Once the overclocking bug bites, there are two paths most take. The first path is for those who like the speed boost overclocking offers, but still look for longevity in their investment. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some of us that should likely be involved with some sort of meetings or rehab to council us out of our addiction for speed and every last megahertz we can get from our components. Taking that even a step further, there are those of us who constantly swap out components, like various sets of memory for the best SuperPi or WPrime bench results, or for collecting medals on HWBot. I know when I used to do all of these things, most cases just don't allow the ease of access that an open air configuration can offer, if done correctly.
At CES I remember seeing images of Lian Li's large Spider PC-T1 which received a lot of raves in reviews and editorials at the time. The one thing that stood out to me, was while the concept was very sound and offered great ease of access, it had a huge footprint, and wouldn't work on a desktop too easily. Ever resourceful, Lian Li Has now delivered a table top version with a much smaller footprint and much more portability and access. Call me lazy, but I would much rather have the unit on the table right next to me during benching sessions, than over next to my desk on the floor.
Today we get to put the PITSTOP PC-T60 through a few laps and see how well she performs. The T60 fits m-ATX and ATX motherboards, but they do offer a PC-T7 for mini ITX users. Both test benches come in three color choices as well. Exposed brushed aluminum (silver), anodized black, or anodized red, so you can match the chassis with the components, still giving your racer a unified look. Lian Li sent us the black anodized version for testing, so let's get the crew over the wall and get in a few laps!
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The PC-T60 is an unassembled, all aluminum, open air test bench that will accept both ATX and m-ATX motherboards. This version has the black anodized finish and consists of pieces either 2mm or 1.25mm thick aluminum. Fully assembled and empty, the PC-T60 weighs in at only 1.8Kg, about four pounds. Mounted under the motherboard tray and between the legs, the PC-T60 offers room for two 5.25" drives, three 3.5" drives, and also room to install one SSD or 2.5" mechanical hard drive. Can't forget how we are going to power this dragster; to do so, Lian Li offers a pair of padded rails to support a standard PS/2 power supply that screws into a rear cross piece.
The PC-T60 is customizable out of the box as Lian Li offers two component pieces to complete the kit. First there is a T60-1, which is an optional fan rack to allow a mounting place for either two 120mm fans or two 140mm fans. This "plate" screws into predrilled holes in the motherboard tray. Also there is no included front I/O; that too is an optional component. What you will find attached to the tray are all the basics to get fired up and running for time. There is power, reset, HDD activity, a power LED connection, and even a motherboard speaker.
Lian Li just released the PC-T60 on paper back in April, and they are readying up supplies for store shelves as I type this. If you desire the silver or black model, it can set you back as little as $95 US dollars. Newegg has actually just put up its listing for the black one, showing as having stock ready to go out the door for $99.99 USD plus the cost of shipping. If you want the red one, it's going to cost a bit more with a MSRP of $119 USD. Of course, if you want the T60-1 and USB and audio connections, the total price will be more. Just how much I can't say; I haven't seen the pricing on either at this time. Considerably less than test benches like the Banchetto 101 or the HSPC I see everyone loving, it is already worth its weight. Let's see what we can do with it, and see if it will fit your needs.
The PITSTOP T60 comes in a flat white and black box. Since the unit is disassembled, the packaging could be greatly reduced. On this panel, Lian Li offers an image of the assembled unit to the right of the color checkboxes. At the bottom, seven features are listed with images; even the two optional ones.
Both sides are black and simply show the Lian Li logo, and the name and compatibility of the test bench.
The back (or bottom, depending on how you look at it), has an image of the silver version this time and again shows off a few features over a second mark denoting the color. To the right, Lian Li takes some time to spell out the important features and specifications in four different languages.
Opening the box, I see that Lian Li takes great effort to deliver an unscathed product to your door. Each piece is individually wrapped in plastic. There are bits of foam to center the parts and keep spaces in the middle and with the use of cardboard spacers and boxes for the hardware, and there was no damage to mine at all.
The Lian Li PITSTOP T60 Test Bench
The motherboard tray is made of 2mm thick aluminum and has all the holes already either drilled out, laser cut, or drilled and tapped as needed. As it is shipped there is no audio or USB connections, but you do have the wiring for the power button which doubles as the power LED, and the reset button which doubles for the HDD activity LED.
Both the right and left side pieces are 2mm aluminum; again they come pre-drilled and ready for easy assembly. The oval holes are cut for visual appeal, but can also work as places to help manage wiring.
This is the top two-thirds of the hard drive rack assembly. With the addition of rubber grommets and the bottom piece, the completed unit is a removable rack for the bottom of the T60. For parts inside the unit, Lian Li chose to go with 1.25mm of thickness.
The rear of the T60 is there you can gain access to the back of the hard drives, and where the PS/2 power supply gets screwed into the bench.
The floor of the T60 is also 2mm thick and with a few additional components it will support the power supply and has room for the hard drive rack on the right.
