Introducing Lian Li’s PC-O11 WX
Lian Li's PC-011 WX is available exclusively in this glass-paneled, black (W, X) version. Removing a space from the product name gives us the model designator PC-O11WX. We'll refer to it simply as PC-011 throughout.
Like many of its competitors, Lian Li has found that ridding a case of drive bays in front of the motherboard makes room for longer cards, various liquid cooling components, and even larger motherboards. Unlike those competitors, Lian Li calls its case EATX. This creates a small problem for us, since EATX is a designation for 13”-deep by 12”-tall motherboards that require the mechanical support of three extra standoffs, compared to the 9.6”-deep ATX form-factor. Like the cases of its competitors, the PC-O11 doesn’t have these extra standoffs. Like the cases of its competitors, it supports 10.6”-deep EATX-labeled enthusiast motherboards, but only because those boards are closer to ATX than to EATX size. To be fair, we’ll call the cases “oversized ATX,” at least until someone comes up with a new form factor for 10.6”-deep boards. Of course you could just leave the front of your full-EATX server motherboard flapping around the inside of your case, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
With that little discussion out of the way, the PC-O11 is actually large enough to support XL-ATX motherboards, owing to its inclusion of eight slots and the extra inches of empty space it provides above and below such boards. The eighth slot also gives ATX motherboard owners the needed space to put a double-slot graphics card in the motherboard’s bottom slot. Although eight-slot cases have been around a long time, the fact that most manufacturers have recently forgotten about this minor detail allows us to call this a design win.
The PC-O11’s dual-chamber design hides the power supply and drives behind the motherboard tray while leaving the motherboard area visually exposed to show off your cooling devices and graphics cards. Wires are also hidden behind the motherboard tray, and several of these lead to a pair of front-panel USB 3.0 ports, a pair of audio jacks, a power button, and a power LED. Behind that black-anodized aluminum front panel, a mix of aluminum caps and rubber grommets cover cable access holes.
The snap-off right side panel is made of the same black anodized brushed aluminum sheet as the top panel and front section. Featuring a side vent for the power supply’s air intake, magnetic strips glued to both the inside of the panel and an internal nylon filter ease cleaning.
Lian Li says that its rear panel supports two 80mm fans, but we instead find four mounts. Perhaps the reason the company doesn’t list all four is that only two of them are in the motherboard chamber, or perhaps it’s because the motherboard chamber’s rear fan grills are also drilled to hold a 2.5” drive. A mounted drive would cover both grills on that side of the case.
Snapping off the top and right side panels, we find a recessed 3x 120mm radiator mount and two 3.5” drive cages. A foam-covered stand protruding from the bottom panel helps support the weight of heavy power supplies.
Each of the two hard drive bays can hold two 3.5” drives and a single 2.5” drive. The larger drives are mounted upon vibration-damping grommets via included shoulder screws, while the smaller drives mount directly to the bay’s lower tray. Both bays are secured with a single thumb screw and three hook tabs.
A fourth 2.5” drive can be mounted directly to the bottom of the power supply chamber.
Under the aluminum and glass shell, the PC-O11 chassis is made of thin sheet steel. This allows top-panel and bottom-panel dust filter sheets to be attached directly with magnetic strips glued to the filters. Both the top and bottom have space for 3x 120mm radiators, though the top fan mounts are wide open and the bottom mounts are slotted. The bottom fans draw air through mesh-filled slots on the sides of the base.
Just as the front of its power supply chamber floor can hold a 2.5” drive, the front of the PC-O11’s motherboard chamber floor is factory equipped with a single water pump mount.
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A damn sight better-looking than all the RGB monstrosities flooding the market lately.
1) saves the most space,
2) decreases overall system noise,
3) decreases system ambient heat dramatically!!!,
4) affords an unprecedented amount of component and connector access,
5) looks completely impressive and awesome,
6) saves at least $100 on every build,
7) related to #3, increases the efficiency of all coolers,
8) saves >2 hours of build-time, (you literally just set the stuff in place and turn it on)
9) potentially saves many hours when/if troubleshooting is needed
So that's it for me. I'm never using another case again... ever. :D