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Stealthy HTPC: Two Cases To Hide Your Inner-Geek

Lian-Li PC-V351

Also available in dazzling red and basic silver, the all-aluminum PC-V351 uses 2.0mm-thick face and side panels plus 1.2mm-thick formed components to provide the quality and durability for which Lian-Li is famous.

By putting its drive bays on the side and designing the case to be nearly cube-shaped, Lian-Li was able to make its PC-V351 appear to be something other than a PC. This author is reminded of mini-subwoofers so often tied to modern home-theater audio systems.

Reduced length and width compared to traditional home-theater cases is made possible by a two-level design, with the power supply and the drives mounted above the motherboard and its expansion cards. While limited to micro-ATX motherboards, there’s otherwise enough space for large components.

External drives can be mounted for right-side or left-side access. Though the PC-V351 appears to support up to four external drives, its 11" width prevents these from being installed back-to-back. A 3.5” to 5.25” drive bay adapter is pre-installed.

A slide-out motherboard tray is required because the case has limited motherboard access from the top.

Two 3.5” internal drives can be slipped in from the rear after removing an 80mm exhaust fan. Labeled as part number LI128025BE-4, the fan is rated at 0.1A, 1,200 RPM, 15 CFM, and 13 dBA.

Two slide-in 120mm intake fans feed air into the CPU and graphics card coolers. Listed as part number LI1221225SE-4, each is rated at 0.8A, 1,000 RPM, 44 CFM, and 19.8 dBA.

  • siliconchampion
    Definitely a good article reviewing these cases. I particularly like the retro radio, but nothing tops the badass factor of my Xbox pc media pc.

    (C2D E7400, 4GB DDR2-800, 7200RPM 2.5 inch 320GB Hitachi, Wireless N, Earthwatts 380 watt psu, low profile 9800GT, all with a wireless adapter for 360 controllers inside it. Looks totally stock (except from the back) and is the sickest thing for streaming movies and TV from my i7 build upstairs.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I really like that nMedia HTCP, it makes me want to make one like the Thermaltake Mozart Cube did.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    I love that wood thing! Add a tv tuner and a logitech keyboard/remote thing and it's perfect!
    Suppose you'd just have to ask them which dvd drives are compatible when shopping for the internals!
    Reply
  • amnotanoobie
    The nMedia is nice, but it'd be good if you already had the wooden tv rack so it'd blend in. The Lian Li's side opening ODD tray might be a deal-breaker for some, but it is still sleek.
    Reply
  • r0x0r
    Old, unused amplifier + dremel = WIN!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    neiroatopelccI love that wood thing! Add a tv tuner and a logitech keyboard/remote thing and it's perfect! Suppose you'd just have to ask them which dvd drives are compatible when shopping for the internals!
    The button spacing is a fairly universal problem, since the case's button only has a little over 1/8" travel and the space is around 1/8" to the button of most drives. You can put something else between the two to fill the space, it doesn't have to be a cabinet door bumper.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    CrashmanThe button spacing is a fairly universal problem, since the case's button only has a little over 1/8" travel and the space is around 1/8" to the button of most drives. You can put something else between the two to fill the space, it doesn't have to be a cabinet door bumper.Yeah, but well. I've got my htpc running in a cylinder of what translate.google.com calls corrugated sheet metal. Looks like a metal bass tube on feet, and I don't expect to replace it. But I still love that wood chassis. The lian li doesn't look very attractive. Think the old aerocool m40 I gave my parents looks a lot better, and I don't consider lian li quality anyway. The lian li that hosts the 920 already has a broken lid that used to cover the top usb, and the power button appears to 'just be hanging there' instead of being fixed properly. Can't beat silverstone in anything really. It's merely expensive like thermaltake, but without distinguishing qualities.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    r0x0rOld, unused amplifier + dremel = WIN!
    Don't forget the 5x7 car stereo speakers.
    Reply
  • r0x0r
    CrashmanDon't forget the 5x7 car stereo speakers.
    Are you thinking of home theatre amps or car stereo amps?

    I'm thinking of a home theatre amp.
    Reply
  • Forgive my ignorance but aren't those components overkill for an HTPC? What else would you be using it for beside playing movies?
    Reply