Lian Li’s PC-M25 microATX case can hold seven drives

Aluminum crafting experts Lian Li seem to have a small case for every taste. The company's PC-M25 enclosure looks geared towards mini-server or NAS builds.

The PC-M25 can accept either microATX or Mini-ITX motherboards. Its main claim to fame, however, is its five-bay, 3.5" hot-swap drive rack. Mounting drives on this rack requires no tools, and the assembly mechanism secures the drives with rubber mounts, potentially cutting down on noise and vibration. Should five drives still not be enough, storage addicts can install another two 3.5" spinners on a secondary drive cage, or three 2.5" devices.

The PC-M25's interior can also accept graphics cards as long as 16.1" (or 41 cm), and standard ATX PSUs up to 9.1" long (23 cm). For cooling, the PC-M25 comes with a 140-mm fan at the front, and exhausts air through a 120-mm fan mounted on the case's roof. CPU cooler height is limited to 3.15" (80 mm), still respectable considering how much you can cram into this small package.

The whole enclosure measures 7.8" by 12.7" by 17.4", giving it a total volume of 28.3 liters. Since the case is built out of aluminum, it weighs only 8.2 lbs (or 3.7 kg). Lian Li has not announced official US pricing, but it says the PC-M25 will sell for 160€ in Europe, which is a little over $170 at the current exchange rate. The case is available in either silver or "black" (dark grey) finishes.

Comments closed
    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    I’m pretty sure he meant having the PSU directly over the CPU socket (and thus limiting the CPU cooler height and airflow).

    • Krogoth
    • 7 years ago

    It is part of the ATX spec (Look it up).

    Placing the PSU on the bottom of the tower is actually a fairly recent development. It is not done for thermal reasons either. It is done entirely for cable management.

    • bhtooefr
    • 7 years ago

    I really do like the M1’s form factor (typing this on an M1 build I finished a couple days ago), but for a disk box, it’s not so hot – maximum three HDDs.

    As far as the PSU over the CPU, it’d be nice if PSUs supported either fan reversal electrically, or supported flipping the fan yourself without voiding the warranty. Consider the scenario of old-school ATX 1.x systems, where the PSU fan actually blew onto the CPU, and was intended to be the sole system fan. With a higher efficiency ATX power supply, if you set everything up right, and ran a 35 or 65 watt CPU, that might actually work well – just put a passive cooler on the CPU, for the PSU to blow into.

    • bhtooefr
    • 7 years ago

    It’s certainly not an optimal configuration nowadays, but with the PSU fan flipped internally to blow onto the CPU cooler (to the way that ATX 1.x PSUs sometimes were), or the PSU itself flipped so that it’s intaking from the side of the case (not a possible configuration in this case), it’s a [i<]valid[/i<] configuration at least. However, nobody's going to open the PSU up to flip the fan, so if you're going to do this orientation, you better include a PSU with a flipped fan, and this case doesn't... so, fail.

    • tuxroller
    • 7 years ago

    Right on the money.

    • tuxroller
    • 7 years ago

    It doesn’t NEED to be, but that’s my living option.
    It’s also not a lot of noise unless all the disks are spinning, and as long as you use something like snapraid, you can do that and not lose redundancy.
    The use is general storage, backup, and media server (with transcoding duties).

    • Wall Street
    • 7 years ago

    For some people, they don’t want their PC case to stand out when a guest looks around the room.

    • demani
    • 7 years ago

    In some places. But here in NYC we have small apartments and unpowered closets (lots of housing is 100years old). So for me this kind of box would sit somewhere and be unobtrusive.
    But the Fractal Node 304 is the one I’m looking at, for $100 less I can give up one drive slot.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    take your LEDs and spinning light strobe fans elsewhere!

    Lian Li cases are just minimalistic. They dont have obnoxious logos and can fit in an entertainment center along side high-end audio components and not look out of place.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    Yea..I think i responded to the wrong person. some guy was talking about utilitarianism and appliances, then i saw this guy. i think i replied to both in one post.

    sup?

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    I combined your post and another post and replied to both on your thread. You’re correct! I don’t care how ugly my server case is. If it’s in the closet, who cares??

