Lian Li PC-8FI Case Review
If you’re going to spend the time and money to build your own computer then why not house it in a case that’s well made and stylish like the one from Lian Li. Today for review I’ve got the Lian Li PC-8FI Aluminum case, and I’ve got to say that it’s very much true what they say about cases from Lian Li, they truly are of high quality and top notch design. This case features a tool less design and an all aluminum construction that’s lightweight yet durable and good looking.
User Friendly Design
Multi-media port connectors follow international specification standards, with one connector for easy installation.
New USB3.0 ports, e-SATA, Audio supports HD Audio. The dual design is for better compatibility options.
All I/O ports on the top cover, allow for easy access, there is also a dust-free cover to protect these connectors.
All new tool-less design from Lian Li aluminum chassis. To do this required a great many innovative patents to be filed worldwide. The ideas will make installing and maintenance much easier. For example when installing the 5.25” optical drive, just slide the drive into the 5.25” bay, and close the mounting bar to secure the optical drive, as simple as that.
There is a modular HDD cage, simple un-do the thumb screw, and silde the HDD cage out, mount the HDD with anti-vibration kit.
To install PCI add-on cards require no tools at all. Simply open the aluminum arm of the tool-less PCI add-on card holder, insert the add-on card to the motherboard slots, and close the aluminum arm to hold the add-on card in position. The additional rubber padding on the aluminum arm assists in gripping the card bracket and securing it firmly.
To install PSU require no tools. Simply open the aluminum PSU holder, insert the PSU in position, also can turn PSU’s fans up or down to suit your need, then close the aluminum PSU holder.
There is a patented cable management clamp for cables to pass through, allow uesr convenient manage the cables.
Aluminum M/B Thumb Screw, user can easily screwed motherboard without tools.
There are openings on the panel, allow user to manage the cables.
There is an air filter at the base of the case to stop dust from entering the case. The filter is washable. The vents are specially designed to retard heat and fire crossover should a short circuit cause sparks and excessive heat within your system. This feature is designed to prevent the problem from spreading outside your case should the unlikely event occur with your components.
Anti-vibration thumb screw for HDD, using special thumb screws with rubber suspension. no tool required, simply secure the anti-vibration rubber ring to the HDD.
There is a fan hole on the top, user can easily remove the screws, put an intake 140mm fan on it for better thermal performance.
There is a PCI Bracket allow user to connect USB3.0 cable to Motherboard.
Case Type: Mid Tower
Dimensions : (W) 210mm x (H) 460mm x (D) 490mm
Front bezel Material: Aluminum
Side Panel: Black
Body Material: Aluminum
Net Weight : 5.85KG
5.25″ drive bay (External): 3
3.5″ drive bay (External): 1(use one 5.25 to 3.5 converter)
3.5″ drive bay (Internal): 6
Expansion Slot: 8
Motherboard: ATX / M-ATX
System Fan (Front): 120mm Blue LED Fan x 2 (1200RPM)
Red (Spider Edition) / 120mm Red LED Fan x 2 (1200RPM)
System Fan (Top): 140mm Fan Hole x 1
System Fan (Rear): 120mm Fan x 1 (1200RPM)
Silver / 120mm Fan x 1 (1200RPM)
I/O Ports: USB3.0 x 2 / e-SATA x1 / HD Audio
Maximum Video Card Size: 285mm
First things first, let’s take a look at the outside. The case comes in a nice looking box and is well protected.
I got the black version for review, but you can also get it in red or silver. On the front you’ll see two 5.25” bays and a 3.5” bay, below those are several ventilation holes behind which are two fans pre-installed that have blue LEDs in them.
On the top of the case you’ll find two buttons for power and reset along with two USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA port and audio jacks. Behind the controls is a panel that can be removed so you can install a top fan if you wish.
The left and right side of the case are plain, just brushed aluminum side panels. Overall the case seems very well made, the looks might be plain but it’s a stylish kind of plain.
When you move to the back of the case you’ll be struck by how bright it is, the inside chassis is all bright aluminum. On the back you’ll see familiar stuff, with the addition of two holes for liquid cooling tubes. The side panels are held on with thumbscrews, you can see them from the back view of course.
Moving to the bottom of the case you’ll see an air filter where the PSU will be mounted and four rubber feet.
Let’s go inside now starting with the back of the motherboard. On the back you’ll see the tray is cut out where the CPU would be making it much easier to swap out cooler if you want to. There are cutout in the tray to run wires through as well, and the bottom is nice and open where the PSU is. From here you can also see the hard drive rack and a glimpse of the front fans.
