordability and physical dimensions. You may wonder what it's like to build inside one of these strange containers; we certainly did. To find out, we had three distinctly different unconventional cases delivered to our Lab: the Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935, the In Win D-Frame, and the Corsair Carbide Air 540 that are pictured here.
Note: This article was originally featured in our Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine.
Cool air is pulled in from the rear and expelled out the front
Lian Li's been busy turning its prototype PC-A51 chassis into a real product, and that mission is now complete. What makes the PC-A51 unique is that it sports a reverse airflow design in which cool air is pulled in from the back of the case through a filtered 120mm fan and pushed out through a front-mounted 140mm fan that sits above the front-mounted PSU. An additional 120mm or 140mm fan can be installed on the floor of the case.
Lian Li has been known to flirt with funky looking case designs. Remember the shell-shaped PC-777 Memorial Edition chassis? And then there was the PC-CK101, a train themed enclosure that rolled into view towards the end of 2012. There have been others and there will be more, not all of which turn into shipping products. One prototype that's up in the air is the DK-01, which is a computer case that doubles as a desk.
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