    • Antias
    • 7 years ago

    Thankyou – that’s actually a damn good looking case. The slim optical drive allows me to go the blueray ripping route easier than an external one… 🙂

    • mkk
    • 7 years ago

    Nobody should build a case with the power supply oriented on top of the CPU.
    Nobody.

    • deniro444
    • 7 years ago

    Only 7 drives? Call me when they can do 8.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]It looks like a box and nothing more.[/quote<] It emphasizes the materials and craftsmanship, and it is very Zen. Function first is also part of the point. My only gripes are the Lian Li sticker instead of something like laser engraving, and the chromed plastic power button looks cheap. I would accept the chromed feet being a nit as well, but they aren't as obvious. It was the use of aluminum that prompted this design language, not the G5. At the time most cases were textured steel and plastic, and Lian Li stood out by using aluminum and show casing the aluminum in modern minimalist designs. Lian Li also did it in a very high end way. Their cases were precise an well thought out while most cases of the time were functional and a little sloppy. A nice case at the time came with rolled edges instead of the razor edges that would slice up your hands. 🙂 It was really amazing at the time. Since then, other companies have copied them and it's not as special, but they still get credit for being the first. I wonder if System76 will update their systems with this new case.

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 7 years ago

    Is it supposed to look like a projectile, maybe a weapon? Should it look like its in motion on your desk?

    If only I built computers anymore, I’d certainly go for Lian Li.

    • Anovoca
    • 7 years ago

    Fractal Node 804. [url<]http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/node-series/node-804[/url<]

    • Anovoca
    • 7 years ago

    7 mechanical drives spinning around inside an aluminum case. That [i<]literally[/i<] sounds awful.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t like Lian-li’s cases where they mount the PSU in the zone that a CPU cooler should be used in. It forces the use of either an AIO water cooler, or a low-profile heatsink which limits your CPU cooling for any given amount of noise.

    I just wish Lian-Li, as the manufacturing partner for the Ncase M1 would take some design cues from the M1 and produce something at least in that format, if not an outright copy.

    The M1 is great, but it’s regionally unavailable and even where it is available it’s not the sort of thing that’s ever in stock, you need to WAIT, WAIT, WAIT for one.

    • TwoEars
    • 7 years ago

    Srsly Bro?

    • jihadjoe
    • 7 years ago

    I disagree with Bruno and this is definitely not a server case. It’s a small, clean desktop or HTPC case that’s meant to be seen, not shoved away in a closet.

    • jihadjoe
    • 7 years ago

    Eh I like it still. It’s clean, understated, and well designed.

    • setbit
    • 7 years ago

    Reading arguments about PC cases in the Tech Report comment threads is some of the best free entertainment anywhere.

    • baobrain
    • 7 years ago

    Might want to read what I specified: “server”

    Home Servers are shoved into closets, not put outside on display

    • slowriot
    • 7 years ago

    Those bays are usually removed because they’re not needed and they hurt airflow. Builders usually put their storage in the 5.25″ bays, with hot-swap bays or simple cheap simple adapters. That’s how I’d build in a TJ. Though personally the only storage in my desktop/workstation is SSD these days. All mechanical storage is in a closet server, where it belongs.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 7 years ago

    The goddamn tj08-e is a work of art. wish it would’ve been more popular. Too hard to work with, unfortunately.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]And watercooled? How? Check out the front, how are you going to pull enough air for a radiator there? And the top 120mm is pushed against the motherboard, sandwiched between the PSU and case.[/quote<] I'd be interested to know if you could fit an AIO water cooler if you went with a SFX PSU installed on an ATX backplate.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    Yeah, the HDD layout on this looks great – there’s a [url=https://picasaweb.google.com/106531253135633425031/PCM25?authkey=Gv1sRgCNDttfHF166JLw&feat=embedwebsite#6220605871146341570<]hot-plug backplane for the drives[/url<], so hopefully this means routing all the drive power/data cables can be done with a neat bundle instead of tangle cords everywhere. Also, you only need [s<]two[/s<] three power lines to power 5 drives, which helps with cable clutter. Cable routing isn't as good as on a corsair, but this case is much smaller than any uATX corsair, and the aforementioned backplane should help a lot.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    Cooling doesn’t look compromised to me.

