High End Case Roundup: In Win, Lian-Li, & SilverStone

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The interior of the case, which has bountiful space by dint of the height and depth of the chassis, is built so that each area is compartmentalized for more heat control/ For example, the PSU area is in its own little box, and that’s just the beginning of the multitude of details that Lian-Li built into this case.

To wit, the PSU mount comes off so you can securely fasten the device before sliding the whole unit back in. There’s a vertical “HDD rack” to which you can mount your drives or use to help secure your graphics cards, but you can also remove it if you’d rather not use it. The ODD drive cage, 2.5-inch drive cage, and air filters are all removable. There are ample routing options, and there’s more than enough clearance behind the motherboard tray for copious cableage.

  
You can even see the attention to detail in the accessories that come with the PC-X2000FN. There’s a small clear plastic case with little sections for all the screws (why doesn’t every single case ship with one of these?!), and many of the screws themselves are actually thumbscrews that don’t require tools, including the motherboard screws.

Lian Li also saw fit to include plenty of silica gel and rubber rings for most of the screw mounts to cut down on vibrations, which is a nice touch. (Pro tip: Use them. Without them, we found that this case made a lot of unnecessary noise, and tracking down where each vibrating whine was emanating was not fun.)


Considering that there are so many screws in and accompanying the PC-X2000FN, we were surprised to find that the expansion slots didn’t require any for our graphics card; instead, it utilizes an all-metal hinged clip system that holds cards firmly in place.

We found it a bit of a pain to install optical drives, though, since you have to first remove a couple of screws to get the drive cage cover off, slot the drive in, secure it with thumbscrews, and put the cover back on. Of course, once you get it done, it’s rather cool-looking, and very secure.

     
There’s a dedicated 2.5-inch drive cage that’s just below ODD cage and can handle up to three SSDs or HDDs. There are actually two 3.5-inch drive cages; one is at the top of the case next to the ODD and 2.5-inch drive cages, and one is at the bottom, next to the PSU. Both feature hot swap capabilities and support up to three drives each. There are no drive trays; instead, you simply install four of those anti-vibration bumpers on a drive with long thumbscrews, slot it into the cage, and drop a little gate into place to keep it all secure. Around the back of the cages, you can use either SATA power or MOLEX connectors for juice along with a SATA cable for data.


It can be a little time-consuming to put together a system in the Lian Li PC-X2000FN, but it’s not at all hard to work inside the chassis. Further, once you have everything mounted and screwed into place, you can rest easy that everything is very secure.
 

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Why cant we load pictures ladies and gents?

TcM

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In Win H-frame is an dust collector or not ?

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That H-Frame is a cool looking design. I would actually want to use something like that. Sadly, when I went searching for where to buy it, NewEgg had it listed as discontinued.

The Lian-Li is 'clean' looking, but I don't like how the system is laid out, nor how the heat would travel through it. Essentially, to me, it seems too 'closed up' and I don't like the HDD's position at the top of the case which doesn't appear to have an output heat vent.

The Fortress FT02 Looks like it has a nicer setup than the Lian-Li, but when I look at your thermal testing, it shows that the Lian-Li was actually the 'coolest' running case of the three. I was surprised. I also wished that you had included a thermal test with the H-Frame having the exhaust fan even though it wasn't included in the default setup. That would have been interesting data to know as well.

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Closed up is good. The separate compartments allow for much better cooling.

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H-Frame might be good for a silent, completely passively cooled build, maybe even water, but thats about it.

I dont remember a Lian Li case I didnt like. Maybe the train one... The disc tray at the side would be better for me, as I love a clean looking front, but dislike doors.

I really dislike the Fortress series. I know people like them, I just do not

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The H frame is a cool design on paper, never something Id own personally due to dust alone. I agree that on a passive cooled only build it could show some potential, still id pass it up.

Lian Li always makes a decent chassis of outstanding quality, and for how its setup. It looks like they took a design cue from the 800d, having separate zones to keep the noise and heat down is a nice thing. As always the finish is of great quality. I like the ROM drives on the side, nice little touch. Cable routing could be a little better on the mobo side.

The silverstone is a nice chassis, that could be hit or miss depending on how/where its setup. Though I understand WHY, I am not sure how I feel about the GPUs exhausting straight up the top like that (I can imagine a space heater like effect after a few). None the less, silverstone and lian li both have always made some fine chassis, you cant go wrong with either lian li or silverstone.

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Shadizzle, I initially shared your concern about the GPU heat on the Fortress, but with three huge fans on the bottom of the case moving air upwards, it wasn't ultimately an issue.

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Hey... for you guys worried about dust: I take my machine outside and use my electric leaf blower with a flexible extension hose attached to it to blow all the dust out of my system. I do that about once every couple weeks or so. It's amazing how well 100mph wind will blow the dust right out. Keeps it really nice and clean in there.

When I'm doing it, I hold any fan I'm blowing out with my finger, otherwise it'll make it spin like crazy. I also wear a dust mask while I do it because it will blow out quite a bit of dust. Or... at least it does for me. :)

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I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love Lian-Li cases! I was impressed with the H frame when it was announced, how hard is it to get one? I remember it and the D frame were being made in very limited numbers.

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The Lian-Li case looks the best to me, but the price is astounding.

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