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Lian Li PC-A70 Case Review. (pics included)

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April 22, 2008 11:38:48 PM

Hey Guys

Ive been in the forums a while now helping people out where i can, and i have noticed that we dont seem to get any (or very little) short reviews from out fellow posters. I would like to see more of this as i feel it would help in the overall selection of a product more than the mass reviews by big sites, also by doing this we can ask questions of the reviewer that maybe specific to our needs. So ive done one here on the Lian Li PC-A70.

Introduction:

I have been looking at upgrading to of my machines lately one being my gaming rig and the other a file server. Both needed to be rather large for what i wanted to do and have great cooling as i was worried about 2 GPU's in my gaming rig and wanted to overclock, and in the fileserver there was to be 10 hard drives which also create alot of heat. This brought me to the Lian Li A70, it covers all the areas i needed on paper and was well built and light weight to boot. I know this case is fairly old now, and is going to be replaced shortly by Lian Li with the A7010 which adds a few modifications. But that also means it could be had for cheap shortly as stores try to off load them for new stock.

Current Rigs:

First a quick spec list of my machines and what i will be adding to each.

Gaming Rig: File Server:

Asus P5B-Deluxe Wifi Asus P5K-e Wifi
Intel e6600 Intel Q6600
2gb Corsair 667 at CAS4 2gb Corsair 667 at CAS4
7900GT 7600GT
Raptor 74Gb 5x500gb WD AAKS on Adaptec 3805 controller
Fatal1ty Edition X-fi with front IO 320Gb Seagate OS driver
UPGRADES: UPGRADES:
PC-A70 Case PC-A70 Case
8800GT with HR-03GT cooler from thermalright 4x500gb HDD to add to RAID5 on Adaptec 3805
Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme
Zalman Fan controller

First Glance:

On seeing the box first of all i realised how big this case actually is, i knew it was big but you dont get the full grasp on it till you see the box. The next thing was carrying the things, upon lifting one i noticed how light these are also WOW... i could actually carry one in each hand with no strain at all.

The case itself is packaged really well, the box is solid and as with most cases has a fitted foam packing either end so protect it. Further more it has a thick plastic cover or sleeve encompassing the entire case to protect from any scratching. Both units arrived unharmed and in the best of shape.



Case Insides & Specification:

I think ill let the pictures do the talking here and ill list a few specs off the Lian Li Site.
Full Tower
220mm x 595mm x 590 mm ( W, H, D)
Full Aluminium
Weight is ~7kg
5x5.25" externals
10x3.5" internal hdd bays
6x120mm fans
supports EATX, ATX, M-ATX
front IO has USB2.0 x 2, iEEE1394 x 1, HD+AC97 audio




Contents:

I dont have anypictures of the contents, but a quick run down gives us another PSU mounting bracket incase you want to mount 2 psu's, comes with all the screws and nuts and bolts youll ever need for the case (and i gave them a work out dont you worry). You get some clever little plastic things that are used for the expansion card holding system (used these a little also). and one of the most impressive things although small, it comes with a hex tool for screwing those mobo mounting nuts into the removable motherboard tray.

Installation:

Now i know im not the tidiest with cable routing so dont start on me about this, although the case being the size that it is and with plenty of hidey holes i think i did pretty well.
Most of the installation on both rig went off without a hitch, there were a few issues that i will touch on though.

Motherboard mounting was easy thanks to the easy removable motherboard tray, 2 thumb screws at the back of the case and it slides out (provided you have the side panel off 3 thumbs in that one.) and the hex tool comes in handy for making sure the mountings are in tightly (ive had issue in the past when removing board that the mount screws out with the screw still :S)

This is a pic of the tray going back into the case the clearance is minimal on the rail with a Artic Freezer 7 pro... so i was a little concerned that the Thermalright 120 wouldnt fit and i would have to screw the motherboard in with the tray already in place. However, this was not that case as it worked out i could clear the rail by putting the thermalright in first and still had enough angle to slide the tray in at the bottom (crisis averted).

My second issue is shown here, i was initially going to mount the PSU at the top and the HDD cage at the bottom. But found with the HDD cage at the bottom it was to high and blocked access to the motherboards additional USB and firewire ports making it impossible to use them. So i reverted to the PSU being on the bottom which as it shows in the pic there was JUST enough room. I would expect if you have a longer or same length board you could run into issues here.


Showing my poor cabling here, but its still pretty neat for me. This is with 10 HDD installed in the fileserver, and yes there are 2 drives on the top of the case in this pic but that was only temporary for backup purposes while increasing the size of the array.

Motherboard mounted on my gaming rig... gee those Thermalright coolers are MASSIVE

Everything installed in my gaming rig, i have another story about this in another thread soon...

Ahhh 3 monitor goodness, both cases viewable here also.

Back of my gaming rig with all porting.

Performance:

Just a quick note here, performance is execellent as i expected, the fans are mighty quiet at full speed (in fact the loudest thing in my gaming rig is my 7900gt fan.) and i had temp drops across the board. The Q6600 used to run at ~50idle now its at ~40c idle. The e6600 rig idles about 2c lower, however, under load if gone from ~50c to ~42's which maybe more due to the Thermalright 120. Also got big temp drops on my hdd's also now being cool to the touch rather than warm.

