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.

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