Case: Lian Li PC-Q21A
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Z87 Maximus VI Impact
CPU: Intel i5 4690K
CPU Cooler: Intel Stock
RAM: HyperX Savage 8GB 2400MHz
Graphics Card: Powercolor R9 NANO
Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider SFX Gold 450w
Installing all of the test hardware into the Lian Li PC-Q21A was a little different, but more or less straight forward. Firstly I wanted to see exactly how much storage I could squeeze into the tiny case. We all know how important it is to keep your GPU cool, so utilizing the lower 2.5″ drive tray was out of the question as an SSD in either side could potentially impede airflow to the Powercolor R9 NANO. Seeing as I like many others don’t use an ODD of any kind, it seemed like the logical idea to use the drive mount concealed within the 5.25″ tray, which in doing so would allow me to use a high capacity 3.5″ HDD in the front bay. However despite the insistence of the user manual (found here), the mounting holes are are either misaligned or Lian Li seemed to have forgotten about the lipped ODD brace towards the rear of the tray. So out went the 3.5″ HDD and in went the Crucial MMX100 using four rubber spacers attached via four drive screws. A system I wasn’t wholly convinced by, but in practice works incredibly well with the bonus of the spacers also acting as vibration dampeners should you choose to use an HDD instead.
The motherboard tray was then removed to attach the main assembly (motherboard, CPU, cooler & RAM). A nice and easy task given the chosen Intel Stock cooler. However if you were to use another cooler where access to the rear of the motherboard is required, you will want to piece together the main assembly outside of the case as the tray cut-out despite its size isn’t quite in the right position leaving the top two CPU mounts obscured. With the motherboard tray and assembly together, the oddly long USB 3.0 and front panel cables suddenly make sense, making them much easier to plug into the relevant headers prior to the tray re-installation (its pretty confined as you can see!)
In goes the Powercolour R9 NANO test GPU with relative ease due to its 154mm length, then the SATA and power cables plugged into the Crucial MMX100, ASUS ROG Z87 VI Impact and NANO. This was purely because the Silverstone Strider SFX Gold 450W is a fully modular power supply which allows for slightly more working space and an easier install (something I’m certainly all for).
Which left just the installation of the SFX PSU itself, connection of the power cables and a little cable management. The latter of which if I’m honest went more or less straight out of the window, but there is ample room behind the front drive mount for excess cables. The interior of the PC-Q21A might be surprisingly spacious, but it does fill up rather quickly. Overall I have to admit I’m rather impressed with the Lian Li PC-Q21A. Its internal layout is not exactly conventional when compared to your typical tower case and odd to be working inside what is essentially a passive or fan free chassis, but considering how small the case actually is, it’s surprising how many features Lian Li have managed to squeeze inside. It does however beg the question as why include so many features, only to limit the ones you can actually use?