Lian Li TU150 Mini-ITX Chassis Review

The Lian Li TU150 Mini-ITX Chassis might appear to be a tiny box, but it's packed with features like you wouldn't even believe.

Manufacturer: Lian Li (TU150WX)
14 minutes & 44 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 93%
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The Bottom Line

The TU150 has proven a worthy successor to the TU100 and TU200 chassis. Lian Li did a phenomenal job making a tiny box capable of so much. Add a fan a bit more filtering and it could be perfect.

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Lian Li has made some very notable cases over the years and equally a few not so great ones along the journey. Today we are looking at something that could turn out to be the rightful successor to the now-aging Mini-ITX entry from Lian Li. The TU100 which we looked at back in 2013. That case scored relatively well as it simply did not have the capabilities and features even possible at the time compared to what is offered today. Today we get to look at the TU150 from Lian Li.

The TU150, much like the TU100 is a Mini-ITX in a style of what would be called a 'LAN Box.' A LAN box is a miniature portable rig which in some cases employed a handle for more comfortable transport. The TU150 similar to the TU100 applies a handle, however where the TU100 used to have a solid handle which folded over, the TU150 recesses creating a much cleaner final top appearance.

The TU150 has some cool features, one being the ball and socket connection system for the exterior panels. This allows for easy removal and reinstallation of the panels for cleaning or system maintenance. Also, the use of a tempered glass main panel means a modern internal aesthetic along with proper masking to hide internal cabling. Another neat cable management trick is that Lian Li allows the top panel where the handle recesses to hide wiring as well.

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The TU150 carries a part number of TU150WX which denotes that our model has a window 'W' and is black 'X.' If we had the black version without window, it would be TU150X. Now the TU150 also comes as an optional silver color which would change the suffix from 'X' to 'A.' The TU150 come in at 312mm height, 375mm depth, and 203mm width. This is quite a compact chassis, and it is designed to be as tiny as possible while offering a robust platform for a mini gaming rig.

The motherboard fitment is Mini-ITX or DTX compatible. DTX is probably a less common one for most as it's an ITX model but longer. HDD and SSD fitment is up to 2x 2.5" SSD's or 1x 3.5" and a 2.5" SSD. There is no PSU shroud as the PSU is moved to the top right of the chassis and is hidden from view by black internal masking on the window. PSU fitment is SFX or SFX-L, standard ATX PSU's do not apply as there is not enough room for it.

Cooling fitment, of course, will be somewhat limited. Fan fitment is all 120mm based with a filtered opening on the front and one on the rear. There are also dual-fan ports on the bottom of the chassis which could help with overall system cooling and evacuating heat from around a high power GPU. Radiator fitment is limited to the rear-mounted 120mm. GPU Length is limited to 320mm and CPU cooler should you opt for air cooling would be 165mm, which is somewhat surprising being the compact nature of the case. One thing to keep in mind is the TU150 while being an impressive case, it comes with no fans, so it truly is a DIY build with you as the builder keeping in mind and budget some room for fans.

The TU150 comes to market with an MSRP of $109.99, which places it in very interesting territory. The original TU100 is still apparently available and comes in at $119 which is astonishing considering the age of the chassis. Other competitors in the range are finite as trying to match features such as a handle and tempered glass, and we quickly find a lack of options.

One case that sort of matches although a much different form factor would be the SilverStone Milo ML08, but that is more of a console-sized enclosure with no windows for component viewing. Another two options would be the Phanteks Evolv Shift or even the NZXT H210 non 'i' version. I can say that the TU150 is genuinely a bit unique as it is hard to find a genuinely parallel competitor so we will have to take those as our litmus test.

Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications

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Lian Li TU150 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 01

The front or main section of the packaging has an opaque black print with inverse printing. It shows the Lian Li logo, the Chassis TU150 name, and the mini-ITX designation. The tagline of the chassis is 'redefining portable.' The chassis is also visualized with the same box color non printed surface showing the basic outline of the case and an opaque or blacked out view where the window resides.

