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

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.

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • jhansonxi
    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.
    Reply
  • lancelot123
    Black and red case with a black and blue motherboard..... the horror!
    Reply
  • axehead15
    I like the idea of the front mounted PSU. It makes a smaller case seem a lot bigger.
    Reply
  • edogawa
    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.
    Reply
  • Hazle
    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.
    Reply
  • Nighyal
    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.
    Reply
  • lancelot123
    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.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    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.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    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.
    Reply
  • vaughn2k
    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? ;)
    Reply