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Lian-Li Wants Your Feedback for its PC-A51 Prototype

By - Source: TechPowerUp | B 47 comments

Lian-Li is looking for your feedback about one of their prototypes, the PC-A51.

Lian-Li has built a new enclosure, but it isn't finished yet. The PC-A51 prototype will only be finished once you give Lian-Li your feedback.

The PC-A51 enclosure looks like a typical Lian-Li enclosure, but with a couple of changes. These changes include a side window that's included by default, a number of interior red accents, and a red rear I/O. The PSU is also front-mounted, internally with an extension cable.

Inside, the case is capable of housing up to ATX size motherboards, 280 mm long graphics cards, 175 mm tall CPU coolers, and PSUs up to 160 mm in length. In addition, the case can hold up to five 3.5" drives (or two 2.5" drives per 3.5" drive slot) and a single optical drive. Cooling is achieved by a 140 mm front intake combined with two 140 mm top exhausts, giving the case support for 280 mm water cooling radiators, topped off by a 140 mm rear exhaust. Front I/O connectivity is rather unusual, featuring four USB 3.0 ports, HD audio jacks, and an eSATA port, all hidden below a flap on top of the case.

Feel free to leave your comments and feedback below. If you decide to criticize certain elements of the case, be sure to elaborate on your answer so that Lian-Li can try to find a solution.

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  • -6 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 2, 2013 6:17 PM
    The location of the "front" I/O ports limits it to a floor position. Seems a bit long also, like it's intended to be a server chassis. I like the color scheme and finish.
  • 0 Hide
    lancelot123 , December 2, 2013 6:59 PM
    Black and red case with a black and blue motherboard..... the horror!
  • -2 Hide
    axehead15 , December 2, 2013 7:04 PM
    I like the idea of the front mounted PSU. It makes a smaller case seem a lot bigger.
  • 6 Hide
    edogawa , December 2, 2013 7:06 PM
    I see a lot of cases constantly, and I find this design of my standard atx cases really generic and flawed no matter how they design it. The care exterior is not to bad looking, but inconsistent.

    There needs to be hot-swaps for all drive on cases from now on with all the wiring run off a single line neatly hidden under plastic in the back with the SATA ports only exposed. Have a side panel designed so you can pull the drives directly through the doors easily as an optional part. Hard drive bay setup looks cheap too.
    Power supply under hard drives is nice, but the graphic cards will lose a lot of air flow, and will make a tight fit.

    esata port on front seems unnecessary.

    The front IO panel should be hidden better.

    Design it so the power supply faces towards the back(widen case an inch) so wires will not be seen on bottom, a big problem I see on cases looking neat. Air cant vent through the side, and the window can go up two inches for the vent holes running along below the window allowing air for the graphic cards since the drive bays and power supply impede air flow.

    Put the hard drives next to the power supply with a metal beam separating power supply and hard drives from the motherboard, and have the motherboard horizontal. This way air can go from the front to the graphics cards and also through a rad at the top for example.

    I don't think the PC-A51 design is decent; case designers don't seem very creative or go all the way.
  • 1 Hide
    Hazle , December 2, 2013 7:14 PM
    AYE;
    - it's SOOOOOO CUTE!
    - ATX support.

    NAY;
    -routing the PSU cables to the back looks damn cramped with an ATX mobo. not comfortable with the idea of forcefully bending the cables at such a tight angle.
    -no SLI/CF support for cards longer than 280mm with that PSU in the way for those who care (i don't personally). a single card seems possible seeing as those two bottom drive bays look removable.
    - drive bay looks kinda flimsy. with what looks like only two screws from the back holding each bays up, they look like they'd shake a lot.
    -unless they can be covered up or it has a dust filter, not a fan of top vents. it allows for dusts to just enter when it's not in use.
    -windowed side panel.
  • 0 Hide
    Nighyal , December 2, 2013 7:16 PM
    This case looks good and does a lot of things right (from my perspective) in general. I like that they only included room for a single optical drive and the layout seems solid (Good HDD bay design, no superfluous spot for a second ODD, nice cable management etc).

    I like the use of a 140mm rear exhaust fan over the normal 120mm. But perhaps with the extra width available at the front a 180mm intake fan could be employed. This could give the end user more options and should improve noise while maintaining airflow or increase airflow for the same noise.

    It depends who this case is targeted at but It would also be nice to see a solid plate that could be installed in place of the top vent for those that don't make use of radiators. I would say that most mainstream builds these days don't require those two extra fans on top. Sealing up the top would prevent dust and debris from falling into the case as well as shift it from a negative to a neutral or positive pressure case (also easier to control dust). It would also mean that the airflow is in one direction rather than having to turn 90 degrees and this should reduce noise.
  • 6 Hide
    lancelot123 , December 2, 2013 7:16 PM
    On a serious note, I have a concern about the fans.

    I'm a anti-dust freak. Does the front intake fan have a removable dust filter? Is there also a filter for the PSU?

    Making the rear exhaust fan an intake fan instead, while adding a dust filter would help equalize the air flow that comes in and out of the case.

