Skip to main content

Tiny Case, Plenty Of Space: Lian Li Launches PC-Q21 Mini ITX Case

Lian Li introduced a new Mini-ITX chassis called the PC-Q21 that's designed to take up the smallest physical space, while still allowing for a full-powered desktop build inside. The case includes mounts for multiple hard drives, and space for thick graphics cards.

The PC-Q21 measures a mere 149 mm wide, sits 257 mm tall, and has a total depth of 224 mm. Despite the limited size, the company made every effort to use the space in the most efficient ways possible. 

Given its small stature, the case will support only Mini-ITX motherboards, but the company has positioned it in such a way that there is space at the bottom for graphics cards that have coolers that exceed two expansion slots. If an extra thick card is installed, it will limit the options for the bottom of the case. The PC-Q21 will accept cards as long as 170 mm, allowing for only shorter cards to be installed. CPU coolers are much more limited, as there is only 60 mm of clearance between the motherboard and the power supply. The case will only accept SFX power supplies, with a maximum length of 170 mm.

With a single- or dual-slot graphics card installed, users will have the option of installing two SSDs or laptop hard drives, a single 3.5-inch drive, or a single 120 mm intake fan on the bottom of the case. Additional hard drive mounts are found on the inside of the front panel. A single 3.5-inch drive, or single 2.5-inch drive can be installed here. At the top of the case, there is a cage to mount an optional slim optical drive. Lian Li said this cage can also be used to hold a 2.5-inch drive if the optical drive is not used.

The PC-Q21 features quick pop-off doors. Lian Li said the doors will remain secure, but they easily come off when needed, without the use of tools. The left side panel includes ventilation holes for air intake. The bottom of the case includes rubberized feet to keep it in place and a filter to keep the dust out. On the front, you'll find the slot for the slim optical drive, two USB 3.0 ports and a power button.

Lian Li's PC-Q21 is made of brushed aluminum and is available in two colors, silver and black. The company said it will be available in early September (so any day now) for $74.99.

Update, 9/9/15, 9:15am PT: The article originally stated that the case can support almost any card. This was meant to say almost any variety of graphics card, but for clarity has been amended to say that only cards shorter than 6.7 inches will fit.

Follow Kevin Carbotte @pumcypuhoy. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • salgado18
    Too bad it doesn't have audio jacks, otherwise it's almost perfect.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    Looks a bit like a mini-fridge.
    Reply
  • norseman4
    "The case includes mounts for multiple hard drives, and space for large graphics cards."
    "cards as long as 170 mm, allowing almost any card to be installed."

    The R9 Nano was ooh's and ahh's at for being 6", there are some other small graphics cards that would fit, but usually by going over the 2 slot width.

    170mm is 6.69 inches, the mITX form factor is 6.7x6.7 inches. So no, Almost any card will not fit in this case. Please correct this article, unless it's talking points directly from Lian Li, in which case please indicate so.

    Reply
  • RedJaron
    Thinking the same thing. 170mm is NOT a large graphics card.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    "The case includes mounts for multiple hard drives, and space for large graphics cards."
    "cards as long as 170 mm, allowing almost any card to be installed."

    The R9 Nano was ooh's and ahh's at for being 6", there are some other small graphics cards that would fit, but usually by going over the 2 slot width.

    170mm is 6.69 inches, the mITX form factor is 6.7x6.7 inches. So no, Almost any card will not fit in this case. Please correct this article, unless it's talking points directly from Lian Li, in which case please indicate so.
    Thinking the same thing. 170mm is NOT a large graphics card.

    Definitely did the math wrong.
    You're correct. That is not very long. I will amend the article.
    Reply
  • atheus
    I'm a bit confused how this thing cycles air. In the video he says the air is drawn in either through the vents on the side panel or through the filtered vents in the bottom, but the only place you can actually mount a case fan is on the bottom — leaving you with just the single SSD mount on the front.

    I have no problem with only a single SSD mount, but this configuration would mean your one case fan is sucking in air through the bottom and blowing it straight into your GPU with a mere few millimeters of clearance. From there, the air heated by your GPU can cycle around to the other components, or just exhaust out the vents in the side. The only "exhaust" fan would be the PSU fan which is presumably sucking hot air from directly over the CPU (though it's drawing air LEFT where the CPU would be pushing air RIGHT inside the case, so it would be fighting the CPU fan for air, creating a low pressure area in the small space between them.

    I can't see how this would adequately cool anything but an extremely low draw system.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    I'm a bit confused how this thing cycles air. In the video he says the air is drawn in either through the vents on the side panel or through the filtered vents in the bottom, but the only place you can actually mount a case fan is on the bottom — leaving you with just the single SSD mount on the front.

    I have no problem with only a single SSD mount, but this configuration would mean your one case fan is sucking in air through the bottom and blowing it straight into your GPU with a mere few millimeters of clearance. From there, the air heated by your GPU can cycle around to the other components, or just exhaust out the vents in the side. The only "exhaust" fan would be the PSU fan which is presumably sucking hot air from directly over the CPU (though it's drawing air LEFT where the CPU would be pushing air RIGHT inside the case, so it would be fighting the CPU fan for air, creating a low pressure area in the small space between them.

    I can't see how this would adequately cool anything but an extremely low draw system.


    The PSU is left to do most of the ventilation.
    Definitely would affect efficiency
    Reply
  • norseman4
    "The case includes mounts for multiple hard drives, and space for large graphics cards."
    "cards as long as 170 mm, allowing almost any card to be installed."
    Thinking the same thing. 170mm is NOT a large graphics card.

    Definitely did the math wrong.
    You're correct. That is not very long. I will amend the article.

    Last sentence of the first paragraph needs changing as well.
    Reply
  • Mac266
    So why didn't they swap the PSU and GPU positions?
    Reply
  • DXRick
    So, what is the most powerful video card you can put in this case??
    Reply