    There’s a giant-ass 140mm intake fan on the front and a [url=https://picasaweb.google.com/106531253135633425031/PCM25?authkey=Gv1sRgCNDttfHF166JLw&feat=embedwebsite#6220605586164715186<]large filtered passive air intake at the bottom[/url<]. My PS09 has much less cooling and I have no problems running 5 HDDs and a 4670K + GTX 970 (overclocked) in it.

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    The TJ case is a amazing except for the fact that the drive cage is useless. They put it a few cm to close to the motherboard so it’s a PITA to plug the drives in. Almost every TJ08 build you see online had simply pulled out the cage. I like this design a lot better than my TJ since I’ll actually be able to load it with drives and don’t have the wasted space of the two 5.25 bays.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Ask Goldilocks, why dontcha?

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Am I the only one who thinks Lian Li’s overly simplistic design language is getting a little old? I reckon this simple design paradigm started getting attention during the time of Apple’s G5, when it was refreshing to see a case design that eschewed loud, aggressive, Unreal-esque styling in favor of minimalistic, ‘silent’, understated design that held serious computational power underneath. But today, this concept seems getting old. It looks like a box and nothing more. I don’t like loud-looking cases but overly simplistic designs aren’t my cup of tea either.

    • mnemonick
    • 7 years ago

    I’m gonna guess a gaming, HTPC & media storage all-in-one. I know some people who have a few dozen terabytes of TV shows and movies squirreled away. That’s a lotta drives even if you’re using 4 – 6 TB models.
    Sure, most media freaks have a server stashed in a closet, but some folks live in apartments where there’s no good place to hide the box. You might as well make it look nice next to the TV stand.

    • slowriot
    • 7 years ago

    The majority of their mITX and mATX offerings focus around storage capacity. This case in particular does so to such a degree that its compromised on cooling. I don’t think they’re particularly good NAS/server boxes either. But this would make for an even worse gaming rig with the very poor cooling configuration. I guess you could call it a workstation but I don’t think it does that well either.

    Honestly it’s just another very expensive Lian Li cube. They’ve got several like it already.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 7 years ago

    You know the answer. 😉

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Lian Li keeps making cases that seem geared towards mini-server or NAS duties.[/quote<] They don't. People just keep writing that.

    • mnemonick
    • 7 years ago

    For m[u<]ATX[/u<] (and considering the drive capacity) they've done pretty well in my opinion.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]The company's PC-M25 enclosure looks geared towards mini-server or NAS builds.[/quote<] You have to take off the side to get to the drives. ??? I don't get it. Example 1: Chenbro SR30169 [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811123173[/url<] Example 2: Supermicro 5028D [url<]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Supermicro-SuperServer-5028D-TN4T-Mini-tower-Server-1-x-Intel-Xeon-D-1540-Octa-core-8-Core-2-GHz-1/46879032?sourceid=csent02679db539ee1f481ab0850eeb2a707b6a&wmlspartner=nextagcom2&affcmpid=4286971904&tmode=0000&veh=cse&nextagid=-9078509161609133474[/url<] Example 3: U-nas 800 [url<]http://www.u-nas.com/xcart/product.php?productid=17617[/url<]

    • Antias
    • 7 years ago

    This interests me as i’m looking at my next build and i tend to do two primary things… Gaming and Media Storing (for streaming in my home theater-gaming cave)
    I currently have 5×3.5″ drives and 2xSSD’s with an NVidia GTX980Ti on the Philips BDM40″ 4K monitor, all in an Antec P900 case.
    I’ve wanted to downsize the case as much as possible while still retaining the ability to use it as a media server (thus the multiple drives issue even though 2 drives are 8Tb ones)
    Might be worth looking into this one!

    • slowriot
    • 7 years ago

    Care to share more details about your scenario? Because my response to your question is why in the world do you need an enclosure with upwards of 10 mechanical drives to be out in the open. That’s a lot of disk chatter noise to be subjecting on the office/work environment.

