Lian Li has always been a huge player in the small form factor case segment, but while many of the designs we saw in the past were a tad on the boring side visually, in the last year or two, things certainly have been different. Anyone who pays attention knows of the train they built to house a computer, and the changes that have happened in their full-tower designs we have seen more recently. Also, when it comes to their smaller case designs, Lian Li has flipped the script since the introduction of their mini-suitcase cases; we have started to see them break the mold of previous designs.
Among the various designs we have seen in the Lian Li SFF lineup, the older designs of course have limitations, as many SFF chassis are plagued with. While these designs were sexy with all the brushed aluminum they featured, many users out there wanted more out of the designs. Access is usually another problem associated in SFF designs, but we promise you that Lian Li has done as much as possible in this latest design to make installation a breeze, and even pleasurable.
Another great aspect of this latest design has to be the view. Most cases offer some sort of a side panel window to view the hardware, but with horizontal motherboard trays in a lot of these designs, who wants to see the blunt edge of the motherboard, and maybe a view of just the video card? Well, Lian Li addressed this issue as well, but in ways you may not think of right out of the gate. However, once you see it in practice, it just seems like an obvious fit for the way they have designed this chassis.
It is nice to see Lian Li stepping away from the status quo and trying their hands at entirely new designs that make the end-user's life a bit more enjoyable. Of course, being Lian Li, this new PC-Q36 still features plenty of brushed aluminum to admire, but this isn't a typical Lian Li chassis.
Stick with us as we cover all aspects, features, and the practicality of this PC-Q36 mini-tower chassis. While this chassis may seem like a few others on the market at first glance, when it comes to aesthetics and attention to detail on the interior, you will be hard pressed to find anything out there like the PC-Q36 you are about to see.
The provided chart covers every aspect of the PC-Q36, and what it has to offer. This mini-tower chassis is contained within the space of 246mm of width, 324mm of height, and it is just shorter in depth at 320mm. Of course, the chassis is comprised almost entirely of aluminum, but there are also two acrylic panels found in this design, a smaller acrylic section in the front, and the entire top of the chassis is made of 5mm thick acrylic. An added bonus with this design is that you can not only get the natural and black anodized aluminum versions, but there is also a black and red version, as well as one in champagne gold.
In the chassis there is a single optical drive bay, and it happens to be a slim optical bay at the bottom of the front bezel. There is a cage capable of housing a pair of 3.5" storage drives inside of it mounted just above that bay, and it also provides room for a single 2.5" drive to hang from the side of it. This design will only house Mini-ITX motherboards, and as such, the rear of the chassis offers only two expansion slots. There are some other limitations to this design as well. The PC-Q36 will only hold a maximum of 300mm of video card length, the PSU is limited to 200mm in length, the CPU cooler has a height limit of 170mm. While there is room for a 240mm radiator, if you do opt for one of this size, then you should realize the use of a video card is out of the question.
To keep this chassis cool, there is one fan pre-installed by Lian Li, and that is the 120mm fan used as the exhaust on the back panel. Both sides of the chassis are also vented to support a pair of 120mm fans, and this is also where the radiator can be supported. We did notice that the chart shows room in the front for a fan, but you will soon see this is an error, as the front panel will not support a fan.
Availability is nonexistent at the time of writing this review. While news of this chassis and its release were seen over a month ago, no matter where we tried to hunt down the PC-Q36, we could not even find a pre-order listing, or a coming soon listing. However, pricing information was provided to us, and we have a MSRP of $149.99 to go off of. While this chassis does share a few design elements of a well-known BitFenix layout that is already doing quite well on the market, we can assure you, this chassis is quite different. Even though there appears to be small similarities, almost all of those aspects have been changed in some way, or in many other instances, Lian Li has done things that take this PC-Q36 to a whole other level of use.
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