Lian Li unveils new PC-A04 mini-tower chassis

By on December 21, 2010, 3:47 PM
They say big things come in small packages, and that's precisely the marketing angle Lian Li has taken with its small form factor cases. Being a mini chassis, the company's new PC-A04 only accepts micro-ATX or mini-ITX motherboards, but it can still hold up to seven 3.5-inch drives and a high-end graphics card -- just like the PC-V354 we reviewed in October. The PC-A04 has two removable hard drive cages that can be mounted facing the left, right, or back. As we saw with the Mini Q PC-V354, this offers extreme flexibility. You can use the enclosure for an HTPC or a home server with tons of storage, or you can remove one of the cages to provide clearance for video cards measuring up to 370mm long. Externally, the PC-A04 greatly resembles the PC-V354, but they have different dimensions. The former is (W) 188mm x (H) 386mm x (D) 460mm, while the latter measures (W) 245mm x (H) 320mm x (D) 420mm. The PC-A04's additional height can mostly be attributed to its extra 5.25-inch bay. Both weigh about the same at 4.1kg versus 4.17kg.
Interestingly, the taller PC-A04 appears to have one less rear expansion slot (four instead of five). It trades one of the two USB 3.0 ports for USB 2.0, but it adds an eSATA connector to the mix. Cooling also seems to be slightly reduced. The PC-A04 keeps the two 120mm front fans, but swaps the 140mm top blower for a smaller 120mm exhaust. Some other features also appear to be missing, such as the built-in SD card reader and integrated fan speed controller. In fact, Lian Li suggests the second 5.25-inch bay is intended for an aftermarket controller. The PC-A04 is expected to ship soon for around $110, which is about $40 less than the PC-V354 and surely accounts for the downgrades.




User Comments: 8

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madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Having at least two 5.25" bays is important to me, so that fact alone makes this case more interesting for me. Granted I also own the venerated (in that world in my head) PC-Q08B, so that statement is loaded to a degree. Lian Li has really been churning out this smaller form factor cases that want to be able to do anything, particularly gaming or storage.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Looks upside down to me...

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It looks odd to me too, to be probably some of the highest quality chassis this doesn't look amazing whatsoever and to be honest this kind of looks like generic to some extent, the only difference is the removable cage and the PSU on the bottom. Besides if this were a gamer case probably only hot air would run in there.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

... What? Then almost all of Lian Li's cases are generic, since they all tend to follow the same formula. many "gaming" cases have the power supply on the bottom, and almost all of them do not have drive cages that can be freely oriented. That and most "gaming" cases are for ATX motherboards. I am confused by the "only hot hair would run in there" comment, since you have two 120mm fans shoving a ton of air into a small enclosure space.

edit: It seems that all the "front panel" connectors and buttons are on the top. Eww. They SHOULD have put them in the front like the Q08 and other cases. =(

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I said it looks like a generic case, nothing pops out of it, not even good ventilation, it looks pretty generic to me.

Exactly, with everything packed pretty tight in there the airflow would quickly turn hot if you go for a "gamer" setup due to the video card, the high rpm drives and proc generated heat. The more you cramp something the more hot it gets and you can check that on any chassis review.

Guest said:

Bigger is always better! Happy Xmas!

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Exactly, with everything packed pretty tight in there the airflow would quickly turn hot if you go for a "gamer" setup due to the video card, the high rpm drives and proc generated heat. The more you cramp something the more hot it gets and you can check that on any chassis review.

I agree, heat is a show stopper...The heat my PSU gives can be really bad especially in the summer. The bottom of the case is not the first place i'de like it, even with good cooling.

Heat, rising onto the CPU, GPU and motherboard, when they're already tanking it out themselves...Doesn't hurt for a little commen sense.

Guest said:

This case appears to be perfect for a (Home Theater PC), with the exception of having the power supply on the bottom (heat rises).

Also have not seen many power supplies with fans on the backside of the unit instead of the side.

I like the hard drive case position options, but cooling in that area seems limited, a inlet with a filter option on one side of the case forcing a decent cross flow to the other side of the case with a large exhaust fan for that area would be a nice touch...

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