Lian Li launches snail-shaped chassis for snail-paced hardware

By on May 10, 2011, 4:19 PM

Lian Li has unveiled a new special edition desktop chassis that promises to turn a few heads. Resembling the shape of a seashell, the all-aluminum PC-U6 Cowry touts a "thermally-optimized" design that utilizes two separate "heat zones." The layout places your power supply in a bottom compartment while the rest of your hardware is in larger chamber.

You'll have to use your imagination to figure out what that accomplishes because Lian Li doesn't go out of its way to offer an explanation. While the "heat zones" are somewhat of a mystery, the company's video shows that the two 120mm intake fans create positive pressure inside the circular enclosure, expelling hot air and dust through the mesh walls.

Lian Li claims the PC-U6 is extremely versatile with plenty of build space, but the spec sheet reveals otherwise. The mid-tower is limited to Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards and it only has four expansion slots. On the bright side, there's enough space for a video card measuring up to 310mm long (roughly the size of AMD's Radeon HD 5970).

There's only one external 5.25-inch bay and no external 3.5-inch bays. Although you won't be able to add a drive-bay fan controller, the PC-U6 has built-in fan speed controls. Internally, the case can hold up to three 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch drives, which are outfitted with a tool-less design including anti-vibration thumbscrews and a rubber suspension.

It's obvious that the PC-U6 isn't meant for hardcore performance machines, but it offers a few holes for liquid cooling anyhow. Lian Li even includes a 530mm red LED kit that can be installed for a little more pizazz. The front panel features one eSATA and two USB 3.0 ports along with audio jacks. Pricing is set at $349 -- quite a premium for a novelty design.

If you're feeling a little déjà vu, it's probably because you read about Lian Li's PC-777 five or six years ago. The anniversary chassis featured a very similar aluminum seashell design, though it didn't sacrifice as much functionality with six 5.25-inch bays, one external and six internal 3.5-inch bays, and support for the now-defunct BTX motherboard form factor.




User Comments: 25

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Pricing is set at $349 -- quite a premium for a novelty design.

I might buy it for $34.90... nah...

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Regardless of how hip it looks or pricing, only one 5.25 inch external bay is a deal breaker.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If you put your ear up to it can you hear the sea?

BlindObject said:

It's cool looking, but for that price, I rather get a nice gpu.

Prosercunus said:

gwailo247 said:

If you put your ear up to it can you hear the sea?

You can probably hear a fool and his money parting... into the sea.

Guest said:

Ha ha ha !

for that price I hope it does...maybe water cooling as well !

pcnthuziast said:

The cost of my current case is the most I'd ever spend. NZXT Phantom $140 and worth every penny for great style and excellent feature set!

Cota Cota said:

Those $1dll Red LEDs are so expensive! thats why it cost $349 guys this is a really great, amazing and revolutionary case.

*ends heavy sarcasm*

Lurker101 said:

You'd think, with the shape and the price, they'd have figured out some sort of cyclonic air cooling system or a more efficient watercooling system, but no. It's just a bog standard case with a bulky design and an ugly price.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You'd think, with the shape and the price, they'd have figured out some sort of cyclonic air cooling system or a more efficient watercooling system, but no. It's just a bog standard case with a bulky design and an ugly price.
Indeed! But wouldn't using a cyclonic air and water cooling system together make a noise like you were flushing your money down the toilet?

"Honey, don't forget to flush the computer before you come to bed. Oh, and make sure you shake the handle"!

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

They should partner with B&W for some Nautilus inspired compuer speakers.

Win7Dev said:

Maybe it would make the sound of flushing money away. I would rather pay $200 for the best full tower case than for a shell that can't fit a pair of high end quadro's.

Guest said:

Now why would i want my pump-up gaming rig to look like a snail!! A rocket is more the immage that comes into mind

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Now why would i want my pump-up gaming rig to look like a snail!! A rocket is more the immage that comes into mind

But I would like the irony of bringing something that looks like a snail, but runs crazy fast (though not for $350). Kinda like putting relatively high end desktop gaming hardware into the dimunitive PC-Q08 (which I'll probably do in the near future).

fpsgamerJR62 said:

As long as they're doing the seashell theme, can I get mine in blue, like the color of the ocean, and with a mermaid painted on the side ?

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

madboyv1 said:

Guest said:

Now why would i want my pump-up gaming rig to look like a snail!! A rocket is more the immage that comes into mind

But I would like the irony of bringing something that looks like a snail, but runs crazy fast (though not for $350). Kinda like putting relatively high end desktop gaming hardware into the dimunitive PC-Q08 (which I'll probably do in the near future).

I've actually been thinking about this idea for a bit... but with an old server rack case.

Guest said:

What kind of PC would you expect if it called Snail? :))))

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

What kind of PC would you expect if it called Snail? )))

Again, working with the irony of a fast system in such a case would be the primary entertainment value for owning one. However, most people familiar with the case would probably just as much jeer at you about how much money you had spent on it.

Guest said:

It looks like a vacuum cleaner lol

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

cute for a kid for a birthday present

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Now why would i want my pump-up gaming rig to look like a snail!! A rocket is more the immage that comes into mind
Yeah, how terribly phallic. Do you have rockets on your mind a lot?

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

They've had this type of design for many years. I can't believe they're still making them...

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

They've had this type of design for many years. I can't believe they're still making them...

Well, sort of. Lian Li issued a limited edition 20th Anniversary PC-777 in 2005. The design hasn't been repeated- since making one every year probably dilutes the "limited edition" moniker.

And yes, to answer the unasked question, Lian Li could have extended the run since the model was a surprisingly good seller-even at the exhorbitant price and limited modding opportunities.

Yeah, how terribly phallic. Do you have rockets on your mind a lot?

It's a "Guest" cap. "Rockets" on their mind for a couple of seconds, then it's lime jello for the next couple, followed by wondering if they can feel their brain by pushing their finger in their ear. I don't think it gets much more complicated than that.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's a "Guest" cap. "Rockets" on their mind for a couple of seconds, then it's lime jello for the next couple, followed by wondering if they can feel their brain by pushing their finger in their ear. I don't think it gets much more complicated than that.

Yep!!!!!

And awfully long response time.

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