Hands-On With Five Mini-ITX Cases

Lian Li PC-Q08

The Lian Li PC-Q08 is the largest case in this roundup, and it consequently offers the most space for the installation of our Mini-ITX motherboard and other components. Despite its comparatively gigantic dimensions of 22.7 x 27.2 x 34.5 cm (W x H x D), the PC-Q08 weighs just around 2.7 kg, since it is made of aluminum.

The external design of the case is simple and functional. The only things that draw any attention are the large ventilation slots on each side of the chassis. The controls and connections are neatly arranged on the front panel. The necessary ventilation is performed by a 120 mm fan at the top, and a large 140 mm blue LED fan mounted at the front of the case.

Seven Storage Slots Available

The Lian Li PC-Q08 comes without a power supply, unlike the other test candidates. It does, however, allow for the installation of a regular ATX PSU. This is conveniently done by removing the mounting frame and attaching the PSU to it. Otherwise, even the Lian Li case would have trouble fitting an ATX PSU.

The PC-Q08 turns out to be really roomy. While the other Mini-ITX cases only offer one or two storage bays, the Lian Li case offers seven. It has room for a 5.25” optical drive, as well as six 3.5” hard drives. Installing a graphics card (maximum length 30 cm) forces you to give up two of the 3.5” bays.

Ready for USB 3.0

The Lian Li PC-Q08 offers support for USB 3.0 and comes with two ports placed at the front panel. Lian Li uses conventional USB 3.0 extension cables to provide USB 3.0 support, as there do not yet exist standardized pin connectors for this type of internal USB 3.0 wiring. If the Mini-ITX motherboard does not support USB 3.0, the two USB ports can still be used to connect other peripherals via the included USB 2.0 pin connector adapter.

Conclusion: The All-Arounder

The Lian Li PC-Q08 combines the compact dimensions of a Mini-ITX case with the comfort of a full-blown PC, and with its seven drive bays and USB 3.0 support, it offers great flexibility and connectivity. The case is best for users who need a machine that is as compact as possible, but who will also accept some compromises when it comes to the configuration options.

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Lian Li PC-Q08
TypeMini-ITX Case
Form factorMini-ITX
Dimensions (W x H x D)227 x 272 x 345 mm
ColorSilver colored
Connections2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out
PSUNo PSU included
Support for expansion cardsYes, maximum length 19 cm
Drives6 x 3.5" hard drives, 1 x 5.25" optical drive
Ventilation1 x 140 mm (front), 1 x 120 mm (top)
Weight2.73 kg
PriceAround $110
  • rohitbaran
    Q08 supports expansion cards of length upto 300mm. It is mentioned on the Lian Li website and prople have built systems with cards like Radeon 5870 in it.
  • doomtomb
    Lian Li PC-Q08 is my pick everytime but why did you guys not look at the SG07?
  • jeraldjunkmail
    I (custom) build an element Q with an H50 water cooler. I had to (custom) move the PSU to the front of the machine under the 5.25" drive bay. This involved drilling out the rivets and reriveting them in order to hammer the pieces into shape. It also can fit a large video card in there (but this is not a gaming rig). There is a 6 2.5" hard drive software raid array in it and it is running Debian 6.0... Smallest water cooled rig in the world? Maybee.... Sorry if double post... Not sure...
  • gti88
    Please, do something with picture gallery.
  • Matask
    Perhaps its worth mentioning that you can get the SG05 with silverstone 450watt SFF psu instead allowing a bit more power. My current setup consists of the same Motherboard as used in this test Zotacs gtx460 AMP edition, an 0verclocked I7 860 at 3,5ghz with the H50 cooler and 4 gigabytes of 1333mhz 8-8-8-21 memory. Runs like a dream. And temps are actually quite good as the gfx card blows the heat directly out the side, and the push-pull airflow works very satifactory. Only thing to beware of is cable clutter as it can really mess up the airflow in these small cases.
  • Sharro
    I've been buying Shuttles for the last 10 years and I feel sad for not seeing any model included in this review.

    They are reliable little boxes :-)

    All the best,

  • gti88
    MataskI7 860 at 3,5ghz with the H50 cooler i5 2500@3.5GHz can be really cool with Big Shuriken@800rpm.
  • I love the Chenbro ES34169. You can find it for under $100 and quality is great. The only thing I would change is the stock fans, which are too loud on full speed.

  • Matask
    gti88i5 2500@3.5GHz can be really cool with Big Shuriken@800rpm.
    Yeah prob would have gone another direction than the H50 should i buy something now since performance pr dollar isnt that high. However the new SB cpu's do overclock better than my 860..so its really no suprise you get good temps at 3,5 ghz with your I5..you prob would with stock cooler as well..at least from what i have read around the interwebs..
  • dogman-x
    The Silverstone SG05 only accepts a slim optical drive, which really limits you for BluRay burners.

    I ended up buying the Shuttle SH55-J2. This is a Mini-ITX case plus an ITX motherboard for an Intel LGA1156 processor. The case accepts a double-slot graphics card and a standard optical drive. And unlike past Shuttle products, you can upgrade the system with any standard ITX motherboard. It's also very quiet, which is a big plus for home theater.