Lian Li PC-A58 Casehardnrg - September 6, 2007
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Lian Li almost needs no introduction, familiar to the computer enthusiasts and lovers of high quality engineering. The company is best known for its aluminum cases and has been around since 1983, producing desktop and server cases, along with case accessories, such as removable hard-drive caddies. More recently, Lian Li has even extended its product range to include aluminum desks!
Well, back to the cases, of which the minimal styling often sparks debate over whether the aesthetic qualities are simplistic perfection or a lack of imagination. Whatever your opinion, it is very hard to dispute the quality of machining and construction of Lian Li's cases.
The casual user may not be familiar with the name, maybe due to the fact that the majority of people go for a cheap case for budget reasons, or maybe because many people do not realize the benefits of good case design and construction.
Lian Li is looking to target the "normal user" with the PC-A58 case, with the enticing promises of "low range cost" and "high value" for the budget-conscious, while maintaining the "exquisite design" that one expects from such a long-standing case manufacturer. The last case I remember Lian Li announcing was the controversial Anniversary Edition PC-777, so I was eager to see what it had to offer in the PC-A58.
An almost plain brown box, devoid of any glossy or garish retail packaging arrived at my door and I smiled at its understated design. Lian Li doesn't have to blow its own trumpet as its cases sell themselves.
Opening up the box reveals the usual top and bottom polystyrene end caps over a blue translucent plastic sheet wrapped around the case. A couple of sheets of paper can be seen inside this sheeting.
One of the sheets of paper is Lian Li promoting its aluminum desk range and other products. The other sheet of paper is the installation guide. As you can see, it is well illustrated and explains the main features and methods of removing panels and installing hard drives.
The front of the case is instantly recognizable as Lian Li, with the distinct brushed aluminum of the entire front bezel and drive bay blanking covers. Most case manufacturers opt for a plastic or steel bezel with plastic blanks. With this case, only the power and reset buttons are plastic.
Moving round to the back of the case and straight away you see something very strange. The PSU is situated over the motherboard I/O plate rather than at the top of the case. Is this a Micro-ATX case then? No! It's a small ATX case! The PSU has a removable mounting plate with knurled thumb-screws for easier PSU installation and removal.
The side panels also have the same knurled thumb-screws. The left panel is perforated towards the rear, with one section towards the top for PSU intake, and one section towards the bottom for ventilation for graphics cards and other expansion cards. The right panel is totally plain.
The top of the case has two features I didn't expect to see on a Lian Li case. A USB/audio/Firewire access panel, and slits to allow ventilation by way of the top-mounted fan.
So that's about it for the outside, time to take a look inside!