CES 2012 CoverageBosco - January 19, 2012
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Lian Li has always had some of the sleekest and smoothest looking cases on the market. The quality of appearance and structural build is what has really made their name. The first look at the booth made ones eye go back to what was the strangest looking case Lian Li has done. The crazy looking shell of a case that wasn’t horribly popular is back as the PC-U6 Cowry with a facelift. It has increased airflow with the both sides being completely mesh. It even has easy-to-remove side fans that give quick access to your hardware while still providing cooling. The same shell shape stands, and for those of you who liked it the first time, it’s back and better.
The strong focus for Lian Li’s release this year was the smaller, sleek home theater chassis.The PC-Q12 and PC-Q09FN being the smallest of the bunch, it's hard to believe there’s actually room for a computer on the inside. With the PSU mounted it really seems like there isn’t room, but getting an ITX in there is absolutely no problem. The design makes people wonder what’s inside that little black box but keeps people from noticing you’ve actually got a whole computer in your living room. The PC_Q09FN was actually another unique case from Lian Li. It actually has four of what appear to be wheels (and as they even say) that make it look like a little car. They don’t serve any functional purpose but they look neat nonetheless.
A new style of side panel attachment Lian Li has come up with cannot wait to be explained any longer. Especially with these smaller cases it’s always a pain to deal with large, ugly thumb screws, and no one wants to get a screw driver every time they need to open it up to clean it out (this is how old computers get abused). A new sort of method is now being used. There’s no screws, no need for tools, and it leaves a nice finish on the outside. The almost ball-socket sort of design is really neat.
Moving up in case size, the new PC-90 case supports M-ATX and even the odd HPTX-sized boards. Coming in silver or black and supporting ten slots, this case is a true beauty. It has room for six hard drives to be mounted vertically, leaving even more room for airflow throughout.
Another feature that is well worth a mention is the clips for the PCI-E slots. Rather than the plastic clips that easily break, these 100% tool-less clips are all made out of metal, which means that they won’t be breaking. Some sound dampening material is on a few of the cases on the front panels and side panels to keep it quiet. There’s just a lot of great cases on the floor.
The Hammer Series had some of the most interesting new cases yet. A favorite had to be the PC-100; in a quick description it is literally a backwards case. The PCI-E slots are actually in the front of the case which at first seems like a bad idea since all your cables would be hanging there in the front, but that’s actually not how it works. Lian Li actually did a fine job planning this chasis out. There is a full-routing system for the cables that routes them along the side of the case and out the back. This might put a slight damper on the actual length of some items, such as keyboards or mice, but it really is a neat feature — it’s going to be a good one to get our hands on and test out. The front does have a door for quick access to the I/O panel and makes it that much easier to gain access to those often wasted ports. On the inside, the hard drives mount vertically so there is plenty of room for great airflow.