Lian Li’s TYR PC-X500 Enclosure

Manufacturer Lian Li
Model TYR PC-X500
Price (Street)
Availability Now

There’s a reason some brands make their way to the top. With arguably the best understanding of understated industrial design, Lian Li has built its name on solid aluminum enclosures machined to near-perfection—no matter the cost. Sure, this puts off the bargain hunters among us, but by holding its products to the highest quality standards, Lian Li has cultivated an image that ensures it will remain among the favorites for enthusiasts’ wish lists.

Recently, Lian Li hasn’t had quite the coverage it did years ago with blockbuster products like the PC-1000 or even the iconic PC-60. But the company has kept busy with some more novel designs, the latest of which has spawned a new series of cases known as the TYR line. Like any good high-end exotic, these TYR-series enclosures aim to push the boundaries for what can be expected from a PC case. The roughly $350 PC-X500 we’re reviewing today is the most interesting model in the TYR line, a “super mid-tower” that holds up to five hard drives and has two 5.25″ bays. Lian Li also offers an even taller, more accommodating, and significantly more expensive (try nearly $800) PC-X2000 that has room for six SATA hot-swap drives, but we figured that might be a little much.

The PC-X500—Tall and slender

The TYR series initially caught our attention for its side-mounted drives and monolithic front panel. I’ve seen a lot of cases over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as strong of a ‘how does that work?’ moment as when I first saw the X500. Weighing in at just under 10 kilograms, or about 23 pounds, the X500 variant measures 9″ wide, a shallow 14″ deep, and an intimidating 23″ tall.

Lian Li pulls a rabbit out of its hat and puts the external drives on the right side

There isn’t much to explain at the front of the X500. Outside air is drawn behind the front panel from both sides, and apart from Lian Li’s name at the bottom, only a single chrome strip running right up the center breaks up an expanse of anodized black aluminum.

…and the mirror-image left side. Note the slender form factor.

If you were expecting anything different on the left side, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead of putting drive bays up front, Lian Li gives you the option of mounting them facing left or right. This arrangement allows folks to run their case on either side for easy access, but if you prefer your tower tucked away in a nook where neither side is accessible—I know I did for a while—getting at the X500’s external drive bays will be problematic. We’ll see in a moment whether the X500’s novel approach to drive bay placement may be worth relocating your case.

Despite the height of the case, the ports and buttons are still on top

Stealthy is a good way to describe the overall look of the X500, and even the port cluster follows this mantra. A small metal dust cover flap conceals the four USB, single Firewire and eSATA, and dual audio jacks when they’re not in use. The power and reset buttons are finished in black, too. This arrangement creates a nice aesthetic, but I’m disappointed to see the USB ports in tightly-packed pairs—plug in an average USB thumb drive, and you’ll probably block the adjacent USB port.

It wouldn’t be a Lian Li review without a close-up showing off the finish

Lian Li must intend the X500 to be placed on the ground, considering the port and button placement and height of the case, and that makes some sense given the obvious goal of a uniform front panel. The panel isn’t completely absent of activity, though; power and HDD activity LEDs are tucked away in the upper-right corner. The former is of the absurdly bright blue variety while the latter is a more tolerable amber.

It goes without saying (and yet I’m going to say it anyway) that the aluminum’s finish is of the highest quality. Perhaps too many people complained about abrasions from the scalloped edges Lian Li has had on a number of its recent cases, because the edges of the X500 are decidedly smooth and rolled just enough to be comfortable to hold.

The front panel’s a snap to take off, revealing an easily-removed fan filter

Removing the front bezel is as easy as giving it a slight tug from either side. Taking it off is only necessary when securing one of the external drives or when you need to access the intake filters or fan speed switch.

Behind the filter is your fan speed switch

This little gem is probably my favorite part of the X500, simply because it’s been executed so well. Instead of having to mess with an auxiliary fan controller for the case fans, this single selection switch controls up to four fans at once, giving them enough voltage for 1,500, 1,200, or 1,020 revolutions per minute. It’s a shame the switch is so well hidden, because users might want to toggle between fan speed settings when firing up a game or starting a movie. I would prefer to see the switch located at the top of the case with the rest of the controls, but since the front panel is easy to remove, the switch is still usable.

