Lian Li PC-101: Aluminum *Can* be Quiet!

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There are three identical 120mm fans, all of which bear the Lian Li name with no indication of the original manufacturer. They are each rated for 0.27A, which suggests they are medium or low speed. Lian Li's spec sheet identifies them as ball bearing fans.

The fans are Lian Li branded.

The fans have standard three-pin plugs that are compatible with most motherboards. Two of them also come with Molex adapters that will feed the fans 12V.

Two of the fans come with Molex adapters.

Although the fans themselves are identical, they are all mounted in different ways, so it is worth looking at each individually. The intake fan is screwed directly to the chassis A bracket for the airflow guide is screwed to the fan. The guide itself can be tilted in and out to accommodate CPU coolers of different heights.

The airflow guide is attached to the fan itself, and can be removed by undoing the thumbscrews.

Although the exhaust fan blows out the side vent, it is mounted on an assembly that hangs off the back panel. Lian Li calls the assembly a "patent removable cooling kit", which implies that they intend to sue anyone else who makes a case with a removable (and adjustable) fan without paying them a royalty. Whether it's original enough to justify the patent, it's certainly unusual. The assembly allows the position of the fan to be adjusted forwards and backwards as needed.

Here it is, the "Patent Removable Cooling Kit".

The fan has about two inches of room for adjustment, and is secured to the frame using thumbscrews.

The frame of the assembly is attached with thumbscrews, which is fortunate, since it needs to be removed to install the motherboard. The frame is damped with dense foam pads that are meant to help prevent vibration from being transferred to the frame of the case. The foam is not especially soft, and does not look especially effective, but every little bit helps.

Dense foam pads reduce the vibration transferred to the case.

Moving down to the front intake fan, similar pads are used to decouple the fan assembly from the front bezel. These pads are thinner than the ones used for the exhaust assembly, and look even less effective. Luckily, the fan itself is mounted with soft silicone grommets that do a good job of decoupling the fan from the aluminum frame. These grommets alone should make the bottom fan the best damped fan in the case.

The front fan gets silicone grommets.

The fan is mounted on an aluminum bracket that attaches to the case using the same spring-loaded thumbscrews used to attach the side panels. The bracket also supports a thick air filter.

Fan and filter, side by side.

The filter in place.

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