Lian Li PC-Q30 Case Review: A Mini-ITX Chassis With Flair

Fans, Temperatures, And Noise

Lian Li’s stock 140 mm rear fan is incredibly loud. So, we slowed it down to a bearable 550 RPM using a resistor. Much below that and the cooler won't even start. But without this drastic measure, there's really no point in trying to optimize the fans inside. A painfully apparent 40 dB(A) from 50 cm away is just too loud.

Fan Optimization

Thermalright's stock fan on the AXP-100 is alright, but if you want a 100 W APU and a quiet machine at the same time, the combination simply isn't good enough.

Zotac’s mini-ITX motherboards only support temperature-dependent PWM fan management via profiles. So, you'll want to make sure that any replacement you buy sports a four-pin connector.

Noiseblocker eLoop B12-PS PWM

Noiseblocker's eLoop B12-PS PWM is quiet and looks great to boot. You do have to pay top dollar for its premium performance, though. Then again, a higher price is worthwhile for the blend of effective cooling and conservative acoustics.

Registering 34.1 dB(A) for the entire system at full load, the setup ends up being very living room-friendly. The fan seldom even makes it to its maximum 1500 RPM. Instead, it usually settles in at about 1300 RPM when gaming, resulting in an even better 32.6 dB(A). At idle, the system generates 30.8 dB(A), which is mostly due to the fan around back.

Bringing Back Disco: Enermax T.B.Vegas Quad and Single

As you've probably figured out by now, based on some of my older stories, I have a small obsession with lighting. If you share my fascination, then you'll love the Enermax fan's effects, especially its new sparkle mode. I also like the ability to set a maximum RPM at three different levels without modifying the fan's minimum rotational speed.

I left the fan at its maximum setting, since we're controlling the PWM curve through the motherboard's firmware anyway. It’s still pretty quiet, hitting 36.2 dB(A) under full load and 34.4 dB(A) during gaming workloads. And remember, the original case fan is louder than our CPU cooler at idle.

Overall, Enermax’s fans serve as a satisfactory alternative for cooling AMD's A10-6800K quietly and with a little more flair. In case you're interested, the exact models we used were: T.B.Vegas Quad (UCTVQ12P) for the four-color version and T.B.Vegas Single (UCTVS12P-BL/R/W) for the single-color versions in blue, red, or white, respectively.

I tried to capture the effects on video, but they just look better in real life.

Temperatures and Noise

The temperatures we're reporting are for the APU with its integrated graphics engine active. Consequently, they're the observed maximums. The Core i5-2500K running at stock clock rates on Zotac's H77-based motherboard isn't much cooler, since I optimized the PWM curves for quiet operation rather than lower thermals. Identical temperatures can be achieved at significantly lower fan speeds, though I can't report the actual comparison data since I ran the Intel-based platform on an open test bench just to garner performance data.

Noise Levels and APU Temperatures
Idle
Gaming
Full Load
Stock Fan 90 mm
31.7 dB(A)
38 °C
38.9 dB(A)
54 °C
41.7 dB(A)
62 °C
Noiseblocker eLoop B12-PS PWM
30.8 dB(A)
32 °C
32.6 dB(A)
46 °C
34.1 dB(A)
55 °C
Enermax T.B.Vegas
30.8 dB(A)
32 °C
34.4 dB(A)
45 °C
36.2 dB(A)
54 °C

Even with a 100 W APU, the flat CPU cooler with a capable fan manages to provide compact dimensions, reasonable cooling performance, and pleasant noise levels. This is about as good as it gets, unless you go for the Intel-based system with a passively-cooled graphics card instead. The only thing that keeps that setup from being totally silent is the rear case fan.

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39 comments
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    Top Comments
  • gofasterstripes
    Lian Li proving, again, that they're a little less sane than everyone else...

    I kinda like it, nice concept. There's too many boring PC cases!
    13
  • Other Comments
  • afrobacon
    It's hideous.
    -1
  • gofasterstripes
    Lian Li proving, again, that they're a little less sane than everyone else...

