With everything said and done, I am a bit torn here. While I really liked the looks, the layout, the features and the options, a couple of things make me want to knock the scoring down a peg or two. First off, to me if you are offering a chassis that can hold a 210mm long PSU, you should also account for the weight. While I am sure that the PSU isn't going to fall onto my motherboard, it pains me to see the case scream in pain as it flexes to take the weight of the power supply. The second thing that may not be an issue is if your PSU has flat cabling, but with the round braided cables I have, connecting the optical drive made the drive cover move causing alignment issues with the door panels placement. Even if I got the panel on, the pressure from the wire on the bay cover made it off center and look funny.
With my mini rant over, there are lots of good things to discuss. This is the first of these small form factor cases I have seen with this internal layout and I liked what I saw. The right or left option of the optical device is handy and gives you options as to which side of the desk to use for it. The offset hard drive rack that uses the washers for easy installation and the slide lock to secure them is not only very structurally sound, but it is cut to allow the 120mm fan in front of it to blow air through if the slots aren't all populated. On the other side of the hard drive rack, the 120mm fan there has free range to blow right past the video card and CPU and out of the back of this chassis. The best thing I like is the removable motherboard tray. Any case with one of these, as long as it is designed right, is a very handy addition and I have to say for the size of this chassis the room afforded on the tray is very good for its size.
During the testing I played with the fan switch and gauged the noise levels as well as leaving things run for a bit to see if the case got saturated with heat. Since there are two 120mm fans blowing in and really only the mesh area for an 80mm fan to let air out, it leaves the PC-V355 with a positive pressure inside and the air will find its way out of all of the seams and gaps between panels and such. Since the fans have twist off and washable fan filters, dust levels on the interior should be next to nil if maintained over the long term of its use. Temperatures were slightly above the average, but keep in mind this is against full towers for comparison. For the size of the chassis, what I put in there and tested and the lack of an exhaust fan, I think the PC-V355 performed admirably to the overclocked conditions of the system and would allow me hours of worry free gaming time.
Here comes the hard part and I guess now is as good a time as ever to say this. While I like the overall design, layout and ideas behind the PC-V355, I would feel bad recommending a case that a mid-range PSU looks like it will collapse or the one way only of wiring the ODD bays. I think this chassis with those two things tended to would completely get me behind Lain Li and the PC-V355. It is just a hard pill to swallow, since they had finally taken steps to wire manage and new ways to mount hard drives, as well as coming up with some really radical designs like the train chassis at Computex.
It's just with the PC-V355 you pay as much as all of the other Lian Li solutions cost, but this time it isn't quite up to what I expect to see from a company like Lian Li who was always one with an eye on details and offered some of the most elegant and structurally sound designs.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications, Availability and Pricing]
- Page 3 [Packaging]
- Page 4 [Lian Li PC-V355-B Mini Tower Chassis]
- Page 5 [Inside the PC-V355-B]
- Page 6 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 7 [The Build and Finished Product]
- Page 8 [The Build and Finished Product Continued]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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