Lian Li PC-9N Reviewred454 -
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Lian Li PC-9N Closer Look:
The PC-9N is an all aluminum case, so it is amazingly light; particularly when you don't have any of your componets installed. The finish is brushed aluminum and everything has been black anodized. The case measures 210mm wide x 462mm high x 490mm deep (8.25 x 18.18 x 19.29 inch). The side panels are flat and are retained with removable thumb screws. The main access side panel is ventilated, and has mounting provision for two 140mm or two 120mm fans (not included). Lian Li supplies a plastic cover for the side vent to close it off, but what I find interesting is that the cover is segmented.
So let's look at the main side panel. Here are some close ups. On the left is the inside of the panel. You can see that the cover is initially a single piece, but it is segmented and can be separated into four pieces. You can completely remove the panel and use two fans, or you can snap off the top or bottom two segments and use only one fan. And if you like, you can remove the center two segments and put a fan in the center of the vent. On the right you can see that there are eight screws securing the cover, and there are holes for 120mm or 140mm fans. A single fan can be mounted top, bottom, or center.
Up front we have a lightly brushed aluminum (not plastic) fascia. The finish is very nice and consistent. The two side corners are rounded to make a smooth transition into the flat side panels. There are three bays for optical drives and to the lower right there is a small vertical mesh section for front air intake. It seems a little small, and usually there are addidional slots or openings along the sides or espescially the bottom of the fascia for air intake, but not on the PC-9N. It doesn't seem like there is much opportunity for fresh air to get in, so we will see what the testing shows later. Behind the front fascia is an included 140mm front fan, which you will see later.
The rear of the case is unfinished aluminum with an included 120mm rear exhaust fan. Below the fan are two rubber grommeted ports for external liquid cooling. There are eight expansion slots and the block-off covers are ventilated. The PSU mounts at the bottom. To the right of the PSU location is a small vertical vent with horizontal slots.
The top is solid - no ventilation grids for air passage. No fan mounts, just the I/O. With all the real estate on top, it would be nice to have a storage tray. It seems that a lot of cases have them now, and after using a few cases that have them, I find them rather useful. Many cases today have additional intakes on the bottom for a fan, but here we have only the intake for the PSU. Will this be an issue for airflow? The fliter is removable for cleaning.
Here is a close up of the top I/O. Open the little cover and from left to right there are two USB 3.0 ports, the headphone jack, and the microphone jack. Then there is a reset button and a power button. I like the ports on top - things plugged into front mounted ports sometimes get bumped and bent. The power and HDD activity lights (red LEDs) are on the front fascia, just to the right of the top optical drive bay. Not sure if I like the little door or not; it seems somewhat pointless. It you are trying to hide the ports, then you need something to blend in with, and that is hard to do on a flat, bare surface. Also, it would be nice to see a couple of USB 2.0 ports next to the USB 3.0 ports.
The filter on the bottom is for the PSU intake and I have removed it for this picture so you can see the louvers. It easily clips in and out for quick cleaning, although you have to turn the case over for access to the filter. It would have been nice to have a filter that slides in and out. There is just under 1/2" of clearance under the case, so be careful if your case will sit on carpet or a rug. You don't want to restrict the PSU intake.