Closer Look – Interior and Installation
Now it’s time for a look at the innards of this chassis. As we can see, the aluminium construction is followed onto the inside. On the right hand side is the ‘motherboard tray’ which is actually quite sturdy and the design allows you to route cables around the back to hide them slightly and to make them enter the motherboard nicely. On the left hand side we can also see the five 5.25 inch drive bays as well as the removable hard drive cage populating the bottom three cages. Visible are the four silver thumb screws which hold it in place.
Here is a look at the inside from a different angle. pretty much the same view as the other side. Again you can see the mounts for the motherboard as well as the four thumbscrews holding the removable hard drive cage in place.
In the roof of this chassis we have another 120mm fan, which comes complete with a chromed wire grill. I actually quite like this touch as it ties in with the inside of the chassis. Of note is the clearance from the bottom of the fan to the top of the motherboard. There is enough to house a water cooling radiator, whether that be from an all in one solution or a custom loop. because the aesthetic of this case is relatively simple, it would also be possible to mod the roof to accommodate a 240mm radiator if you wanted to do that.
Looking through from the front of the chassis, it is evident that we have removed the hard drive cage along with this front intake fan. This would allow you to populate all five of the 5.25 inch optical bays. Looking towards the heat sink, this also shows up a small problem. The Noctua cooler that we use for our ITX cases, the NH-U9B, is only small and utilises 92mm fans. This is still far too tall and impedes the power supply mount. If you were to use this chassis, then you would need to use a solution like the Noctua L9i, like we ended up doing. In all honesty, the L9i is the perfect cooler for this chassis as it is very low profile and actually does a tremendous job of cooling our i7. I would doubt many people would by this chassis for a gaming chassis and as such need a large cooler for overclocks. However, as stated previously it is possible to mount an all in one water cooling solution to this system, which would be another solution. Also, look towards the bottom of the chassis. You will be able to just make out that I managed to squeeze my MSI R9 290 graphics card into this chassis. This was surprising as the graphics card is very long and not a lot of ITX chassis can accommodate such a beast in a stock configuration.
Here is a little closer look at the hard drive cage removed from chassis. There are four slots on it for hard drive to be mounted, and all of them have rubber anti-vibration dampers on them. Also in shot is a little SSD mount on the side of the bay. There is another on the opposite side. With this you unscrew the four screws (one in each corner), then attach the rubber dampers, and screw in the SSD. You then re-attach the SSD back to the cage and reinstall in the chassis. The beauty of this is that you can run four full size hard drives and three SSD’s, with the mount in the bottom of the chassis, in the chassis stock configuration.
Lastly we are onto the test system. Using the Antec 750w High Current Gamer M, it took up basically the same room as the ITX motherboard. Now you can see why we used Noctua’s L9i cooler. Even though it is not 100% noticeable, just for the benefit of testing out the size, this case has managed to swallow the MSI R9 290, which is no mean feat for an ITX chassis. The cables were able to be kept relatively tidy as well which is always a benefit. One thing that will strike a lot of users is how long the chassis is for an ITX chassis. I have seen a lot of people complaining on various forums that Lian Li are making ITX chassis that are just far too long and packing too many 5.25 inch bays. However, I believe that these people are missing the point of this chassis. It is more for a NAS or home server than a gaming or office computer. The sheer number of storage options available to the user suggest this, and whilst it can house a gaming setup, that it more a beneficial secondary role. I believe that this chassis, much like a lot of the chassis Lian Li offer, have exciting potential for any potential modder out there.
Now that you know what my thoughts are to the exterior and interior of this chassis, let’s see how its real world performance stacks up to the competition. In our graph it is mainly coming from the BitFenix Prodigy and the Cooltek U2.