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Rotating the packaging, we find the first of the thin sides, which only has a Lin Li logo and the name designation. Along with this, toward the bottom, we have the printed URL for the Lian Li website.

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The opposing larger side of the packaging, we see an almost mirror image with the inverse printed information. The main difference here would be the window of the TU150 now showed through to the interior revealing just a bit of the lower fan mounting and rear fan and expansion slot openings.

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The final of the thin sides of the TU150 packaging would be the side with all of the part numbers and UPC/EAN information. They also have any fragile and moisture warnings to warn shippers to be careful.

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The TU150 once pulled from the box is wrapped in a plastic bag and encapsulated in hard Styrofoam end caps to keep it in one piece during travel. Once removed the window had plastic cling film covering the exterior of the glass panel. The accessories kit and manual were on the outside of the Styrofoam end caps to ensure you saw it first when unpacking.

Lian Li TU150 Mini-ITX Chassis

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The front of the TU150 is a blank slate of brushed metal, and it creates an immaculate feel for the chassis. The lower section of the front panel has a Lian Li chrome logo in place. Toward each edge, we can see some of the mesh ventilation openings allowing air to enter the front of the chassis.

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The top of the chassis is absent of any ventilation as it is structural to support the handle and the ability to carry the entire loaded system from the top with the handle as mentioned earlier. We can also spy the front panel connectivity, which we will look at shortly. As you can see here, the handle is fully recessed and flush with the top panel when not in use.

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Here we see the handle raised which enables full carrying capability of your tiny rig. This handle even with the system fully loaded, feels stable and does not feel flimsy at all, I would feel entirely safe trusting this handle to carry my system.

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The front panel is upfront, as observed previously. As we can see, it is slightly recessed as the top panel can pull off and we will explore that later in the review.

The connectivity is as follows:

  • Power Button
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C Connector
  • Dual USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A connectors
  • Dual 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks
  • Reset button

One thing to note, there is no power or HDD LED in the TU150. The included I/O readily beats the H210i we looked at just recently as it fully utilizes the onboard ports that it has plugs for.

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The main chassis panel is tempered glass which is beautiful and what's even better is it is internally masked. The internal blackout portion at the top right and across the top hides the PSU and the area above the motherboard. This might not seem like much but based on how you have to mount the PSU if this were not covered, it would likely be not nearly as appealing of design when built. If you look toward the front panel, we get a better view of the mesh ventilation on the front panel.

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The rear of the TU150 is similar to most chassis with some notable exceptions. The Motherboard I/O while being lower from the top is all standard with an adjacent 120mm fan mount. Below that we have triple-expansion slot covers which have a sliding plate to cover the cards mounting once it is seated, the expansion slots are accessible externally to give a bit more room in the chassis. The top is where things get interesting as the TU150 employs a PSU plug port and an internal cable lead to connect to the internally mounted SFX PSU.

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The rear panel which is usually the cable management panel is next and is the same brushed metal appearance that we have seen elsewhere on the TU150 exterior. The top left, however, had some conspicuous mesh opening which I quickly resolved is to ensure exhaust from the SFX/SFX-L PSU can get out and not be trapped in the main chassis chamber.

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The bottom of the TU150 has four round plastic feet with rubber pads attached. The base also has the slotted 120mm dual-fan mounting which while I would love to say it could fit an AIO I don't think with any GPU in place this would be possible. Therefore the bottom is a fans-only affair.

Inside the TU150

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The front panel pulled off rather quickly, thanks to the mounting design. All of the exterior panels use a ball and socket style mounting which I tend to like a lot as it avoids some of the caveats we have seen with traditional plastic large clips we have seen. Here we also see the single fan mounting and the integrated removable dust filter. The front I/O as you can see stays attached which is excellent so no need to worry as you can remove the panel and do whatever you need without fussing with attached cabling.

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Here we took a close up shot of the mounting points in the front panel to show where the socket is for the mounting.

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Here we have the ball on the main chassis which snaps into the panel allowing for easy removal of panels as needed while also providing a firm and sturdy hold of the panels when attached.

