Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
If this were a few years ago, we would be starting this review off about how Lian Li is the premier chassis builder when it comes to aluminum cases. We would be glowing about how large and how light, yet structurally sound their cases are. Of course, this would also be followed with sticker shock as we tried to reason with you on why Lian Li is the aluminum chassis to have. However, times have changed since last we dealt with Lian Li. New ownership, a new direction of attack on the market, and what appears to be an attempt to go mainstream after years of making a name for themselves as a top tier and expensive chassis maker.
With the last chassis to hit the lab for testing, we are seeing that Lian Li is taking a turn to work like many other companies on the market. Rather than making cases to sell to 100 to 1000 people, it appears as though they now are running a tighter ship, where they are offering designs that multitudes of customers will gravitate to.
Many a chassis has come across our desk, where the case sports tempered glass in some fashion. Some with tempered glass on the left, some with it on the front and the left, and even a few with glass on the front, the left, and the right.
However, with many cases that offer this much glass, there are only a select few that take strides to make the area seen through the right side of the case as clean as the view seen through the left side. Some opt for paint, and some opt for plain steel covers, but what you are going to see now is a level of detail that maybe only one or two case makers have ever gotten to.
We are about to take you on the tour that is the Lian Li Alpha 300 mid-tower chassis. Gone is the aluminum, replaced by steel, and the old school panels with plastic windows is a thing of the past as well. Not only is Lian Li moving into the market of the everyman, but they also do so with all the finesse we know Lian Li to deliver in their cases. At first glance, you may walk right by the Alpha 330 and think it is just another tempered glass wearing mid-tower chassis, but you couldn't be more wrong. The attention to detail and the feature set is what the Alpha 330 is all about, and we feel that it is well worth the time to stop and check it out.
The Alpha 330 is made of steel and has three tempered glass panels mounted to it. You do have a choice of colors too, as there is a white version as well as a black option. There are no external bays to detract from the sleek and clean appearance, and rather than going with the standard offerings, the front I/O panel offers USB 3.1 Type-C, one of maybe three cases we have seen thus far to do that. Dimensionally, this mid-tower chassis is 491mm in height, 486mm from front to back, and it is 230mm in width. All told, the Alpha 330 weighs in at 12.4 kilograms.
On the inside of the chassis, there are no 5.25" bays, and it is shown that there is no room for 3.5" drives either. However there is a cage to support a pair of hard drives, and for those with smaller drive needs, Lian Li offers seven 2.5" drive mounting locations. The motherboard tray will house Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards as well as ATX boards, but the length of the front I/O panel wires can restrict what is possible. In the back of the chassis, there are seven expansion slots to be filled, along with a few limitations to note. Video cards can be 400mm long, CPU coolers can be 170mm tall, and when it comes to the PSU and cables, the Alpha 330 has 250mm of room.
To cool this chassis, as shipped, it comes with a single 120mm fan mounted in the back of the chassis. It is a good thing that the options for cooling are much better than what is provided. In the front of the chassis there is room for up to three 120mm fans, and at the top, there is room for as many 120mm fans, but there 140mm fans, three of them, can be mounted as an option. The back of the chassis is only drilled for 120mm fans, but all areas can also be used for water cooling that matches the fan options.
At this time, it appears that the Alpha 330X or the black model is slightly cheaper to obtain. We see it listed currently for as little as $95. However, the white version does carry a slight premium with it, as we see it listed at $109.99. Even so, we feel that with the attention to detail and all of the tricks of the trade found in the Alpha 330 mid-tower chassis, that there is a tremendous value to be had.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Code Z270 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: Team T-Force Night Hawk RGB TF1D48G3000HC16CBK
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: Samsung XP941 256GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
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