Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Lian Li PC-7S
- Aluminium compound, open design is easy for component instalment
- Front-access port positioning, limited hard drive bays
Although the Lian-Li PC-7S has no particularly innovative design features, it's a fairly solid case. We do think Lian-Li has skimped a little with only three hard drive bays and so much space to spare, but a simple PC setup will go well with this case.
Price$ 158.00 (AUD)
Lian Li's PC-7S is a fairly simple mid-tower ATX case design for those looking to build a PC with relative ease. However, its shortage of hard drive bays and minimal cooling suggest it's not aimed at anyone hoping to set up raid arrays, SLI graphics or who require any less-ordinary features like water cooling. The PC-7S hasn't been designed as a silent enclosure, but its minimal fan setup keeps it in the lower decibel range.
The enclosure has been built using aluminium to help dissipate heat away from the internal components. It's also a lightweight compound making the case fairly easy to move around from the onset. Although aluminium is fairly lightweight, the PC-7S feels quite sturdy. There is no disturbing flexibility in the drive bays and the enclosure is stable on its feet. Unfortunately, it's far from being tool free enclosure, although it uses the tried and tested screw-in method, and access to each bay is fairly straight forward with both side panels removed.
The overall design of the case is very open. No compartments separate the power supply, expansion slots or drive bays from the rest of the components. The power supply resides at the top of the case, mounted by four small brackets, allowing unobstructed airflow to the power supply's extraction fan.
Also installed to extract air is one 120mm fan on the back panel, immediately below the power supply mount. If you're an admirer of the garish and flashy, the glowing blue LED lights built into the supplied fans will appeal. Another garishly lit 120mm fan sits on the front panel blowing air over the hard drive bays. Although no other fans have been installed, a third fan mount is placed over a grill at the top of the case as an optional extra. A large perforated grill sits beside the expansion slots to allow airflow.
Only three 3.5in hard drive bays have been installed. The bays sit in a mounted bracket, and they can't be removed easily. In fact, the design doesn't appear to be intended for removal at all. It leaves a large space between the top-most hard drive bay and the bottom-most 5.25in optical drive bay, which effectively makes it easier to access the hard drive bays, despite not having a removable cage.
Regardless of the fact that this space makes hard drive access simpler, we can't help but think that the space wasted here could have been used for more drives. Admittedly, we did find the void helped when connecting our optical drive to the MSI P35 Platinum motherboard, which has a sideways facing IDE port, rather than the outward facing IDE port, and installing our large ATI Radeon HD2900XT graphics card was also made slightly easier. However, having fewer drive bays restricts upgrading in the future and also hinders the potential for a RAID configuration.
A total of four 5.25in bays are installed, though one has been reserved for a 3.5in external drive, such as a floppy drive or media card reader, and a 3.5in bracket is mounted for this purpose. Two USB ports and one FireWire port, as well as microphone and headphone audio jacks are available on the front panel. Lian-Li has opted to place these front access ports down at the bottom of the enclosure's front panel, making it a little more difficult to access quickly when the PC is seated on the ground, but still within easy reach.
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