More hints at layout shenanigans are visible from the back

Rotating its 5.25″ drive bays 90 degrees from normal necessitates a wider stance for the X500, but this layout makes it easier for Lian Li to fit a 120 mm exhaust fan by the motherboard port cluster. An additional 120 mm exhaust fan is centered near the top of the chassis, and you also get four water-cooling tube cut-outs at the rear.

A heat-smart interior

Like most of its siblings, the X500’s side panels are held in place by a latch anchored with a thumbscrew. This nice little arrangement ensures you won’t lose the screw.

Sound-dampening foam fills the portion of the panels under the drive cutouts

Although it theoretically impedes heat dissipation, Lian Li lines the X500’s case panels with acoustic absorption foam to help reduce system noise levels.

Separated thermal zones—done right

This image nicely illustrates Lian Li’s internal approach with the X500. All of the drive bays are located at the top of the case in a separate partition that also includes the power supply. Only the motherboard and expansion cards remain in the area below, with the twin 120 mm intake fans and single 120 mm exhaust creating a net positive pressure as long as the PSU fan moves less air than the lower case fan exhausts.

The drive area. I took the just the top hard drive cage out for this shot.

Pressure drives airflow to the upper reaches of the case, right past the hard drives, where it’s helped along by the negative pressure created by the single 120 mm exhaust fan in this top thermal zone. Overall, the arrangement makes a lot of sense. Most power supply units ramp up their fan speeds under load, directing more airflow through the lower portion of the case—the only zone containing components likely to require additional cooling.

The top zone looks pretty much the same from both sides

A single opening in the motherboard tray to allow cables to pass from the upper area of the case to the lower reaches of the motherboard. Up top, things look mostly the same, where the hard drive cages can be secured from either side.

You can plug additional fans into the speed control module if they have three-pin headers

Assembling a PC in the X500 is a little different from a normal build simply because cables must be carefully routed based on your drive facing preference. There are multiple routes available for standard cables like the motherboard’s main ATX connector, providing plenty of flexibility for those looking for a clean build. With the power supply in a central location, you can get by with shorter PSU cables, too.

Lian Li opts for thumbscrews and rubber washers to secure hard drives in their cages.

I started our system assembly with the hard drive cages, which were certainly easy enough to work with. Enough specialized thumbscrews are provided to install four internal 3.5″ drives (plus a fifth in the floppy bay if you want). The thumbscrews slide through thick, rubber grommets, ensuring a measure of vibration (and, by extension, acoustic) isolation for each hard drive. The extra-large venting holes that pepper the cages should also help keep drives cool.

Everything in but the optical drive and graphics card

Our test system’s motherboard was easy to mount, and once it was in place, we slipped in the PSU. Lian Li provides a simple, four-hole mounting bracket that attaches to the case and PSU separately, allowing you to orient it facing up or down. This flexibility ensures the PSU’s active intake draws air from the desired zone.

A modular power supply is a must-have for the X500, since there really isn’t any extra space to stuff unused cables unless you’re willing to part with the lower hard drive cage. It would also be very difficult to fit any power supply longer than 6.5 inches into the X500 without sacrificing the same cage. Prospective X500 buyers will have to choose their PSUs wisely.

Cable management options are good, but not great

When installing an optical drive, one only needs to secure four custom screws into the drive so that it can slide into place along grooves in the bay. To anchor drives at the right depth, a standard screw is inserted through slots in the front panel and into the drive.

Housing drives at the top of the case puts them about as far as possible from most motherboard storage ports. Lian Li includes an extra-long SATA cable with the case, and I needed it to reach the hard drive in our test system. There’s only one of these lengthy cables included, though, so you’ll need to procure extras if you want to run multiple drives. Getting a ribbon cable all the way up to the optical drive proved challenging, but not impossible. However, if you intend to run a second IDE optical drive as a slave, you’ll need a ribbon cable with both end connectors very close together. The need for longer cables made me wish the X500 came with more innovative routing features, such as those we saw with Thermaltake’s Spedo. Lian Li does include velcro straps, which still helped a lot.

