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View Full Version : Lian Li A05B case review


shaker718
02-18-07, 10:53 PM
I've been looking for a small, stylish and most importantly quiet case for a while to house my computer. My previous case was a full tower cheming(sp?) case with 4 80mm fans. as far as cooling was concerned it no longer was capable of keeping my components cool without my having to ramp up the speeds on the fans to an intolerable noise level.
After doing some research and talking with the guys at Silent PC review I narrowed my choices down and finally made a decision. I purchased the new Lian Li A05B case. So far I am very impressed and thought you guys would like a small review in case you should be looking for something similar.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180111.jpg
The A05B next to my Cheming case


I needed something small since my apartment isn't very big and I need to keep as much real estate as I can. Also I needed the case to be as quiet as possible and I knew 80mm fans wouldn't cut it, so 120mm fans were a must. As far as looks, I wanted something Minimal, low on garrish LED's, and stylish.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180110.jpg
The A05B, like the V1000 series, places the MB upside down, notice the Power supply plug at the bottom, I'll explain this in a bit


The dimensions of the case are W8.26'' x H15'' x D19.3''. Despite its small size it's considered a Midtower case and in fact does hold motherboards up to 12"x9.6" in size with room to spare. It comes equipped with 2x 120mm fans that run at about 1500rpms, but unlike most (I imagine) cases, the airflow is reversed. This means that the hottest parts (especially the CPU) gets the coolest air first.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180122.jpg
The Airflow is from Back to Front!

Another unusual thing about the case is its placement of the Power Supply. The PSU is placed in the front of the case with what would normally face the back facing the front, in doing this the PSU is now also used as a front exhaust!

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180119.jpg
The A05B with the front cover removed.

The front cover easily pops off to reveal the Drive bezels, power buttons, front 120mm exhaust fan and the oddly placed Power supply. The case comes with a 90 degree plug that connects to the PSU and goes from the front of the case to the back socket where the normal Power supply plug is then attached. The Power supply is held in place by a face plate attached to the front by 4 thumbscrews for easy removal and is held up in the case by an "L" bracket that holds it about an half inch from the case floor.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180119-1.jpg
PSU face plate with thumbscrews

The case holds 2 DVD/cd drives and a Floppy drive. The Harddrive cage can hold 3 Harddrives. It uses rubber gromits that attach to rails, this keeps vibrations down and holds the drives securely. My drives are virtually silent now and that is a big improvement! Due to the size of my 8800GTS and the placement of its power plug it makes it difficult to place a drive on the top-most rail, those of you with smaller video cards will have no problem populating all three rails should you want to.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180125.jpg
The Harddrive cage. If you look at the top of the cage you can see the rail system

The panels on both sides of the case are held with thumbscrews and come of easily. Despite being made of thin aluminum, the panels feel sturdy and have some weight to them. They fit perfectly and tightly so there is no worry about them resonating.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180123.jpg

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180127.jpg
Both side panels off. The second image shows my quickie cable routing job.

The case gives you enough space to route and hide cables. I tried to keep the cables organized and once I have more time I will do a better job but so far, with minimal effort, it's much better than what was possible with my old case.

The top of the case sports hidden USB/FireWire/Audio ports. This is great for someone (like me) who likes to keep their case on the floor.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e195/shaker718/_2180117.jpg
Stealth Ports FTW!

For this to be an objective review I have to give you some of the bad along with the good. The Airflow, while interesting, could be problematic with some configurations. I imagine it would be somewhat impeded if the entire Harddrive cage was populated. However I have to point out that quite a large volume of air can be felt coming out of the front so perhaps my speculations are incorrect.

My CPU runs very, very cool (remember it's getting the coolest air first) but, at idle, my 8800GTS is running about 3C to 5C hotter. Warm air pools at the top-back and keeps the area noticebly warmer than the rest of the case, despite all the perforations meant to let hot air seep out. I run everything at stock, so my heat output is much less than some of you on this site who are overclocking your components. I will add that I am happy with the temps in contrast to the noise levels. With this in mind, however, I would hesitate to recommend it for overclockers without considering modding the case to add a top or side fan for further ventilation or using it for a watercooled rig.

As it stands with its two 120mm case fans, my Zalman 7000alcu, single 120mm fan PSU, and the surprisingly quiet 8800GTS, the case is fairly quiet. It's not silent, but it is very quiet, especially when under my desk. I will be changing the fans someday soon to Yate Loons, and perhaps changing some other components to make it even more silent (this quiet stuff is addictive...)

One more thing, if you are looking for an HTPC case I think this would be perfect with one caveat: you need to be able to control the speed of the DVD drive. Since the A05B is so light, at 16x the drive spins fast enough to shake the case and this makes quite a bit of noise. I'm currently using Nero Drive speed to control the spinning of the drive. I set it to a minimum, about 4x, when watching movies and it's almost silent.


So far I am very happy with this purchase. The case is everything I wanted. I couldn't be more pleased. I hope this review helps you if you are looking for something similar. Thanks for your time and attention and if you have any questions feel free to ask, I will try my best to answer them promptly and completely.:D

Rytr
02-18-07, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the review. I like the case layout just wish they had the HDD bays setup crosswise in the case for easy access. Still looks very good and everything appears to be well thought out. :)

shaker718
02-19-07, 07:20 AM
Thanks for the review. I like the case layout just wish they had the HDD bays setup crosswise in the case for easy access. Still looks very good and everything appears to be well thought out. :)

As it stands, removing Hdd's is really easy. They just pop out with a little upward force and there is more than enough room to remove them without bumping other components, save for the top rail if you have a long video card. But yes having them crossways would have been perfect. I guess the current rail system would have impeded airflow way too much if it was mounted that way.

mcolbourn
02-19-07, 07:49 AM
Thats a nice review I have alway been a great fan of the Lian Li cases having two myself. I have had my PC-60 for years now.

Zelda_fan
02-19-07, 08:11 AM
Lian-Li is top notch. I'm a proud owner of the V1000 Silver.

Slammin
02-19-07, 09:34 PM
Since the front of the case usually faces the direction I sit, I doubt I'd want a case with the PSU closest to me unless I got a REALLY silent PSU. The one I have might be silent enough, but hard to tell if it would be silent enough if it was facing me, but Lian Li does make a nice quiet case, other than their hard drive mounting rack.