    • tuxroller
    • 7 years ago

    What’re the options if you want a very small appliance that can hold 7-10 drives, and didn’t cost $1500?
    There are rays enclosures you can get but they don’t house a motherboard and instead require a sff8064, or similar, to attach to the pc managing the drives.

    Edit: wanted to add that the case needs to be as small as possible since it’s going to be out in the open, not hidden in a closet.

    • Waco
    • 7 years ago

    I certainly wouldn’t spend *any* money on a nice looking case. Servers are utilitarian…if it can hold a bunch of hard drives, keep them cool, and makes them easy to access, it wins.

    This is why I bought a Rosewill RSV-L4500. For about double, you can get hot-swap bays for the 12 front bays in the RSV-L4412.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    I spent $180 on my lian li htpc case. Sup?

    • baobrain
    • 7 years ago

    Lian li always makes solid cases. Solid, but ridiculously expensive. This is an example where it seems to be geared towards NAS and server usage, but who in their right mind would spend $170 on a server case?

    • MarkG509
    • 7 years ago

    Too big would be a Define Mini. Then again, my Define Mini (re-fanned with Noctua’s) build has an mATX i7, nVidia low-end GPU, and four 4TB WD Blacks, and is [b<]so quiet[/b<] I cannot even tell when it's on (maybe I should'a connected the power/disk LEDs). Edit: 2 things: Connected a back-lit keyboard, when that's lit, it's on. And, it was $59 delivered (thanks to a Shell Shocker).

    • slowriot
    • 7 years ago

    This case would not work well with an multi-GPU setup. Frankly I don’t even think a single card would be fully maxed in here i.e. it would not boost as high.

    And watercooled? How? Check out the front, how are you going to pull enough air for a radiator there? And the top 120mm is pushed against the motherboard, sandwiched between the PSU and case.

    • continuum
    • 7 years ago

    Okay, I admit I’m the 0.0001% of the market who might be tempted. But damn, only five drives and only a 3.15″ max CPU cooler height?

    So I’m not really the 0.0001% of the market who would be tempted… :-p

    • thedosbox
    • 7 years ago

    Yeah, I don’t get it either. The noise of a fully loaded case can’t be pleasant given aluminium’s lower mass and tendency to rattle.

    • DancinJack
    • 7 years ago

    The former.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    Ah. Thanks for the explanation.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]The PC-M25 can accept either microATX or Mini-ITX motherboards.[/quote<] Is the qualification that only cases that accept SFX PSUs are Mini-ITX cases or that cases that accept an ATX PSU or motherboards sizes in addition to Mini-ITX?

    • Thrashdog
    • 7 years ago

    For mITX? Too large. If you’re building an mITX system, you’re probably focused on size first, and there’s no reason to handicap yourself with a case designed for mATX .

    For mATX, though… this is intriguing. I’m thinking about going up to mATX for multi-GPU support in my next build, and Lian Li has my interest piqued. Positioning the PSU over the motherboard, though, does hamstring the case far as air-cooling options go. A serious build will probably have to be watercooled.

    • slowriot
    • 7 years ago

    Lian Li keeps making cases that seem geared towards mini-server or NAS duties. But who in the world is spending $170 for a brushed aluminum case for their appliance?

    • slowriot
    • 7 years ago

    I guess? If you have no intention of filling up the drive space then it’s actually quite bad in terms of cooling for it’s size.

    The front for instance isn’t good at all for an AIO even. Nor is likely the top since it’s positioned so close to the PSU AND is right next to the motherboard. It’s also not going to handle any dual GPUs given the lack of cooling.

    So… I’d much, much rather have a TJ08-E or KL06 from Silverstone than this… unless I needed tons of 3.5″ drives.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    It’s an mATX case (and doesn’t require a compact SFX PSU), so the ITX Dorks aren’t qualified to answer.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    Here, in contrast to some of the other “compact” cases we’ve seen recently, is a ~28 litre case that actually makes good use of that volume.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    OK, ITX dorks, this this case too big, too small, or just right???

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!