Extra-long graphics cards create cabling difficulties in the PC-X500

The only serious problem with X500’s slender figure appeared when I was putting in our test system’s GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card. There was enough clearance for the auxiliary power connector that plugs into the back of the nine-inch-long card, but cabling was dangerously close to the bottom intake fan, which is thankfully equipped with a grill. If you’re running a graphics card longer than 10 inches, especially one with power leads connected to the right edge of the card as in the picture above, you may be forced to remove the lower 120 mm intake fan.

Acoustics and cooling performance

Our test system is built around an AMD 790FX-powered Asus M3A32 MVP Deluxe motherboard with a Phenom X4 9350e processor running at 2GHz. Rather than using AMD’s stock processor cooler, we’ve opted for a popular tower heatsink from Kingwin—the Revolution RVT 9225 HDT, which has a 92 mm fan rated for 28 dBa @ 2,800 RPM. XFX’s GeForce 8800 GTS 512 graphics takes care of pixel-pushing, and we’ve thrown a couple of 1GB sticks of Corsair CM2X1024 DDR2 memory alongside a single hard drive and a DVD burner.

In working with the Asus board’s BIOS, I found that its ‘Optimal’ processor fan speed setting worked well with the Kingwin cooler. With the X500, we also have the luxury of selecting different voltages for all four case fans. We’ve tested the case with its low, medium, and high fan speed settings to see how they compare.

To give the X500 some competition, we’ve included results from our reviews of Gigabyte’s 3D Mars and Thermaltake’s Spedo enclosures. For the Spedo, which has multiple fan and cooling zone configurations, we included results with the case’s top two thermal dividers removed and its side fan disconnected—the quietest configuration for this case, and our favorite.

Even at its medium fan speed setting, the X500 gives the very quiet 3D Mars a run for its money. Once set to low, the X500 is just barely audible, easily the quietest of the lot. Heck, even with its fans running at full blast, the Lian Li isn’t loud enough to be bothersome for most people. In fact, it’s neck and neck with the Spedo, whose noise levels are hardly unacceptable.

Low noise levels aren’t particularly meaningful if system components are running too hot, so we let the test system idle for a while and probed temperatures with a combination of SpeedFan, GPU-Z, AMD’s Overdrive Utility, and the motherboard’s own PC Probe software.

The Lian Li’s component temperatures look good at idle—I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with results like this from a nearly silent system. Even with an extra fan on the Spedo dedicated to keeping the back of the CPU area cool, the X500’s motherboard temperature is two degrees cooler at its lowest fan speed setting. The Thermaltake’s extra airflow does yield slightly lower CPU temperatures, though.

Next, we start to turn up the heat with a graphics stress test fueled by the rthdribl HDR lighting demo.

This looks like another victory for the X500, whose graphics card temperatures are lower than those of the Spedo and 3D Mars, even with the lowest fan speed setting. Again, while the Spedo manages lower CPU temperatures, the Lian Li still keeps the processor at acceptable levels.

Last, but not least, we fired up a combined CPU and GPU load, adding a multi-core Prime95 stress test to our rthdribl graphics card workout.

I’d call this a clean sweep for anyone who appreciates a quiet machine. Sure, the 11-degree gap in processor core temperatures between the X500 and Spedo is wide, but it shrinks to just six degrees if you turn up the Lian Li’s fan speed to match the Thermaltake’s noise levels. 42° Celsius is still a healthy temperature for a modern quad-core processor operating at full utilization. Meanwhile, the X500 boasts lower graphics card and motherboard temperatures than the Spedo and 3D Mars even when its fans are running at the lowest speed.

Conclusions

The X500 oozes quality craftsmanship and offers both low noise levels and exceptional cooling performance. Were it not for the side-mounted drive bays, Lian Li would have a case that everyone could at least lust after. However, due to its unique drive bay configuration, the X500 will probably only appeal to people who like their cases on the ground with unencumbered access to the side panel. You’ll want some room between you and the case, too, since it’s easy to bump the optical drive eject button with the brush of your leg.

