Lian-Li PC-C35 Black Desktop Case

Sagittaria - 2007-03-20 19:05:34 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: March 25, 2007
Lian-Li
Lian-Li
Price: $130

Introduction:

A lot of us like a small, sleek computer case to get us by but such a case can be extremely hard to find. This is where Lian-Li's PC-C35 small desktop computer case comes in. It weighs in with an all brushed aluminum design, two silent 40mm fans, and a 300watt power supply. It even sports a stealthing kit so you can cover up your optical drive's unsightly color! Nice! But be warned, this case is designed for the typical mainstream user. Due to its small size, it only supports the bare minimum of computer with no extra HDD, PCI slots, and optical drives. But its small size and sleek look is perfect for the computer where performance isn't everything!

Just about everyone has heard of the Taiwan based company Lian-Li, who has been producing computer cases since 1983. It is a huge case brand in the enthusiast world whose quality and looks are practically legendary! The company's favored look is a sleek all brushed aluminum design with no flashy bells and whistles, what many of us despise. Although their cases are somewhat expensive, many believe that they are definitely worth every penny!

Closer Look:
I was pretty excited upon the receipt of the unit and this is what I found at my doorstep.



As you can see, it came in a rather plain box. But this is Lian-Li we're talking about here, so there are no flashy graphics or lights, even on their boxes! On to the case itself!




I like the general look of the case. Small and sleek is what basically describes the beauty. The entire case is brushed aluminum with most of it painted black, while the front panel is outlined with bare silver aluminum. You might notice that the case is well ventilated with holes all over the case. Another big thing that I noticed was the lack of any external PCI and 3.5" bays! Ouch! Once again, its size takes a toll on functionality. Looks like you'll have to use a motherboard with just about everything onboard and integrated! As for the front panel, the power and reset buttons are on the far right. Your miscellaneous connectors are in the center, which includes two USB, one firewire, headphone and microphone jacks. And on the far right is the rectangular hole where your CD/DVD drive will go. A stealthing kit is included, which will be covered later in the review.

You might also notice that there are all kinds of fingerprints on the case. I left them on there on purpose as this has become a rather large nuisance on any dark colored brushed aluminum case. So you'll have to be careful not to touch the case too much. But in case you do, Windex will do the trick.
Closer Look Continued:
Now let's take a closer look at the case.




On top of the case, Lian-Li put several ventilation holes for your CPU fan and heatsink. Cool! On the sides are more ventilation holes, with one sporting two small case fans. Finally, on the back is the power supply. This is not your standard ATX power supply as this case utilizes a smaller form factor.




On the back side, there is your standard motherboard cover, nothing too special there. On the bottom you'll find even more ventilation holes for your HDD and Optical drive. Lastly, they used some pretty slick case feet with solid rubber coverings! Gives it a nice expensive look in my opinion!
Closer Look Continued:
Now before I show the innards, here is what I found in the accessories box.




Included are plenty of screws, and even a few spares! Just another small demonstration of Lian-Li's superb quality. They also included a large cable holder and a small zip ties. On the right of that is the stealthing kit that Lian-Li decided to use. It is basically a metal cover and some sticky tape. This scared me a bit due to its unknown strength, but we'll see how it fares in testing later. Lastly, they included your power cord, a short instruction sheet, and sheet on all of Lian-Li's other products. Next are the innards!




Pretty roomy if you ask me. The motherboard standoffs are already screwed in! The 300W power supply is on the upper left, the motherboard mounting is on the right, and the drive bays are on the bottom left. On the right are the dual 40MM fans, they are natively 3 pin connections but also include molex adapters. As for the front panel connections, nothing too special there.



On the left are the front panel jacks: USB, Firewire, and audio. On the right are your usual motherboard hook ups for your case switches and LEDs.

Closer Look Continued:

Now for the power supply.




Since you won't be using much on this case, the power supply doesn't have very many connectors. There is just enough for what will be used in this case. This includes a 20/24 pin motherboard connector, a 4 pin CPU connector, SATA, 2 Molex, and a floppy connector. But this should be sufficient for just about all setups I know of that could be used in this case.