    I prefer a little more intake than exhaust, to help combat dust of coarse.
  • 1 Hide
    Kamen Rider Blade , December 2, 2013 7:20 PM
    As a long time Lian Li customer / user and a fan of all aluminum cases, this seems like a simplified and cheaper "Lian Li PC-V700".
    They changed the general outter shape of the V700 and removed the awesome fancy features like 'SATA back-plane' & 'Tool-less PCI card holder'.
    That's fine if that is the intention, but the MSRP better be cheaper than the V700

    Things to fix:
    1) The hole right above the motherboard has no rubber padding; why is that? That seems very inconsistent and should be fixed by adding rubber padding.
    2) As for the easy Optical Drive bracket, that's a needless expense IMO and should be removed in favor of the traditional screw / hole pattern that matches the other side.
    3) Since this seems like a simple case with basic needs, you should also release a case SKU without the plastic window panel, not everybody likes the plastic window panels, I personally prefer the all aluminum side panels.
    4) The rear handle to pull the case panels back for opening is too low, part of the power plug is covering it, the handle needs to be moved to near the center of the case where there is no obstructions to reaching it.
    5) There should be some basic casing color options, Black, White, Silver, Red, Blue with contrasting interior panel colorings to make things stand out.
  • 7 Hide
    ingtar33 , December 2, 2013 7:22 PM
    not a fan of negative pressure cases, so i would like to see some sort of additional intake... seems like there is lots of room for it. put something on the bottom of the case, like a 200mm fan or something blowing up across the motherboard or something, with all that side window cleaning will be a requirement and all that negative pressure will make it dusty/dirty rather fast inside that case. though it seems a little counter intuitive. The io ports are clearly designed for floor usage, but the window for desk. kinda a confused design really.

    Never liked the flat panel front look... those side-vents on the front intake never seem to work all that well, and cleaning the dust and dirt buildup tends to be a chore. lian-li usually hits on some very unique designs but this one is a bit underwhelming.
  • 1 Hide
    vaughn2k , December 2, 2013 7:22 PM
    I like the way it is designed, it is very clean and nice, and everything (I think without holding one) seems to look accessible. And I also like the fan grill replaced at the back instead of using the usual perforated metal of the case
    1. Need to consider moving the power supply further to accomodate longer GPUs
    2. The optical drive should have a cover or a rubber sea in front, so to prevent dust from coming in the drive.
    3. Do you think the back grill openings (below the output fan, right) should be sealed to prevent the warm air being recycled (disposed by the output fan)
    4. Tool less design.
    5. Maybe add another optional bracket to hold another fan on the left side of the HDD shelves (push/pull design) and improve the cooling of the HDD (if on needs it...)
    6. An optional bracket to hold larger and longer (weight support) card.
    Anything else is okay.
    So do I get a 50% discount on buying this case, once it flies to the shelves because of this? ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    TheBullet , December 2, 2013 7:22 PM
    I think the psu might be better off at the top, not the bottom. Because I assume the psu is supposed to blow out the air in front, meaning it travels right in front of the front intake(which is already behind a door limiting air intake). Add mesh to the side so air can be sucked in through it, because the only place right now is the front. And that has the drives+the psu and behind a door(with holes in the side, but still).
  • 0 Hide
    FloKid , December 2, 2013 7:27 PM
    Cool idea to put the PSU in front, so that everything is accessible.
  • 5 Hide
    Kamen Rider Blade , December 2, 2013 7:34 PM
    If the Power Supply is on the bottom it better have a intake at the bottom with a filter.
    The exhaust at the front better be sectioned off from the intake fan once the front panel is closed, the metal brace on the front panel better have a rubber liner to allow a proper seal.
    If it's cost feasible, angle the bottom vents downwards so that the top vents are less likely to suck in warm air from the PSU.

    The fan intake better have a easy to remove and clean filter that you are known for.
  • 3 Hide
    Kamen Rider Blade , December 2, 2013 7:38 PM
    The rear vent above the add-on cards should be made drill hole compatible with your exhaust coolers and the tool less PCI card holder so that the user can optionally mount them when they want those features.
  • 3 Hide
    Jonnynumero9 , December 2, 2013 7:38 PM
    I know this isn't such an "enthusiast" class case; but if it were so, the inclusion of a removable 5.25" drive bay and an extra fan mount on the top of case could give the option of mounting a 360mm or 420mm radiator. Also, with the included pictures, it appears that there is enough room on the rear side of the motherboard tray to include a mount for a 2.5" drive.
  • 3 Hide
    torka , December 2, 2013 7:59 PM
    It would be more appealing to me if it had a solid side instead of the see through plastic, and I'm not a fan of the red I\O area around back.

    Some other things people have pointed out. PSU is great upfront, but it will need a fan hole with a filter underneath.

    I really appreciate the cable management, but again, like someone else already pointed out. There is rubber for all of the main wires, but not for the whole above the CPU.
  • 5 Hide
    MagicPants , December 2, 2013 8:25 PM
    The PSU blocks the airflow to a second video card. Either fix that or switch the mobo to micro-atx (making it shorter and removing a few drive bays), as you really only need full atx for multi-gpu setups.
  • 0 Hide
    MagicPants , December 2, 2013 8:29 PM
    The best way to fix the GPU cooling issue would be to rise the mobo up slightly and install a bottom intake fan.
  • 0 Hide
    memocz , December 2, 2013 8:49 PM
    Have the power button, reset button, mic, audio and usb plug modular so that you can move it to the top or anywhere on the front of the computer.
  • 0 Hide
    Darkk , December 2, 2013 9:22 PM
    Not bad looking case. Like to see the option for either see through or solid side panel. My biggest concern about see through panels is lack of RF shielding. I have seen one where they incorporated honeycomb metal mesh onto the Plexiglas which looked pretty cool. Especially if somebody installs LED lights inside the case. Maybe include a metal sheet if we want to put it on.

    Also, little nervous about the hard drive holders. Are they solid enough that it can handle vibrations from the hard drive? May not be a problem if the drive is isolated with rubber spacers.

    PSU in the front is definitely cool idea but make the case a little longer to accommodate modulator PSU. This would also help with long video cards with the power connector on the edge.

    Good luck with it.
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