The not-quite-all-in-one PC

In the spirit of trying something new, I put the X500 behind my 20″ Dell monitor, just to see if that might work out. In spite of how sweet this setup looks in person, it isn’t terribly convenient to have to reach up to get to the port cluster, optical drive, and power button. So much for that idea.

If you’re a fan of putting your computer on the floor and dig the X500’s all-aluminum monolithic styling, I can’t think of many nicer cases to house a system. There are plenty of cheaper ones, though, because the X500 carries a hefty $350 price tag. At least you get what you pay for, not only in terms of fit, finish, and overall performance, but also that unmistakable Lian Li mystique. Bargain hunters should obviously look elsewhere. However, for those who crave quirky exotics, the X500 is a solid and striking enclosure.

Comments closed
    • rika13
    • 10 years ago

    this isnt a floor case, its a small table by your desk case

    put it on a table by your desk just high enough for the drives to eject on top of your desk, the top panel is nice and easy to reach and you can easily get to your drives

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    I totally missed this thing until it was linked from the Thermaltake enclosure news item.

    I can see it being useful in my own personal setup, where the computer is on a 5′ table and the best place for it would be almost directly behind the monitor. Turn the optical bays 90 degrees and they still face front on my table.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 11 years ago

    Well I guess you get what you pay for. Looks solid and inventive, costs too much.

    • ish718
    • 11 years ago

    Superb case…. $355? Kiss my a#$?

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    Somebody here loves to play “internet tough guy” a little much too. They love to draw out a stupid mistake on a flashing screen and pretend that is like the end of world. They ridicule their target like no tomorrow and stroke the little virtual ego that they have. It is even more hilarious when they completely missed an insult that was intended for them and move it onto their target. They seemed to believe that they have power over their victims, when some of their victim could not care less. They obviously have way too much time on their hands. They could of course be making up stuff for hilarity’s sake. The persistence of the person in question makes that possibility unlikely.

    The sad reality is the entire act is most likely a coping mechanism with real-world stress and issues. I would suggest to use more healthy activities to deal with them.

    I am done here.

    I wish everyone here a good morning and happy hunting. 🙂

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      Correction: “couldn’t” care less.
      “Could care less” means that you care as of now.

    • mattthemuppet
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t really understand the point of the cooling “partitions” in this case – in the set up tested here (and described as a feature in the text) is that you can have the PSU facing down, exhausting air out of the lower chamber. How is this different from a standard ATX case? Other than adding extra impedence (and therefore speed and noise) to the PSU fan?

    The whole point of separate thermal partitions (a la P180) is to ensure that the heat from the main system components (CPU+GPU) don’t cause the PSU to intake hot air and ramp it’s fan speed up (keeping HDDs cool is another lesser point). All this case seems to do is add extra complexity for no benefit. I know it was pointed out that the PSU can be installed with the fan pointing up, but due to the poor sealing between chambers and the +ve pressure in the lower chamber, that really won’t make any difference.

    Thermal partitions have been done so well already, you would have though Lian Li would have got it right.

    Other than that, interesting idea with the side mounted drives, but not for me. The plastic ODD bezel really looks crappy in contrast with the lovely surface finish of the case too.

    • A_Pickle
    • 11 years ago

    Seriously, this is the dumbest case ever — precisely because of the sideways-flung optical drive trays. It is otherwise very well built, but whomever decided that that would be an “innovative!” and “new-age!” idea should be taken behind Lian-Li’s headquarters and shot. Or maybe they should kill themselves on a sword, I dunno how they do things over there.

    That idea is f***ing retarded.

    • Trymor
    • 11 years ago

    Quote:
    “…the twin 120 mm intake fans and single 120 mm exhaust creating a net positive pressure as long as the PSU fan moves less air than the lower case fan exhausts.

    Pressure drives airflow to the upper reaches of the case, right past the hard drives, where it’s helped along by the negative pressure created by the single 120 mm exhaust fan in this top thermal zone. Overall, the arrangement makes a lot of sense. Most power supply units ramp up their fan speeds under load, directing more airflow through the lower portion of the case—the only zone containing components likely to require additional cooling.”

