Lian Li PC-7N mid-tower goes back to aluminum basics

Breadbox-sized PCs are all the rage these days, but sometimes you need a case that can hold a big honkin' graphics card and more than a couple hard drives. Lian Li, purveyor of all things aluminum, has updated its ATX mid-tower lineup with the PC-7N model.

The PC-7N has a standard ATX layout for the most part, with the power supply sitting at the bottom. Four toolless hard drive trays can be set up in a variety of configurations behind the front intake fans. The case's two 5.25" bays are toolless, too, and the drive trays come with rubber washers to help dampen drives' vibration.

With this movable tray setup, the PC-7N can take in graphics cards as long as 14.6" (or 37 cm) without any trays in the way, or 9.8" (25 cm) if the spots directly in front are taken. Extra-long power supplies (up to 10.6", or 27 cm) are good to go, too.

In the cooling department, the PC-7N offers two 120-mm intake fans at the front and a 120-mm spinner at the back. If you prefer your cooling power in the liquid variety, the front fans can be replaced by a radiator up to 280mm in length. CPU coolers as tall as 170mm are good to go, too. For cable management purposes, the PC-7N has 14mm of space behind the motherboard tray, and 27mm behind the drive rack.

The PC-7N will be available in late February in silver and black for $99.

Comments closed
    • Paine
    • 4 years ago

    I will never buy Lian Li again. But I wonder if I can recoup my $350 at the aluminum recycle place? 😉

    • CheetoPet
    • 4 years ago

    Lian-Li cases are so completely hit or miss. I think it’s awesome they are not afraid to try stuff (train PC anyone?) but usually I’m just left trying to figure out what what the hell they were smoking. I think in this situation someone forgot it wasn’t 2001.

    • Goty
    • 4 years ago

    *insert cable-routing Bane meme here*

    • bittermann
    • 4 years ago

    That looks like a $30-$40 case with very little cable routing abilities. I also wonder if they’ve ever heard of these newer 2 1/2″ hard drives called SSD’s, which doesn’t look like it by the pic. They may want to re-think that price.

    • toastie
    • 4 years ago

    Can someone give me the reason why they only support four 3.5 or 2.5 drives? Seems like you could fit 8 drives, as long as you don’t have an overly long video card.

      • slowriot
      • 4 years ago

      Because they only include 4 of the drive trays with the case.

      • Voldenuit
      • 4 years ago

      Phanteks uses a similar mounting system, and they sell extra trays to ppl who want more drives.

      I’m guessing Lian Li will similarly sell extra drive trays to users at some point.

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      There is a market for people who still use optical drives and 5 1/4″ bays for peripherals interfaces (Fan controllers, USB 3.0/flash memory ports etc.)

    • colinstu12
    • 4 years ago

    Is Lian-Li allergic to having wires routed behind the motherboard?
    Are they permanently stuck in 2005 case design or something?

      • DPete27
      • 4 years ago

      I’m guessing the latter.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      Those weird metal-on-metal drive trays indicate they’re just stuck in the past.

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        I can’t imagine what those would sound like with a standard HDD in them…and beyond that, can you imagine how nasty cable routing would be?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 4 years ago

          Yeah, all of those things. It’s just…what are they thinking?

          • Beltonius
          • 4 years ago

          It looks like there’s rubber grommets for mounting into the side of the drive, suspending it in air.

          It looks like those rectangular cutouts are meant to route HDD cables behind the tray.

          However, that doesn’t seem to solve any of the Mobo-power cable routing issues.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 4 years ago

            OK it looks like you can route the four- or eight-pin ATX aux power connector around the back to the top of the mobo, and you can possibly route the 24-pin connector behind the tray, but there’s no complementary hole for it to come back to the motherboard side of the tray.

            So that second out is probably actually for SATA data and power cables to power the attached drives (since there are holes behind every drive slot), but only on motherboards that have the side-facing SATA ports in the exact right spot. So that might work on some builds.

            No matter what, you’d have the big 24-pin cable flopping around in the main compartment, though.

      • bfar
      • 4 years ago

      Cable routing looks like a problem alright. A cutout in the 24 pin power connector area is sorely missing here. And the drive bay setup is unimaginative to say the least.

      Looks like a bog standard ancient workstation atx design with a few minor tweaks. Surprised not to see more from what was once the premium case producer. Being aluminium isn’t enough in this day of age.

      • Klyith
      • 4 years ago

      If you don’t have a side panel window who even cares? It looks like the sata drives can get cables run behind the panel, which is the biggest source of spaghetti these days. An ATX power cable isn’t gonna kill your airflow.