Moving around you can get a nice look where your computer will actually go. It doesn’t look that big in there but you can fit large cards inside with not much of a problem. There are some stand-offs already attached to the motherboard for you.
The 5.25” bays use a tool-less clip system that is basically a slide lock of sorts.
Here’s a quick look at the top view of the case from the inside so you can see where that fan would go. When you first opened the case you’ll see the case cables hidden up there.
Here’s a view of the 5.25” cage, you can see the removable bay covers, they just pop out.
Next up here’s the hard drive cage and better look at the front fans. The cage can came out, it’s secured with a couple thumbscrews.
One of the unique feature of this case is the PCI slots and how you hold your cards in place. The case with a metal, rather heavy duty locking system that works very well.
The fan grill for the top mounted fan is in a plastic bag attached to the bottom of the case when you open it. The power supply sits on two raised rails with rubber strips on them to help prevent vibrations. Below that is a series of vents to help keep the PSU cool.
The front panel just pops off easily and you can get a better look at the two front fans that come with dust filters.
If you paid attention to the pictures above, the you may have noticed a box attached to the hard drive cage, in that box you’ll find the accessories or which there are a lot.
If you don’t have USB 3.0 you can still use the top USB ports as USB 2.0 with the help of the included adapter.
The PSU gets secured with a locking clip, you can secure the PSU the normal way with screws or you can use the bracket or both.
Included as well is a plastic cable management system that attached to the bottom of the case and a smaller one that can be attached to the motherboard tray.
There’s also a PCI slot with a hole in it to run the USB wires through, and a 5.25” to 3.5” adapter.
I’m using this case for my gaming / HTPC system which is hooked up to my 47” HDTV and has a DFI motherboard and an Intel Q9650 CPU with a Noctua cooler on it.
The motherboard is held with the included thumbscrews making installation that much easier.
During the installation I found it’s very tight near the top of the case, especially when I tried to runt he wires for the 8pin power connection. I got it done, but it took a bit of work and maneuvering.
I also found that with my CPU cooler installed vertically I now could not install the top fan for cooling unless I found a very thin one or turned the cooler so it was mounted horizontally.
To get the hard drives installed you’ll need to use the supplied special screws instead of rails. On the left side of the HDD cage is a rail that slides up and down that locks the hard drives in place.
I installed my PSU with the screws and the strap, it just locks into place.
The rest of my system is a Sparkle Calibre GTX260, and a Sparkle GT240 for PhysX, along with a Bgears sounds card and a USB 3.0 mini-PCIE card. The GTX260 is big, and it fits fine with an inch or so clearance.
The hard drives went in easily but they connect from the front unlike most cases now that connect through the back.
I used the small cable organizer on the side of the motherboard tray and the large organizer on the bottom of the case:
Here’s the view from the back side of the case with my wires routed there:
I don’t have liquid cooling obviously, but the holes worked very well for running the USB 3.0 cables to my PCIE card.
I used the included adapter to put my 3.5” card reader in the case.
Lian Li includes USB protectors and an eSATA protector as well, they just pop in and out of the slots easily.
Here’s the front view of the case with my Blu-Ray and card reader installed:
Then here’s the power and reset buttons in the dark lit up. The power buttons stay lit blue, with the reset button actually blinks red with hard drive activity.
Then here’s a few more views taken in the dark, the front lights up blue since the fans have blue LEDs in it.
Installation is fairly easy, you really don’t need a screw driver at all to get your system installed. I needed to use one because I had my CPU cooler installed first and I couldn’t get my hands down there to turn the screw.
Before this I was using an NZXT Lexa S case and even though it had more fans the Lian Li seems to do a similar job at keeping things cool, just a few degrees higher overall, but that’s to be expected with only three fans opposed to the six that I had in the Lexa S.
Lian Li is very much well known case manufacturer that knows how to make a quality product that’s for sure.
The PC-8FI is a great example of quality craftsmanship and well though out design.
I did have a few small issues, but nothing major really or that couldn’t be fixed with some work and or moving things around.
I like the case very much, it’s stylish yet subtle, it just exudes quality truly.
+Lots of room for most any system
+Very well made
+Installation is easy
+Seems to keep everything cool
+USB 3.0 enabled
-Not much room at the top of case for extra fan
-Tight to run cables on back to top of motherboard