    Some PSU’s still have 80mm fans blowing out the back of the case, with the intake vents on the front, instead of a 120mm fan at the bottom. That being said, if you take the power supply out of the equation, you still have 2 – 120mm in front blowing air in, and 2 – 120mm fans on the back blowing air out. This adds up to a static pressure case, overall. Add any PSU, and you actually have a NET negative pressure case, because the top and bottom ‘zones’ are not fully separated, as air will still move from the bottom to top along the side panels and elsewhere. The effectiveness of the different cooling zones will vary depending on the PSU you choose, or the orientation of a 120mm fan style PSU.

      • Tamale
      • 11 years ago

      You’re exactly right.. I’m sorry if I wans’t being clear enough, but the positive pressure I speak of refers to the lower portion alone.. this is what should drive air up into the top area, right past the drives.. as long as the PSU isn’t moving more air than one of the front 120mm intake fans.

        • Trymor
        • 11 years ago

        I was replying to the author of the article, Joshua Buss. Is that you? If so, my post was kind of a detailed equivalent to part of post #18 by Krogoth who stated this :

        “The cooling partition is a very expensive gimmick. A decently designed chassis never has any problems with cooling unless you are sloppy with the cabling.”

        And no, you won’t create positive pressure in the lower portion of the case either, as air will travel out the back card slot vents and the other vent above (or next to, depending on your point of view) them. Some air can also travel up the side panels to the top, as the panels (as far as I can tell from the photos) do not touch the center(ish) partition. So, technically yes, there could be a SLIGHTLY higher presure in the lower portion of the case (with certain power supplys) but you would be hard pressed to measure any /[

          • Tamale
          • 11 years ago

          Yes, I’m the author Joshua.. and I agree, the difference in pressure will be pretty small. The side panels do get very close to the edges of the partition, (but not sealed off completely), so there should be a little movement from the bottom to the top (again, provided the PSU fan isn’t moving much air, which in my experience is normally the case).

          I think it would be nice if there was just a little more space to route wires near the lower hard drive cage.. as it is you almost have to go by the side panels as I did.

            • Trymor
            • 11 years ago

            My wife likes to tell me that I think too much, or go to far into ‘why things are’ in a conversation…heheh. And sometimes I like to route wires neatly, and sometimes it doesn’t matter, depending on if it’s a build for someone else, a build I will never touch again, or one of the perpetually changing PC’s in my computer room.

            Anyway, thanks for the review, and btw, I can definiely see a few different areas in my room that would benefit from the side mounted drive design, that currently standard PC cases are located. Hurray for choices!

    • continuum
    • 11 years ago

    Not long enough to easily fit long graphics cards, though? Ouch… that sucks. Otherwise with the lower fan setup it’d be perfect, just like my old Chenbro Genie…

      • Tamale
      • 11 years ago

      Well, to be fair it does fit most 8800 series nvidia cards and 4000 series ati cards.. just not the uber-monsters like that new 4850 x2

    • SpotTheCat
    • 11 years ago

    I like the top mounted ports. Nothing drives me crazy than having to get on my knees to get at some of the ports on cases.

    I don’t care for the sideways drive thing, though.

    • JoeKiller
    • 11 years ago

    I got a Lian Li PS-60 this month. While building systems for over ten years, I must say it is easily the best case I have ever worked with.

    Lian Li is worth the money. The cases quality shines through and proves that they are a premium product.

    • Voldenuit
    • 11 years ago

    Yum. Very Yum.
    I actually have my PC setup the same way as the last picture, except that my 24″ monitor dwarfs the uATX Silverstone TJ-08 instead of the other way around. Side optical drive access would have been nice for me.

    The X500 is a sweet case, nice to see that it performs both thermally and acoustically. FWIW, Lian-li has a few other cases (both smaller and larger) with the same side mounting drive bay(s).

      • AxMi-24
      • 11 years ago

      I have PC-V350 with side mounted thingies and it has one problem: You can’t put in screws from both sides. While this is ok for mounting drives and CD/DVD/BR/whatever it’s not as good for mounting fan controllers (basically stuff that doesn’t have that much structural integrity).

