Over the last decade I've reviewed countless Lian-Li cases, many full towers including one that fetched upwards of $700, however as of late it's been the company's more affordable mini-towers that have impressed me the most.
The Mini Q PC-V354 that we reviewed about a year ago quickly became my favorite microATX computer case. This model was followed up by a Mini-ITX version called the PC-Q08, which essentially provided all the same features while supporting an even smaller form factor.
Unfortunately, this also meant that the PC-Q08 inherited all the PC-V354's shortcomings, so Lian-Li went back to the drawing board to refine the product. The fruit of its labor manifested in the PC-Q25, which was announced last August and vowed to be Lian-Li's most advanced Mini-ITX offering.
The case has plenty of room for high-end hardware, including full-length graphics cards such as the Radeon HD 6990 or GeForce GTX 590. Besides catering to gamers, the chassis also attempts to woo media buffs with support for five 3.5" hard drives and some impressive cooling options.
The PC-Q25 has received hot-swap connectors to quickly load hard drives, tool-less side panels for faster access and it lost the 5.25" optical drive bay. The new arrival certainly appears to be a more modern enclosure, but it also seems to have a few drawbacks that we'll flesh out right up next...
Like most Lian-Li cases, the PC-Q25 has a very clean and minimalistic design. The chassis measures 7.8" wide, 11" tall and 14.4" deep (199x280x366mm) and weighs a featherweight 6.8lbs (3.1kg) when empty. Although it's slightly longer and taller than the PC-Q08, the PC-Q25's reduced width takes its internal capacity down 4% from 21.3L to 20.4L.
At the front, we have a sleek brushed aluminum bezel that only features a small circular power button and Lian-Li's branding. There's no optical drive support while all forms of front panel connectors are missing as well. Although we're content with seeing optical support dropped, the lack of front mounted USB is unusual and a little disappointing.
While the PC-V354 was one of my favorite mATX cases, I resented the fact that you had to undo eight screws to remove one of the doors (a patience-straining 15 screws for both doors). The PC-Q25 solves this issue with its tool-less doors, which easily unclip when pulling on a small tab at the back of the door -- a welcomed upgrade, to say the least.
Reattaching the door is just as easy and takes a few seconds. The clips hold the doors in place well and when transporting the PC-Q25 we didn't have any problems with the doors falling off. Both the left and right doors feature small in-take vents along the right side which are utilized by the internal mounted fan to draw cool air into the system.
Another large ventilation grill is underneath the PC-Q25 and features a dust filter that should help keep the case and its internal components clean for longer. There are also four round feet that raise the enclosure off its resting surface by 0.51" (13mm).
From the top, the PC-Q25 is almost as plain as it is in the front. The only noticeable detail is its 120mm fan grill, though this does blend into the design nicely.
Around the back, you get a feel for just how compact this case is when looking at the motherboard I/O panel slot and PSU bracket. The removable power supply bracket takes up a great deal of real estate, as does the I/O slot. There are also two ventilated expansion slots for your dual-slot graphics card or any other PCI/PCIe expansion device you're using.