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Published October 12, 2010
The right panel pulls double duty as a motherboard tray, which has eight permanently installed mounts. The enclosure supports Micro ATX/Mini-ITX and Mini-DTX form factors, but we suspect it will be used primarily with Micro ATX motherboards. Since the motherboard tray is also a door panel, it's easily removable for installation.
The case floor has room for a pair of 2.5" SSDs and behind that is a mounting plate for an ATX power supply. While the case is meant for a standard ATX power supply, it can accommodate slightly oversized units. The power supply can be removed using a bracket that we'll discuss more in the installation segment of this review.
The front features three separate modules to house the 5.25" drive along with up to seven 3.5" drives. The 3.5" drive cages have pre-installed anti-vibration grommets and Lian Li has intelligently split the HDD bays into two separate cages, allowing gamers to remove one and sacrifice extra storage for powerful graphics.
Gamers typically want extreme graphics while HTPC users desire plenty of storage, and neither really demands what the other has. Removing the second cage makes room for video cards from 23.5cm to a whopping 35cm long, giving the Mini Q PC-V354 the best graphics card support of any small case. Ditching one of the cages leaves room for three 3.5" and two 2.5" drives -- plenty of room for 6TB of storage, surely enough for most gamers.
We found the Silverstone SG04 (the primary competition) to be inadequate when it came to cooling, so we were concerned that Lian Li's new offering would suffer the same shortcoming. The SG04 couldn't fit tower CPU coolers and even stock coolers would scream. Adding to that problem, and what was probably a larger issue, the SG04 had no exhaust fans to remove all that heat.
Fortunately, the Mini Q PC-V354 takes ventilation more seriously with two 120mm front intake fans sporting dust filters. The black and silver versions have blue LED fans while the red version gets red fans. Meanwhile, a 140mm exhaust fan is fitted to the top of the case and there is room for an optional 120mm fan in the rear. This is a serious amount of airflow for such a small enclosure.
All of the included fans along with the optional 120mm fan can all be run off the built-in fan speed controller. It's also worth noting that the three pre-installed fans also feature internal fan grills to help keep wires from being damaged which is very important in such a small case.
The front panel USB 3.0 has a pair of connectors that plug into the motherboard if it supports USB 3.0. If you don't have USB 3.0 or don't want to use it in this manner, Lian Li has supplied a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 converter which plugs into one of the motherboard's USB 2.0 headers.
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