      It works but not perfectly. Other than that. Very nice case.

      Problem with this one to me is that I have my case (PC-V1000 Plus II) on the desk by the screen and access to the top mounted ports would be PITA. On the other hand the new updated PC-V1010 sounds like the next buy for me 🙂

    • iatacs19
    • 11 years ago

    It would have better and easier for cable management if they had turned the motherboard 180 degrees like the LIAN LI PC-A05B.

    Not a bad effort, but they need to take a look at how Dell does cable management on their Optiplex and Precision workstations.

    I commend Lian Li for their effort and ingenuity.

      • duck apple
      • 11 years ago

      /[

    • ecalmosthuman
    • 11 years ago

    A-gaagaaah gaaah. Want.

      • khands
      • 11 years ago

      +1, would be great on the side of my current living room-setup for a game/HTPC.

    • eitje
    • 11 years ago

    i noticed your noise level chart has -[

      • Tamale
      • 11 years ago

      Whoops.. not sure why that one graph alone is the other way around. There’s no hidden meaning here.. heh.

    • Thresher
    • 11 years ago

    I really like this case, but the side mounted externals are a killer for me. I hope they use some of the same designs, especially the thermal design, for some of their other cases. The thermal design is much better than it has been on their previous units.

    • AdoptAPet
    • 11 years ago

    Certainly, I imagine anyone who has actually used a Lian-Li PC-60 series case can appreciate the unique craftsmanship and design of this classic model, which is sometimes available from Newegg or Directron for less than $100.00. I’ve never found any other model case, whether Lian-Li or a different brand, with which it was easier to build. Personally, I don’t feel that Lian-Li has ever surpassed or improved on that classic design. I wish their decision-makers would produce a SSF case mini-version of the PC-61.

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    What a rip. It is tall as a full-tower monster and cost as much as a quality high-end full-tower model to boot. It does not have the depth nor 3.5″, 5.25″ capacity.

    The cooling partition is a very expensive gimmick. A decently designed chassis never has any problems with cooling unless you are sloppy with the cabling.

    • LiamC
    • 11 years ago

    …”Monolith”… Like from 2001:Space Odyssey.

    Maybe they should have called it Dave… Or HAL…

    • Pax-UX
    • 11 years ago

    Wonderful case, but good god what’s the story with the price! No one at Lian Li must have gotten the memo… we’re in a recession!

    • larchy
    • 11 years ago

    ooooo shiny! What are the noise levels like compared to a P182?

      • Tamale
      • 11 years ago

      I don’t have any hard data on it, but I’ve worked with the P18x series extensively too and I’d say that the X500 could definitely be just as quiet, depending on your individual build characteristics, like CPU Fan and GPU aftermarket cooler selection.

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    All these fancy cases leave me craving a dull beige case that draws blood from my hands every time I crack it open.

    • Ethyriel
    • 11 years ago

    misposted

    No, of course it’s not worth reading, it’s a mispost!

    • Imperor
    • 11 years ago

    Really good-looking case! The total opposite of that horrible blue thingy from a while ago and a lot more up my alley! But sadly the price is quite out of my range as usual with Lian-Li…

    • Starfalcon
    • 11 years ago

    Well, I have a PC-70 full tower that I have used for 5 different rigs and it is still going strong 10 years later. It has outlasted everything else I have ever bought for a computer, and was worth every dollar of the $350 I paid for it. I look at it the same way as buying a good monitor as it is something you will use for multiple computers, might as well get a nice one.

      • Ethyriel
      • 11 years ago

      Agreed. I had a PC-60 from the second shipment in from Japan, and just recently moved on to a PC-A16 and PC-A20. They’re both fantastic, the attention to detail and quality are amazing.

      I don’t understand where the “Lian Li normally sticks to the fundamentals” comes from, as they have lines ranging from very typical but well built, to some really out there designs. Mine are both right in the middle, with the A20 especially having some rather interesting twists.

      Wow… I just realized, I bought the PC-60 along with a Celery 300a from Outside Loop (albeit, a late model when I think the 433 was available). I had that thing for a looong time, and it blew away my Addtronics full tower.