Conclusion:

All up im very impressed. I bought these cases for $300AU each, although this may seem a bit expensive to some i believe it to be well worth it. The brushed aluminium finish is exquiste and i couldnt ask for anything more in the build quality. The case comes with all you need to use it to its full potential. Cooling performance helps out alot noticing temp drops arcoss the board. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a high quality case for gaming rigs and storage alike.

Good:
Build Quality
Finish and aesthetics
Cooling and perfomance
Bad:
Price
Still a few minor compatibility problems


If anyone needs questions answered or more detail added im happy to. First time with pics too so if they dont work ease up lol. I have higher quality and more pics also if anyone wants them.

EDIT: Hmm dunno why those last few pics didnt play... is there a limit to embedded pics?
If noone likes this i will cry
April 23, 2008 1:26:40 AM

Nice case! I am wandering how thick are the side panel? I have their V-serier case with thick side panels which adds alot of weight to the case. On the picture they look thinner but are they so thin to the point of flimsy? If you can let me know would be great! thx for the review.
April 23, 2008 1:52:57 AM

Still low on funds, but plan on purchasing this case. My only questions is: How much clearance do you have between the TRU and the side panel? I use an Xigmatek HDT-s1283 which is slightly taller than the TRU.
Related resources
April 23, 2008 1:55:45 AM

odk0037 said:
Nice case! I am wandering how thick are the side panel? I have their V-serier case with thick side panels which adds alot of weight to the case. On the picture they look thinner but are they so thin to the point of flimsy? If you can let me know would be great! thx for the review.


Thanks for the enthusiasm, I would have to say not including the rolled edges it would be 1mm thick side panels. Although this would seem small they still feel as solid as some steel ones ive had in the past. Sure you can still flex it and buckle it if your not careful, but i wouldnt say they are fragile in any way what so ever.
April 23, 2008 1:58:36 AM

good review. seems like a solid case. Lian Li really seems to build quality cases.
April 23, 2008 2:02:14 AM

I thought my cables were messy. Not any more.

Looks like you would of ben better off spending that money on some LCD monitors instead. I see two CRTs/ Gross.
April 23, 2008 2:02:24 AM

thanks for doing a good review. Its a little pricey for me but a good review none the less
April 23, 2008 2:06:04 AM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Still low on funds, but plan on purchasing this case. My only questions is: How much clearance do you have between the TRU and the side panel? I use an Xigmatek HDT-s1283 which is slightly taller than the TRU.


I wouldnt have a clue, ill check on this tonight and post back.
April 23, 2008 3:40:58 AM

roadrunner197069 said:
I thought my cables were messy. Not any more.

Looks like you would of ben better off spending that money on some LCD monitors instead. I see two CRTs/ Gross.


Yeh well the cabling started out good... then i got a little sick of it... then i threw it in all together hehe

As for the CRT's they are only my diagnosis and testing screens for other peoples computers, ive got my Dell 24" and 2 Samsung 19" going into the gaming rig which im rather happy with.
April 23, 2008 9:07:37 AM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Still low on funds, but plan on purchasing this case. My only questions is: How much clearance do you have between the TRU and the side panel? I use an Xigmatek HDT-s1283 which is slightly taller than the TRU.


Just measured it with the tape measure... im sure youll be please with a ~30mm gap between my HSF and the side panel.

EDIT:
Just had a look at the specs on the HSF's

Thermalright 120
"Dimension : L63.44 x W132 x H160.5 mm (heatsink only) "

Xigmatek HDT-s1283
"120(W) x 50(H) x 159(D) mm "

Seems its smaller
April 23, 2008 10:49:30 AM

I see that on the site, its definately not that. I think they ment this:

120(W) x 120(H) x 25(D) mm


My poor little Antec 900 can barely fit the cooler in it

Anyway a few reviews of the s1283 say that its slightly taller than the TRU and I wanted to make sure, thank you Chookman.
April 23, 2008 12:41:35 PM

cool good review. we need more of that kind of stuff, but i feel we'll get to many bias's, IE, thunderman and: the trip core Phemon steam rolls the qx9950 away. lol

i like this case alot by looking at it, but, im not a fan of the PSU at the bottom, as that just wreck air flow, IMO.

i think i would have gone with the stacker, but this ceertianly look good,

thansk allot chook

PS: is that the Big Blue model Keyboard you have there, damn i want a clicky.
April 23, 2008 5:59:32 PM

Very nice review.

I hope the Zalman 9700 fits in there as that is what I plan on trying to use with this case :) 
April 23, 2008 7:24:18 PM

If the TRU fits in there the 9700 will have no problem.
April 23, 2008 11:27:41 PM

The_Blood_Raven said:
I see that on the site, its definately not that. I think they ment this:

120(W) x 120(H) x 25(D) mm

http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/931/1010595yu4.jpg


I think youll find thats the fan measurements.