The power supply is secured by 3 screws on the back of the case. After removing it, I found this.



The power supply was resting on a large plate which ensured it wasn't just hanging off of the case. But even better was the power supply I found. It's a Fortron! This manufacturer has earned the reputation as a good power supply maker on a budget. Very nice!

Closer Look Continued:

Now let's take a look at the drive bay, which will house the HDD and optical drive.




The HDD will be mounted on the bottom, with the optical drive on top. It is secured by a thumb screw - a nice touch -  and once it's removed, the entire assembly will slide right out. Here you can see where the rubber button on the outside of the case hits your optical drives eject button. It is made out of rubber and will work with just about all CD/DVD drives out there.



Once I easily pulled out the drive bays, I found a pretty cool feature! There are rubber standoffs which will prevent your HDD from rattling and making noise! Nice! But on the sides of the optical drive mounting holes, I found this. I could not figure out what this does, but it isn't interfering with anything, so I left it there.

That just about wraps up installation. I found the case extremely nice and I love the look! It is very solid and will not bend at all! Very sturdy. A very well built case! On to installation!

Installation:

The first thing I decided to do was install my drives.




Nothing too hard about that. Simply stick them in, screw, and slide in. But I ran into a problem.



The HDD was too close to the screw that held in the entire assembly! When I connected the IDE connector and tried to screw in the thumb screw, it would not fit! This isn't a biggie as the drive bay is already pretty secure when slid in, but this is something I'd never expect from Lian-Li. SATA users should not see this issue as the connectors are more to the side than the center. Now for stealthing that drive!



I had to pull out the entire assembly again to get the cover flat against the case. But it's not that hard. I simply slapped the sticker onto the cover, stuck that on the drive and it was good to go! Pretty strong tape, you shouldn't have a problem of it falling off. Another cool thing I found was how you could pull it off relatively easy if you needed to pull it off for use on another drive. Looks like Lian-Li did their research on this, not too tough but not too weak.

Installation Continued:

Next was the motherboard and practically the rest of the computer.



That wasn't too hard, simply screw in your motherboard and hook up everything you need and away you go. However, make sure your CPU heat sink is not taller than 75MM otherwise it'll bump up against the top of the case. Easy!

Specifications:

Devices 5.25" x 1 (CD-ROM only), 3.5" internal x 1
Fans 4cm ball bearing fan x 2
M/B Type Micro ATX ( Max size : 9.6" x 9.6" )
Top I/O USB2.0 x 2, IEEE1394 x 1, MIC x 1, EAR x 1
Dimensions 435 x 86 x 340mm (W,H,D)
PSU with P/S (Flex 300W)

Now let's get to testing!

Testing:

Testing Setup
I plugged her in and the first thing I notice are the power and HDD activity lights



Pretty nice colors in my opinion. The power light is blue and the hard drive activity light is red.



And the drive bay cover works superbly! I love it!

Noise
I turned off all the fans except the ones used in the case, which would be the two 40mms and the PSU fan. And I couldn't hear anything! Pretty silent even though they are 40mm.

Power
I didn't have any problems with the power supply. Its rails were pretty solid and had absolutely no problem running this setup! For some quick testing, here's the unit tested at idle and load using a multimeter.

  Idle Load
3.3v 3.32 3.31
5v 5.1 5.1
12v 12.2 12.11

This should be plenty of power for most setups since you aren't using much more than a few drives, a motherboard, and CPU.

Cooling
Due to the excellent design of the case, I actually had lower temperatures compared to a mid-tower with much larger fans.



Very Cool!

Conclusion:

This is a very nice case! It just looks good! It is small and sleek with a brushed aluminum look. The construction is very well done and is extremely sturdy. It simply just works! It is silent, includes a decent PSU, and is very easy to use! This is an excellent case for the person who cares about looks and size!

But be warned, this is a smaller case, so you will need a Micro-ATX motherboard with onboard video and audio. I was also slightly annoyed by the fact that I couldn't screw in the drive bay with an IDE hard drive. But all in all, an excellent case!

Pros

Cons