Lian Li PC-Q08 Mini-ITX Mini Tower Case

Cases|Damping
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

  • Lian Li PC-Q08 - IGP test system at 1m
    — load, CPU fan @8V, system fans off (17 dBA@1m)
    — load, CPU fan @8V, system fan @7V (20 dBA@1m)
    — load, CPU fan @8V, system fan @9V (23 dBA@1m)

Comparable System sound files:

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Lian Li PC-Q08 has several qualities that make it a great mini-ITX/DTX case. What we noticed most compared to other cases was its impressive overall fit and finish. It has a sturdy, all-aluminum exterior construction that not only looks great, but is noticeably less flimsy than the Silverstone Sugo SG07. Everything on the inside seems to be fairly well thought out, making installation of components inside the enclosure a breeze. The capacity to hold up to six 3.5" HDD is very impressive; we've never seen a case so small with such high storage potential — 12 TB with today's 2 TB drives.

While support for a large hard drive cage seems to have been the main driving force for the development of the PC-Q08, the resulting size made it big enough to house an ATX power supply as well as a 30 cm long graphics card. CPU heatsink clearance is better than average as well, and the included LED fans have good acoustics and are very quiet when undervolted. The PC-Q08 is also one of the first cases to offer front-mounted USB 3.0 ports.

As a gaming case, it is more or less a match for the Silverstone SG07, but closer to less than more. The stock cooler on our Radeon HD 4870 test card was not as thermally taxed in the PC-Q08, allowing it to run at lower speeds at both idle and load. This is due partially to the Lian Li case's larger size, and how the VGA card is oriented, pulling cool air from the vents on the case floor rather than from the side in the SG07. However, the heat radiating off the card rises toward the CPU socket, resulting in higher CPU temperatures than in the SG07. The power supply's presence impedes airflow around the CPU as well, and the stock fans are no match for the SG07's 18 cm downblower, either.

With the option to install so many HDDs, the 21.3 liter Lian Li PC-Q08 could be the ideal small, energy-efficient, file server. Half a dozen hard drives are difficult to keep quiet, regardless of case size, but it is always more of a challenge in a small case. Unfortunately, the loosely secured drive cages transmit HDD vibrations easily to the side panels, which amplify them audibly. The provided rubber grommets do little to alleviate this problem. A more securely supported solid one-piece drive cage riveted to the top/bottom of the interior with a well-damped tray or rails for each drive would probably be a big improvement. Still, it may be worth exploring creative ways to improve the sturdiness and vibration resistance of the cage, as the PC-Q08's HDD capacity is simply unmatched any case even close to its size. Consider the >$1000 of the typical >4 HDD NAS box (without drives), and it is easy see why we're interested in solving the HDD vibration issue in this innovative new case. Only the multiple HDD vibration issue stopped us from awarding the PC-Q08 an Editor's Choice award.

Lian Li PC-Q08
PROS

* Quality construction
* Fans have good acoustics
* Supports ATX power supply,
* Very small size to hold up to six 3.5" HDDs
* Good clearance: 11 cm CPU cooler, 11.8" graphics card
* Front USB 3.0 ports
CONS

* Prone to vibration
* CPU area gets hot

Our thanks to Lian Li for the PC-Q08 sample.

Recommended by SPCR
Lian Li PC-Q08 is Recommended by SPCR.

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Articles of Related Interest
Silverstone Sugo SG07: The Ultimate Mini-ITX Case?
Fractal Design Array Mini ITX NAS Case
Fractal Design Define R2 ATX Tower Case
Silverstone Grandia GD05: A Versatile HTPC Case
Inwin Maelstrom: An Affordable Gaming Case
Silverstone Fortress FT02 ATX Case

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