As far as fully-aluminum Mini-ITX cases go, there aren't many options. Sure, there are a lot more now than about a year ago, but they still haven't become available in very many shapes and sizes, so it's nice to see a new contender once in a while. This time around we have the Lian-Li PC-Q19, and it looks like a very solid option.
The case will house a Mini-ITX motherboard, along with dual-slot graphics cards measuring up to 22 cm long (perfect for those Mini-ITX oriented graphics cards) using a PCI-Express riser card. You'll also be able to fit CPU coolers up to 85 mm tall, along with up to three 2.5" drives and a single 3.5" drive.
To power that hardware, you're limited to using an SFX format PSU; however, these days there are plenty of quality SFX PSUs out there. Cooling is provided by a single 120 mm case fan, although installing a liquid CPU cooler will be difficult. Fortunately, a dust filter is provided.
Front I/O is covered by two USB 3.0 ports, along with a power button. No headphone or microphone jacks are present. Also included with the case is a vertical stand, which we expect most buyers to use. As a typical Lian-Li case, the side panels can be removed without the need for tools using the clip-system.
So, while you won't be able to house the most powerful graphics cards in the PC-Q19, the case certainly offers enough room for powerful mid-range Mini-ITX systems. Considering that the case is only 160 mm wide, this shouldn't be too surprising. Being able to house a little less power in exchange for a sleek and slim form factor will certainly be an acceptable compromise for many buyers.
Pricing is set at $149, with availability slated for the end of August.
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Seriously, why don't more ITX cases use riser cards? I've seen so many fine looking itx enclosures that are limited to having low profile cards in them when they could easily fit a full sized GPU with a riser, brace, a piece of aluminum, and like 4 pop rivets. All that would add, what, around $10 to the total cost of the case? Anyway, good to see Lian Li still know what they're doing (though the market is still in desperate need of more train enclosures).
And what is it with SFF case designs still fixating on 3.5" hard drives? Yes I know laptop drives are more expensive, but these are supposed to be SMALL cases.
Riser's add latency to the GPU because the wire traces are much much longer. There is a performance impact, however no tech sites have really been interested in testing it thus far.
That's a very fair point, but I'm wondering if having the ability to put a full size GPU vs. the current low profile offerings would offset any added latency (I'm speaking directly towards the "slim" itx cases and not cube cases like the 250D, Prodigy, Carbide air 240, etc.). Could be a fun project, I might just have to give it a go.
So if you keep the case vertical, then hot air would mostly flow up. Doesn't seem to help the GPU any, and it seems to funnel most of the hot air up to the PSU. Adding heat isn't a good thing for a PSU.
If you set the case down horizontally, not only is taking more space than you probably wanted (unless you have it as a HTPC in your entertainment stand w/nothing above it), but you also can't put things on it due to the cooling vents. The GPU would then be upside down, which would seem to make it have to work just a bit more because all of the heat expelled would still be underneath it.
So unless this system has some unknown fans somewhere to help push the heat out, this case is a no-go for me.