        • Bauxite
        • 11 years ago

        I have a PC76 or something like that, I don’t even remember exactly.

        I bought it to go with my dual Athlon MP system if that dates it for anyone, its a monster that takes extra large boards and lots of drives.

        Why do people still accept steel cases for a serious computer anymore?

          • Tamale
          • 11 years ago

          Because it is stronger and cheaper than aluminum I suppose.

            • Ethyriel
            • 11 years ago

            Yeah, outside of Lian-Li and Silverstone, there aren’t a whole lot of good aluminum cases. They exist, sure, but there are a whole lot of cheap trashy ones, including some from Silverstone. And yeah, there are a lot of cheap trashy steel cases, but you can get some really inexpensive, decent steel cases from the likes of Antec and Inwin. Good luck finding a decent aluminum case under $50 – $65.

            Another thing steel has going for it, is it dampens vibrations from hard drives and fans much better. It can be really expensive to silence an aluminum case, not the least of which is the cost of a top tier aluminum case that is a capable starting point.

        • Tamale
        • 11 years ago

        I would argue that they’re known for their more modest cases that are simply decorated, but functionally designed.. that’s all I was implying. Indeed, they have a few “out-there” cases, but I’d wager they’re not really known for that.

          • Ethyriel
          • 11 years ago

          You’re probably right, I’m never good at judging the opinions of the masses.

        • CheetoPet
        • 11 years ago

        Just retired my PC-60 after 7 years and 4 builds. May still use it again.

    • shaq_mobile
    • 11 years ago

    coolermaster is the poorman’s lian li. now if only lian li made car body parts, i could get a fly hood for my el camino.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 11 years ago

      I would not really say that. I have owned one of the first CM all aluminum cases (ATCS 200) before Lian Li even sold alu cases. It lasted me well over 6 years and I just gifted it to a friend for his build. Super sturdy and very high quality. I think I paid $400 for it back in the day and that was without a PS.

      I am sure some of their stuff is made poorly, but most of it is very good and at a good price point. Lian Li makes great stuff as well, just a bit over priced though. That 360 case comes to mind.

      • sydbot
      • 11 years ago

      Or CoolerMaster is the bad-Lian-Li-experience-man’s replacement for his Lian Li. I was glowing the day I received my PC-60, but the hard drive cage was a huge pain to mount drives in, and to mount in the case (not to mention Lian Li only sent cheap screws, no acoustic shielded thumbscrews), I over-torqued the mobo mounts with very little effort (have not removed that mobo from the case yet; I’d prefer not to find out if I can or not), one of the mobo mounts shorted out my SATA chip, and the lack of quick drive mounts quickly drove me to drink trying to rectify problems with cable length and mounting locations. Put my new build in a CoolerMaster Centurion, half the price, very light for sheet steel (I thought it was Al until I picked up the side panel with one hand, the Lian Li panel in the other), quieter, and much plain easier to add drives.

      Josh (author), next time you do a case test can your throw a Radeon 4800 in there? They run a lot hotter, so I would imagine differences in cooling capabilities would be easier to spot and differentiate.

        • Tamale
        • 11 years ago

        The 8800 GTS 512 we used gets nice and toasty too, but it does exhaust the air out the back.

        I’ll consider throwing a card in that keeps the air inside the case as a comparison though.. thanks for the idea.

        • shaq_mobile
        • 11 years ago

        yeah, i was mainly being stupid. too bad that you had a lame experience with lian li. i dig em, but i don tnecessarily think that coolermaster is worse than lian li. i bought a nice lian li and i pretty much liked everythign about the case… i dont think ill ever spend more than $0 on a case if i can help it. im all about the sleeper rigs. when you show up at a lan party with a crappy case and a barely acceptable computer and destroy the competition… so satisfying. too bad ive never destroyed the competition.

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    Thats some expensive aluminum….cus thats all you really get. Some might prefer paying half of that for a Coolermaster Cosmos S.

      • Kulith
      • 11 years ago

      or a quarter of that for a coolermaster 690.

      *cough*

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