    I kinda like it, nice concept. There's too many boring PC cases!
    13
  • jimthenagual
    Doesn't quite do it for me. Good for them for trying something new, but it's not something I'd buy.
    8
  • monsta
    Yuck....
    -3
  • bemused_fred
    Ugh. How incredibly gauche.
    -3
  • jimthenagual
    It makes me want to play donkey kong on the screen.
    4
  • killerclick
    I like it. Then again, everything is better than a laptop.
    3
  • JohnMD1022
    Ugly with a capital UG !!
    -4
  • vertexx
    Does that thing dispense Bitcoins? It looks like it should be dispensing something....
    4
  • rolli59
    Definitely a matter of taste.
    4
  • edmoncu
    UGLY! I don't understand the 'uniqueness' of this being a thing of beauty. it's a total opposite! Being different is not just about being different!
    -2
  • clonazepam
    So a designer at Lian Li was sitting around feeling all nostalgic about his Macintosh (1984-1993), and was looking at all the interesting slideshows of said computers that had been turned into fish bowls, or just a hideout for cute cats. Then the idea for this came to him/her.

    It's not something I'd do for myself. I can see how plenty of people would appreciate the design. I know my 8 yr old daughter would absolutely love that fan. Get some software to turn your monitor into a strobe light, and you have a party in the making! lol

    Igor's awesome. Good job. Could a 140mm fan be rigged up to that CPU(APU) cooler?
    2
  • warezme
    Tell your grandpa, it's a new fangled microfiche, he'll get it.
    1
  • g-unit1111
    It looks like an airport or store kiosk.
    0
  • ta152h
    Whoever thought this was an attractive case should not be allowed to do any decorations in the house.

    It's ugly as Hell. Different is easy. Different and attractive is difficult. This is different, sure, because no one else wanted to build something so ugly.

    Their train is different and pretty. They normally miss, that's for sure, but every now and then they get it right. I have the train,and love it. This ugly thing? I'd sledgehammer it. It would look better that way.
    -1
  • g-unit1111
    Anonymous said:
    So a designer at Lian Li was sitting around feeling all nostalgic about his Macintosh (1984-1993), and was looking at all the interesting slideshows of said computers that had been turned into fish bowls, or just a hideout for cute cats. Then the idea for this came to him/her.

    It's not something I'd do for myself. I can see how plenty of people would appreciate the design. I know my 8 yr old daughter would absolutely love that fan. Get some software to turn your monitor into a strobe light, and you have a party in the making! lol

    Igor's awesome. Good job. Could a 140mm fan be rigged up to that CPU(APU) cooler?


    Actually I'm thinking more some designer at Lian Li travels a lot and was thinking "Hmm...... how can I get my PC to have the feel of that machine at the airport that prints out your boarding pass?" :lol:
    2
  • cobra5000
    Lots of negative posts but I think its pretty cool. A case like this, demands a stylish cooler and gpu, if you add one. I have been itching to do a small form factor..
    0
  • nekromobo
    Any suggestions whats the cooler of choice to replace that case-fan? Something like Noctua NF-A15 ? For that absolutly silent service.. :)
    -1
  • RedJaron
    I don't mind the look of this. The cooling solution doesn't make much sense to me, though. The exhaust fan is effectively under the board. That means the flow has to go past the edges, but not across. That seems really inefficient, and possibly eddy inducing right above the board. And I'd forget trying anything but a blower-fan GPU in that case ( though that should work quite well considering the fan intake is right up against the case vent. The passive cooled card's fins are right next to the vent too, but they're not inline with how the air wants to flow.

    It just seems clumsy from a thermal/airflow perspective.
    0
  • DanglingPointer
    Get the most powerful Kaveri and pair it with a 7850 next year! Or whatever the most powerful GCN card that can fit!

    Mantle enabled games that are multi-gcn-gpu aware will be able to take advantage of assymetric AFR (assymetric crossfire rendering)!!!! Then you'll be able to play BF4 on high quality on 1080p!

    But that's only if Mantle lives up to the hype! It is still all theory on slides from AMD and DICE.
    0