Lian-Li PC-6 Aluminum Case Review

Matt Evangelist December 31, 2011 0
Lian-Li PC-6 Aluminum Case Review

Simple, sleek, beautiful. That about sums up the Lian-Li PC-6 case. This is just a great looking case that doesn’t try to lure you in with pretty lights and goofy curves. This is a case that exists so you can build a great looking mid-sized PC and not have to struggle while building it. Oh, it’s also a very old-school case in case what I’ve said so far hasn’t clued you in yet.

The PC-6 is an all aluminum case that just looks great. It’s got a solid black paint job that only adds to the beauty of this case, though this means scratches are all the more visible if you aren’t careful and dust buildup is very noticeable without proper cleaning. One of the most easily seen features of the case is just how simple it really is. I will again mention there are no lights anywhere on or in the case that aren’t necessary. This case is pretty much a big black box, pretty much flat everywhere but the rear and underside of the case. There are no vents on the top of the case, though modders can and likely will drill their own ventilation into the case if they want to. The rear of the case is pretty standard fare with eight expansion slots, a single 120mm caged fan, power and motherboard slots, and holes for watercooling pipes. Underneath you may notice a mesh to catch unwanted materials for an optional fan should you choose to install one. In the front are three 5 1/4″ drive bays and really not much else to talk about. Up top is where the power and reset buttons are located, as well as standard I/O features such as USB and audio ports. The USB and audio ports are hidden under a small flap that is easily lifted to reveal one USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and headphone.microphone jacks. Pretty basic, nothing all that special, but it suits the needs of just about everyone not continually swapping out stuff like myself. It’s simple, in case I haven’t said that enough already. This is also a pretty lightweight case weighing in at a bit more than eleven pounds, so don’t think its solid design means extra weight.

Now, one of the things I really like about this case is practically every panel is easily removable. Sure having the side panels removable is a no-brainer, and having them be tool-less removals makes it even better. But having the upper panel removable means modders can quickly and easily make their ventilation holes and whatever other modifications they want without compromising the rest of the case. For gamers, this will also be a massive plus as without these hand-made modifications air flow is pretty limited in the PC-6. That’s not to say the case can’t be used by gamers as-is, but I personally feel much more comfortable with more air flow to help keep everything cooler. Having my heatsink suck in air that’s a mere inch or less from the top panel doesn’t sit well with me.

Crack open the PC-6 and you’ll notice this is a pretty roomy case. Installing a motherboard is quick and easy, and I ran into very few problems that weren’t of my own doing (such as losing grip on a screw before it was in the slot). It can’t hold very large coolers or GPUs in it, but then again most mid-sized cases can’t either. The PC-6 can still hold a reasonable sized heatsink so gamers don’t need to worry much about that. The case will still close just fine so long as you don’t go overboard on large components. One of the other nice things about this case is that there is plenty of room to route cables behind the motherboard plate should you choose to do so. I actually love when cases have this simply because it keeps wires out of the way and makes the rig much more presentable should someone want to peak inside. The routing holes themselves are also nicely sized so you don’t have to cram wires in there.

Installing a 5 1/4″ drive is relatively simple and requires absolutely no tools unless you are installing in the lowest bay. I’m not quite sure why this is, but seeing as how I don’t use more than two slots anyway I didn’t really care. Adding a third drive merely requires a couple of the included screws which adds roughly a minute to the install time. Placing a 3 1/2″ or 2 1/2″ disk drive is equally simple. A thumbscrew holds a small slider in place to allow a new drive to be installed. Simply slide it to the open position, slip your drive in, and slide it back and tighten the thumbscrew. That’s it. It doesn’t have a lot of room for multiple hard drives like other cases in the PC-6’s price range (three 3 1/2″ drives and one 2 1/2″ drive), however. Considering there’s a large useless gap between the disk and storage bays, so I was curious to know why Lian-Li didn’t just allow for more storage. Some research later and I discovered that seemingly useless slot can be used for an expansion also sold by Lian-Li. Sneaky little buggers.

The biggest complaint I have about this case is that it is difficult to justify using it to build a high-end rig without doing some body work on the PC-6. There just isn’t enough air flow to put a lot of high-end parts that could generate a lot of heat with extended or extensive use. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t put a drill or anything to this case because it just looks too nice to do that. Unfortunately, it also limits what I can actually build with the case. Could I put high-end parts in? Absolutely. But I just wouldn’t want to without proper air circulation. One vent in front and one vent in back with the option of adding one in the bottom just doesn’t cut it, especially considering none of the fans are very large. Like I said before, drilling into this case just isn’t worth it unless you have been doing it for years and absolutely know what you’re doing. As someone who is constantly taxing my system, I wouldn’t want to use this case without modifying the case, and quite frankly there are cheaper mid-sized cases out there that already have better air flow.

Does that complaint I have mean this isn’t a case worth buying? Not at all. Anyone can buy and love this case, but you really have to consider putting some holes in it if you’re going to be loading the system often. There’s anti-vibration add-ons, plenty of room for all your parts, and absolutely beautiful black finish, and its an extremely well made case. It’s just a shame to have to modify it to get the most out of it, and that’s where the value drops for me.

Lian Li PC-6 Aluminum Case – $102.99

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