      OTOH they’re also stuck in 2005 with respect to noise damping as well. I had a LianLi way back when, the second generation one. It was great at the time but that was before we figured out that computers didn’t have to be noisy all the time. No way do I want thin brushed metal these days.

      • Mad_Dane
      • 4 years ago

      You must be blind if you can’t see the cable holes in the mobo tray.

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      There are gaps on the motherboard tray where you would route cabling for main 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS cabling. There is a larger gap for the 4-pin Molex and SATA power connectors. The PCIe power connectors go directly to the video cards since they are close to the PSU.

      It isn’t perfect, but it is manageable with most PSUs out there (especially modular units).

        • Froz
        • 4 years ago

        I don’t understand all those comments. The gaps for cable routing are perfectly visible on the last picture, moreover article mentions this:

        “For cable management purposes, the PC-7N has 14mm of space behind the motherboard tray, and 27mm behind the drive rack.”

        That should be quite enough for routing (especially the part behind drives).

        I’m not quite sure what’s missing.

          • slowriot
          • 4 years ago

          People see where cables go in… but where do they come out? There’s an opening at the top for an 8-pin. There’s no openings for a 24-pin. And the route required for SATA cables could either be merely inconvenient or really, really bad depending on where and how your motherboard orients the SATA ports. There are also no cable tie down points on back of the motherboard tray. Which will again just make routing stuff annoying. There are also no holes for things like USB pass-thru, audio, or otherwise cables. At least not ideal points unless you’re really, really wanting to stuff everything in those bottom holes with no grommets…

          The main issue here is that its a $99 case that’s less featured than most $40 cases these days. It’s just a lousy design that at best is serviceable. It doesn’t compare well to most modern layouts.

          The all aluminum construction is a down side for me personally for a variety of reason, but even if you want it for aesthetic purposes I would imagine those 5.25″ bay design and the front holes would be a bigger issue.

            • Voldenuit
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<]People see where cables go in... but where do they come out? There's an opening at the top for an 8-pin. There's no openings for a 24-pin[/quote<] Over the drive bays. EDIT: Whoops, never mind. Looks like I was wrong, there is no hole over the drive bays after all. I suppose you could sacrifice a drive bay access hole to route a 24-pin cable through, though.

        • Chrispy_
        • 4 years ago

        The only thing I can see that doesn’t have a dedicated cutout is the 24-pin, but there are at least two obvious reasons why you wouldn’t need one in this design:

        1) The CPU cutout goes a long way to the right. Only boards that require the third column of standoffs couldn’t use this for 24-pin routing.

        2) The drive cages are right next to the edge of the motherboard tray. If your board does go right to the cages, use the closest hole in the cage, it’ll hold the 24-pin in place more effectively and its position is more sensible than most cases because it reduces the radius of the bend in what is usually a thick and inflexible cable.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      Are you blind?

      There’s a cutout for the 8-pin 12V in the top left for behind-the-board routing
      There are two cutouts near the bottom of the board for SATA/USB/Front panel/Audio
      There are cutouts on the other side of the 5.25″ bay
      There are cutouts big enough for USB3, 24-pin ATX, drive SATA and power behind every cage (if the CPU cutout isn’t ideal)
      There is 14mm behind the board. How fat are your cables if that’s not ample?
      There is 27mm behind the drive bays where the fattest ATX cables will be routed, even though they fit in 14mm

      If you’re going to have a dig at Lian-Li, you could maybe point out that there aren’t any tie-down anchors for cable management, but all you need is a pair of eyes to see that you’re complaining about entirely the wrong thing. The only reasonable argument you could make is that there’s no dedicated 24-pin ATX hole, but making one would mandate making the case over an inch longer for no real reason, especially when there are other holes to do the job.

    • slowriot
    • 4 years ago

    I guess if you really like brushed aluminum…..

    My main complaint about the design is the lack of cable routing built in. There doesn’t appear to be much of any behind the motherboard space. Plus no cut outs to route say your 24-ping or 8-pin behind the motherboard. As well, depending on how your motherboard places your SATA connections those could get very annoying as well.

    It’s a very basic case. Not functionally impressive at all for $99. So yeah… you’d really have to want that brushed aluminum look (and not mind hideous 5.25″ drive pays or that front punch pattern.)

    • Voldenuit
    • 4 years ago

    Nice. I would like a mATX version of this.

    Wonder how vibration prone the trays are.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      They should be solid. The vertical bar is to clamp the other end in place and the rubber grommets will help.

      I would also like a smaller version of this with fewer or no 5.25″ bays. My only concern is that the top panel is unvented; I like to see 2-in, 2-out fan configurations just because mutli-GPU or even just single GPU can overwhelm single exhausts in some configurations.

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