And just curious, why did you mount your cooler like that in your case? It would be blow exhaust air off the CPU directly at your GPU? unless this was the only way it fit...

Dobby:"PS: is that the Big Blue model Keyboard you have there, damn i want a clicky."

I dont know what your on about but the keyboard there is just a cheap PS/2 one, i have my Logitech G15 in the other room at the moment.

And the 9700 will fit easily
August 1, 2008 7:20:39 AM

Interested in purchasing this case and using 38mm fans (ultra kaze 120x120x38). Hard to tell from pics if they can be used due to thickness. Much appreciated if anyone could tell me if they can be used in all six places, only for exhaust, etc....

6 ultrakaze in this case - yeah it's overkill, but it's fun (plan on using a controller) :pt1cable: 
August 23, 2008 6:41:03 PM

Chookman, I now this same case and I was wondering if you could control the fan speed via the motherboard? I cannot seem to, and I cannot seem to get the LEDs on the top right of the case to light either. My mobo is the 780i by EVGA. I may have to resort to buying a fan speed controller, but am trying to avoid this if possible.
September 20, 2008 4:45:24 PM

Chookman, I have an Asus P5B-Deluxe Wifi patched with the latest BIOS version that I've been trying to setup with an Adaptec 3805 card since weeks.
I'm unable to enter the card configuration utility: when I try the cursor just blinks in the bottom right corner forever. Could you please tell me your BIOS settings or help me troubleshoot? The card is recognized and the kernel loads ok. Thanks!
September 21, 2008 5:52:07 PM

Hi all :) 

I have the Lian Li A7110....basically the same case with the front door. I added a 3rd party clear side panel with a 240 mm fan. This fan is 3 cm in depth. I have the Xigamtek S1283 CPU cooler. It all fits but there is no more wiggle room between the CPU cooler and the bottom of the 240 mm fan -----> around 3 cm clearance with CPU cooler and inside of STOCK side panel.
September 22, 2008 3:17:50 AM

ciscod said:
Chookman, I have an Asus P5B-Deluxe Wifi patched with the latest BIOS version that I've been trying to setup with an Adaptec 3805 card since weeks.
I'm unable to enter the card configuration utility: when I try the cursor just blinks in the bottom right corner forever. Could you please tell me your BIOS settings or help me troubleshoot? The card is recognized and the kernel loads ok. Thanks!


My post is a little confusing... but im actually using a P5K-e to run the RAID card in my server, so i cant really help you there. First thing i would do is reset BIOS to defaults, and maybe try contacting Adaptec they have been good help to me in the past. Tried a different slot at all?
September 22, 2008 8:06:56 PM

Chookman, I can't believe you reacted this quickly! Thanks an awful lot. Yes, I've tried both PCI-E slots (blue @ x16 mode, black @ x2 or x4 mode) to no avail. I've tried all possible BIOS settings, including default. Actually I've even tried the P5K Premium (yes, I know you use P5K-e) but it just sets off the alarm. I've tried. Thanks again.
September 23, 2008 1:23:54 AM

ciscod said:
Chookman, I can't believe you reacted this quickly! Thanks an awful lot. Yes, I've tried both PCI-E slots (blue @ x16 mode, black @ x2 or x4 mode) to no avail. I've tried all possible BIOS settings, including default. Actually I've even tried the P5K Premium (yes, I know you use P5K-e) but it just sets off the alarm. I've tried. Thanks again.


What can i say im a nerd HA

but it just sets off the alarm? what alarm, from what ive heard the Premium board was a royal pain the the beehind for alot of users. Dont know what else to say as i plugged mine in turn it on and it worked :S

EDIT: Maybe there is an issue with the Controller itself, can you get it working on another system?
October 5, 2008 11:09:50 AM

Chookman, thanks again for your response. Sorry, I’ve been on the road.
Alarm: The Adaptec 3805 comes with an alarm onboard. I couldn’t find much diagnostic use for it though.
The Controller: I had only these two systems to try the card on. Certainly the controller works just fine, because once I bought an X48 motherboard (X48-DQ6) the rest was a breeze. Thanks again for your support.
October 7, 2008 1:19:56 AM

No probs mate.

Glad you got it worked out ok.
March 5, 2009 6:29:43 PM

Lian Li PC-A70 stock fan info:

Model: LI121225BL-4
Size: 120x120x25
Type: Dual Ball bearinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_bearing
RPM: 1500
CFM: ~56
dB: ~25
Volts: 12
Amps: 0.27
Termination: 3pin with RPM monitoring and adapters for molexhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molex included.

The Arctic i got for my Thermalright Ultra is this one.

Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm
Rated Fan Speed: 400 - 1500 RPM
Air Flow: 56.3 CFM / 94.7 m3/h
Noise Level: 10.5 dB(A) - 24.5.0 dB(A), 0.05 Sone - 0.6 Sone
Power Consumption: 12 V, 0.13 Amp
Weight: 166 g
Bearing: Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Cable Length: 400 mm
Warranty: 6 Years

Yeh its about the same but im happy with the ones in the case anywho.

!