The handle of the T60 comes in two pieces. There is the top two sides with the Lian Li logo on it, and the bottom side, which screws into the top.
These four mounting brackets are all to be used to hold 5.25" drives under the motherboard tray.
Grouping the smaller components, we have the Expansion slots next to the floor piece of the hard drive rack. Below that, on the far left and right, the power supply support rails. In the middle are the two 2.5" mounting brackets which also go under the tray. Then of course, the rather large bag of screws, feet, speaker, and padding, everything you are going to need.
The instructions are very thorough. Lots of images along with descriptive text will take you step by step through the assembly. Take your time, and set out all the parts first. That makes assembly of such a chassis much easier. A detailed parts list also aids in not confusing which screw goes where, as Lian Li give measurement and an image so you can match up the hardware.
The Build and Finished Product
The bulk of the base of the T60 is easy to assemble, but takes a bit of time. Lian Li uses quite a few screws to be sure the finished product is as solid as it can be. First you screw both sides to the floor, and then screw in the back support. A few screws assemble the hard drive rack, and are held in place with a couple of thumb screws. On the right the power supply supports get a rubber padding applied, and then they are screwed into the floor as well.
On the right the power supply supports get a rubber padding applied, and then they are screwed into the floor as well.
Once the base is all assembled, don't forget to stick on the large rubber feet to keep the T60 from losing traction.
I then moved on to the assembly of the tray and the hanging mounting hardware that goes underneath. Lian Li instructs you to use double risers. This allows for airflow under the board, but also adds room to hide wires under it easily. The well placed CPU access hole makes installing any cooler a breeze.
The eight expansion slots come with vented covers and thumb screws to secure your cards. This assembly mounts in two points, and with the use of an adjustment screw, you can line it up perfectly with your cards.
From the front you can see that the racks make for room to install two 5.25" drives so they are easily accessible from the front. Behind these, accessible from the rear of the bench, there is the 2.5" rack under here as well. Something to note, if you don't need the optical drives, don't install these racks. The issue will show itself later when you go to install a taller air cooler.
The Build and Finished Product - Continued
Completely assembled, I noticed the issue with the positioning of the tray assembly. The sides allow for two levels to install the tray. What you will find is that the optical drive racks hit the HDD rack, making the lower level installation impossible. If you remove them and install the tray in the lower position (top position pictured) air coolers are no longer an issue.
I thought I might be able to not hit the handle up top if I installed the tray in the furthest back of three positions. While it did leave room for the cooler, the weight tipped the T60 over in this position.
Installing the components was a breeze, and with a modular power supply and a bit of routing the wires under the motherboard, things end up looking very clean.
I had a tower cooler installed, but the T60 kept tipping over when I would try to get these images, so I swapped it out for an AIO water cooler which sits nicely in front of the motherboard. If I had the T60-1 it would have made mounting this much simpler.
Now the board lined up on the tray fine, and the GTX 470 lies up with the expansion slots, but I found an issue when I went to test things out for a couple of days. For the extremist benching his parts, the audio connections likely are being hooked up, but I did find that the orange connector gets blocked on this board by the mounting of the expansion slots.
Figuring I wanted to run some testing, I installed everything that is housed in my spare desktop. As you can see, there is easy access to everything. Depending on how you wire the T60 you can easily remove the four thumb screws and pull everything other than the power supply and hard drives in one quick stop.
Let's be completely honest here. While I found the T60 to be structurally sound and very easy to use, if you aren't careful this test bench can easily tip over. Once it was on my desktop I was able to keep it stable with the AIO cooler in place. No matter what I did with a 120mm tower cooler, it was just too much weight not over the center of gravity. There are two ways to get around this. One is to remove the hanging racks from under the motherboard tray, and just install the tray in the lowest position. The second way to get around this is to find a different cooling solution, whether it be water cooling as I did, or a different style air cooler. There is a third option, but that involves removing the handle, or top cross member. While it would give you all the room you need, you lose the portability of the T60 at that point.
What I loved about the T60 is a long list. Ease of access to all your components, quickly removable motherboard tray, removable hard drive rack, excellent workmanship, and a sexy black anodized finish just to get me started. It comes with all the wiring needed to get under way, it offers a way to hide wiring, has two heights the tray can be positioned, offers room for a 2.5" drive, and took me all of about thirty minutes to assemble, excluding the components. Once I got all the small things sorted out, I was very pleased with the ability of the Lian Li PITSTOP T60.
Priced around $100 USD as I received it, or even at $119 USD for the red version, it is worth every penny. I would have gladly paid a little extra to have the fan cooling plate as a standard component, but in benching and tweaking the front panel audio and USB aren't really needed. Comparing this to what I have seen, it bests something like the Antec Skeleton, and can hold its own against the much more expensive Banchetto. On top of the fact that it can do everything that they can, even if it requires an optional part or two, Lian Li has won me over again.