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

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Lian-Li PC-X2000FN

Lian-Li is not interested in building a case with any plastic parts--not side panels, not drive trays, nothing--and for such a giant-sized, all-metal case, the Lian-Li PC-X2000FN is surprisingly light. It also exudes a stealthy sexiness, with an all-black look and a beautiful brushed-metal finish. A finish that, unfortunately, picks up and shows off fingerprints and smudges far too easily.



The front of the chassis is one long, smooth, uninterrupted piece that curves gracefully at the top and bottom; there’s nothing else on the front except for the Lian Li logo in silver. Up top, that smooth line continues, punctuated only by the (metal) power and reset buttons and a flap that opens to reveal four USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA port, and mic/headphone jacks.

  

The two side panels are nearly identical; both are clean, with no clear panes through which to gaze upon the system’s components, and they both have a small line of ventilation cutouts running from top to bottom. One side is home to two ODD bays, and the other offers access to the rear of those drives so you can fiddle with data and power cabling without actually removing the panel.



  

Like almost every chassis, the rear is the business end where everything connects. There’s the PSU, motherboard I/O panel, two exhaust fans (one 120mm and one 140mm), ten expansion slot locations, a grill for more air exhaust, and a lone knob that serves as the built-in fan controller.

  

The fan controller is a great tool to have, although in this case it offers very basic functionality: You can simply crank the fans high or turn them down low. All the fans have to run at the same speed, too. By “all” the fans, we mean “all five of the fans that come stock” with the PC-X2000FN; in addition to the two aforementioned fans, there are three more 140mm fans mounted on the front of the case. There’s a small gap between the fan mounts and the front of the case, which is just enough room to suck cool air in through the mesh on the two side panels to cool the system. It’s a subtle design, but it’s very effective and looks much nicer than a mesh front panel.

  


  

The case fans all have optional MOLEX connectors, but you can pop them off if you’d rather connect your fans directly to the motherboard. You may want to do so, actually, because if you utilize the MOLEX connectors, you'll have to route them through the main body of the chassis, as they won't reach if you route them behind the motherboard tray.
 

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