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The internal of the TU150 chassis is rather wide open for such a small box. We can now get a glimpse into the PSU area mounting at the top right. Also, note the large CPU cutout and multiple cable pass-through which all lack grommets but that is ok to me as they are not visible due to the top windows black covering. Even the bottom cutouts were strategically placed to use the GPU as a cover so you may not see much of any cable runs.

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Here looking inside at the front fan mounting area, you can see the removable fan filter. Also adjacent to this below the PSU mount we see the mounting where four rubber shrouded screws can be used to mount a 2.5" drive vertically onto this panel. There is even a cable pass-through to make the SATA power and data cables well-hidden once connected to the drive.

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Here we see the top where the handle is mounted but with the top panel removed this time. As you can see, the area around the handle is open and about an inch deep which can be used for cable management purposes and this will help any errant cables from being dropped into view.

One cable that comes in using this space already is the main PSU power cable lead which runs across the top and drops down through one of a few pass-through holes to reach the PSU. One last thing is toward the rear of the handle you can see more of the drive mounting holes which supports either 3.5" or 2.5" drives attached internally at the top of the chassis and makes more sense why the area on the glass was blacked out across the top.

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Looking at the PSU mounting specifically, we can see the tiny opening made for SFX or SFX-L supplies. Luckily for us, we have a 700W SFX-L unit form SilverStone to power this rig, and it will mate right up in there. The main power lead can be pushed up into location when ready, and the excess can be fed up top, although in this shot it is routed into the main chassis cable management pocket.

Inside the TU150 Continued

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Here we take a look at the rear expansion slot area, and the first thing to notice here again is the large 120mm fan opening which I assume most users will place a 120mm based AIO here to keep the system cool and also attach eth weight to the chassis vs. a larger tower cooler twisting away on the mainboard especially if this will be moved around regularly.

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Here you can see the bottom dual fan mounts. This could help push more heat away from the GPU, but in practice, I do wonder if the airflow from fans would interfere with the natural flow and cavitation of the GPU coolers fans. Also do note that the lower fan mounting does not have any filtration, so keep that in mind if you install fans at the bottom as inlets.

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The cable management or rear side of the TU150 is very flat and plain. In my opinion, this is ok because it has it where it counts with a few cable management loops near the top cable pass through along with some on the SSD mounting location to the left.

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The front panel cables are as follows:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 20-pin connector
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector
  • Reset and power switch connector
  • HD Audio connector

Now let's take a look at what accessories come in the pack.

Hardware & Documentation

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The accessory fasteners included with the TU150 are as follows:

  • 12x Anti-vibration rings for HDD and SSD mounting
  • 12x large flat head screws (8x 2.5" mounting & 4x 3.5" mounting)
  • 6x motherboard mounting screws
  • 4x PSU mounting screws
  • 2x Thumbscrews for 2.5" SSD mount (they keep SSD from sliding out)
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The manual has eight pages and offers a detailed description of parts and how to install a system in the TU150. It also has a listing of all of the fasteners for the TU150 and what they are used for. It does contain six languages for each of the instructions, but all are sharing the same image.

Case Build & Finished Product

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The front, as expected, looked the same both pre and post-build. The same flat brushed metal panel aesthetic carries as there are no exterior changes once the system is built. The complete omission of RGB or even HDD or power LEDs this machine could make for a very stout HTPC or even small office box should you so choose. The TU150 could find its way into a home theater setup without much of a worry as it should match most entertainment appliances.

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Here as you can see our test RTX 2060 from MSI fits without issue and has a bit more room should you host a much more powerful GPU. The 120mm cooler while it shrouds the I/O of our Z390 Strix ITX board, it is still open enough to attach eth pump or remove if any servicing is necessary. The cables are the thing I wanted to show you the most, as I usually would tuck these away, but with this PSU I also have a short cable kit, and I wanted to see how well the panel hid things. As you will see soon, it does very well.

