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

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Motherboard and Cable Routing

With the exception of the unlabeled holes for the standoffs, installation of the motherboard went smoothly. The exhaust fan assembly and the airflow guide were not hard to remove or replace, and the extended depth of the case made it easy to maneuver the board into place.

Drive cables pass through this hole.

The hardest part was cable management. Except for a small hole between the two chambers for SATA cables, all of the cables had to be routed through an awkwardly positioned hole directly below the CPU heatsink. The main problem is that the hole is several inches over the motherboard, meaning that cables could not be routed flat against the motherboard tray. Instead, they hung awkwardly in the air, cluttering the area behind the CPU heatsink.

Limited clearance between the edge of the motherboard and the bottom of the chamber.

Power Supply

Installing the power supply was straightforward. The power supply was screwed onto a mounting plate, then loaded into the case and secured with thumbscrews. Next, an airflow guide that directs the exhaust airflow away from the intake fan was clipped on. Simple as that.

The mounting plate eases installation, and allows an airflow guide to be mounted... this.

Once again, the most difficult part was routing the cables. There is only about an inch of clearance around the power supply, and once again, the cables could not be routed against the bottom of the case. Instead, they had to be folded sharply across the inner face of the power supply. This would place the cables immediately in front of the intake vents if an 80mm power supply was used. With our Seasonic S12-330, they merely blocked off one of the minor vents. There was very little room for spare cables; we ended up stuffing them in the empty drive by next door.

Very little clearance around the power supply.

We ended up using the empty drive bay to store spare cables,
but things would have been more difficult if the bay had been needed.


Installation of the hard drives is just as streamlined. Four special screws are attached to the drive outside the case. Then the drive is slid into one of the bays two tabs a flicked down to secure it in place. No troubles trying to align screw holes or fitting the drive into a tight drive bay. The whole installation took less than a minute.

Special screws allow drives to fit the pre-installed drive rails.

The drive slides into place, and is secured with this tab.

Fully installed.

Simple as it is, the drive mounting system is not without drawbacks. There is no direct metal-to-metal contact, which means that the drives do not benefit from any conduction cooling. The front fan will almost certainly be necessary to ensure adequate drive cooling. We would have liked to see some kind of damping to reduce vibration noise from the drive. As it is, the drives are completely hard-mounted, and high vibration drives are quite likely to contribute to system noise.

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