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Here we see the excess SATA power cable stashed in the top. Should you have much bulkier sleeved cables or not have a short cable kit as we do, you could easily snake all of the wires through the top here to hide them, and nobody would be the wiser once the panel is replaced.

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The rear of the PC shows the standard ports now filled. Everything went in as expected, and there was no issue that we observed while building. As you can see the only fan we installed is the CPU cooler which we mounted as an exhaust.

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Here we have what is traditionally the cable management section, and in this case, it is somewhat for us. Due to the aforementioned short cable kit, we did not need to do much in terms of cable management back here except for the own chassis cables and just tidying them up although they would have been fine just letting them float back here. But, well, let's be honest, that's not really how we do things here, so they got cinched up to ensure they stayed where we intended them to be.

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The full system built and not powered on looks like a subdued box. It is not until we free everything up that we start to see what the system is packing as the RGB kicks into effect, making everything shine.

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With everything spun up and looking inside, we can now see the full system powered on as I noted previously, the less than stellar cable management mostly goes unnoticed as the PSU and most all of the cabling is hidden behind the shrouded part of the glass panel. If you opted for non-RGB devices, this could be a mini stealth box.

Final Thoughts

When I first entered this review, I had known of the TU150 from the reports from Computex. However, after getting hands-on time with the TU150, we quickly learn why this chassis exists and that Lian Li put some time into figuring things out to make for a rather hassle-free experience for a tiny build.

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During testing the TU150 did not do too bad as we had a measured ambient of 21.6C and an RH of 49%. When testing under full synthetic stress which is quite a bit beyond what normal loading would see, we measured the CPU with a ?T over ambient of 56.4C for the CPU while the GPU topped out at 63C which is barely above where the fans turn on at around 60-61C and the delta T was 39.8. This is easily passible for such a tiny enclosure with only a single 120mm cooler which also serves as the chassis only fan. Should you opt to add to your budget and add even a single extra fan, these thermals would likely improve quite a bit.

Now we look at what we liked about the TU150, and I feel like there are a few things we can mention here. Firstly would be the ball and socket panel attachment which makes assembling and servicing the system a trivial matter. Next would be the recessed handle which virtually fades from existence when not in use as it stores in the roof. The glass panel and the shrouding that comes on it by default are great for hiding bits you likely would not want to see when the build is complete. The top panel removing to expose an area where cables can be hidden is admittedly brilliant and is yet another feather in the cap for this chassis capability.

The TU150 does everything a small box should do, and then some with some of the features mentioned above. The box simply does so many things right that anything I could come up with to complain about would be a mere knit-picking in reality. I mean I guess I could pick on it for being small, but that's what it's designed to be, and it's wide open enough that even with my gargantuan man paws, I was able to build in it easily.

The only thing I can say is that like most brushed aluminum, it collects fingerprints easily, but a quick spray of cleaner and a microfiber rag takes care of it. The only other thing I find as potentially deficient would be lack of filtration on the bottom fan openings as they would likely be used as an intake and that could lead to some dust ingress. The lack of any included fans can leave those less focused on details out in the dark so to speak, as they would be ready to build only to find their case has no intake or exhaust fans included.

The TU150, after everything we have seen, is a solid case for the price point. However, it is worth noting that to get the aggressive price point Lian Li does not include any fans so you will likely want to budget for at least one fan even if using a rear-mounted AIO to get optimal cooling. All in all, it's hard to find a competitor for the TU150 and Lian Li did very well to make it a stout case with many quality of living features that make it tough to beat.

Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications











The Bottom Line

The TU150 has proven a worthy successor to the TU100 and TU200 chassis. Lian Li did a phenomenal job making a tiny box capable of so much. Add a fan a bit more filtering and it could be perfect.

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Lian Li PC-O11DW

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
* Prices last scanned on 4/11/2024 at 9:55 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Shannon started his PC journey around the age of six in 1989. Now till present day, he has established himself in the overclocking world, spending many years pushing the limits of hardware on LN2. Shannon has worked with design and R&D on various components, including PC systems and chassis, to optimize the layout and performance for enthusiasts.

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