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Lian Li PC-V2120 Full Tower Case Review

By Julio Franco ยท 48 replies
Dec 29, 2010
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  1. Today we'll be looking at the Lian Li PC-V2120A, a luxury full tower chassis that sports a tool-less aluminum design supporting up to ten 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch HDDs, 11 expansion cards and five fans.

    Read the full review at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,445   +349

    Which was what was put into this case.

    Now, someone needs to deck out one of these cases... That SR-2 motherboard, an 8 port RAID card, triple/quad SLI/CFX, watercooling, etc to really show what this case can do...
  3. CamaroMullet

    CamaroMullet TS Rookie Posts: 93

    That's one sexy case! Thanks for the review.
  4. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,119   +121

    "does Lian Li still have what it takes to remain relevant in the ever-changing PC market? "

    Oh yeah baby. Lian Li puts out some of the sexiest cases on the market! Simply beautiful!
  5. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,535   +50

    That's just a case for people who drink wine...I really wana see a case like that for people who drink beer!.

    Give me some go faster stripes!!....Or some cheap plastic wings on it or something!! :D
  6. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,119   +121

    lmao! You must be referring to the Cosmos SLR case mod. :grinthumb Granted, he drinks expensive German beer ;)
  7. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,041   +793

    I kinda agree with this, now I know its not always feasable to get the latest and greatest from companies but a review should push a case to its limits to see how far the case can go in terms of temps and noise and how well it manages its space etc...

    Put a core i5 and a single SSD in there isn't really pushing it at all. Hell not even the hard drive cage was used!

    Appart from that though the case does look sexy!
  8. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,535   +50

    Ooooh yeah, that's what i'm talking about...
  9. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,247   +448

    I can almost guarantee that this is an awesome case - I have a Lian Li PC-V2100B case for my home fileserver and I decided right after I got it a couple of years ago that I would continue to use that case even if I replace all the innards. I did pay a crazy amount for my 2100 - somewhere around $400-$450, but it's been worth it. If you're looking to build a home server you'll love this case.
  10. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    That's a nice case and a very good review.

    Lian Li makes a really great case and their high end units are absolute quality with extremely good airflow. I have my Intel rig in a Lian Li ArmorSuit PC-P80 and can't imagine when it would be necessary to replace it. Like LNCPapa, I paid through the nose for it but have no regrets.
  11. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    In a way this is a typical Lian Li chassis. Great styling, clean lines.....and too many flaws to justify the price.

    Marketing problem #1 : Black chassis (V2120B) $430....Black chassis with black interior (V2120X) $500. A $70 difference for a chassis with no window to view the difference.

    Marketing problem #2: All four front panel USB ports are 3.0 spec, yet Lian Li only supply a single dual-USB converter to allow two ports to be used with existing USB 2.0 connectivity.

    Questionable design feature #1: When I looked at this chassis as a possible purchase a month or two ago, the fan cables -notably the rear and midsection units- couldn't reach the fan controller, which would necessitate the use of molex fan cable extenders just to hook up the fans the chassis ships with. Lian Li do not provide said extenders as part of the package.
    Note to TS staff: Has this been rectified with the review sample that you received?

    Questionable design feature #2: This chassis was touted as SR-2 compatible. Best of luck getting a decent radiator+ fan setup installed (either a 60mm deep rad+ fans, or 30mm deep rad with fans in push/pull config) above the motherboard regardless of whether the mobo is HPTX/XL-ATX, E-ATX or vanilla ATX. Running dual Xeons (presumeably OC'ed) in a chassis that has a door covering it's only intake source doesn't sound like a recipe for success.

    WTH moment #1: No hot-swap facility in a chassis that costs $400-500....

    I was originally weighing this chassis up as a possible replacement for my Armor+ (also known as the poor mans Dyson) and something a little better laid out than my 800D. Unfortunately I think this chassis bounces from extreme to extreme- Stock cooling suffers in much the came way as the 800D does - basically too large an internal volume for the provided airflow to move effectively without adding either higher performing fans and/or re-routing airflow (including adding roof mounted fans as intake), and too much needs to be factored in ( components and price) to make it effective out of the box.
    Before this chassis was brought to retail my list for my next chassis was the A77F (suffers from the same dodgy fan controller setup) and the excellent "but some modding required" ATCS 840 & TJ07. I don't think my list has changed appreciably since the V2120's arrival.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,494   +2,293

    So many case makes and numbers I'm not familiar with, comes a cry from the cheap seats....

    Anyhoo, how do any of these quite expensive cases stack up against the currently in vogue, (and much lower priced), Cooler Master HAF 932, or the Antec 1200 models?

    By the by, my rather pedestrian eye finds the, Thermaltake "Spedo" offering very appealing.

    If flames and skulls do appeal to some of you, (and you know who you are), I suggest anything by "NZXT"; http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583 50002120&IsNodeId=1&name=NZXT

    "AZZA"; http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583 50012618&IsNodeId=1&name=AZZA

    or "XClio" ; http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583 50008348&IsNodeId=1&name=XClio

    and last, but certainly not least tacky, "Apevia" ; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...+50001998&IsNodeId=1&name=APEVIA+CORP.&Page=1

    After that; it's "logisys" for the lighting, and a quick trip out for some decals....! Nirvana


    Ah, C'mon now, I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you. After all, I did grab a CM "Storm Scout" on Black Friday. (I really like the handle).....:rolleyes:
  13. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,041   +793

    I personally prefer my Cooler Master Cosmos S.
    I think DBZ got most the issues with this case summed up in one.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,494   +2,293

    He always does..!
  15. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    I don't always spring for the big bucks, bought a Cooler Master HAF 922 at just under $100 for my AMD build and am very happy with what you get for the money. There's a clear difference in quality and other features with the Lian Li but would have to admit that the Cool Master is the better value.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,494   +2,293

    I think it's the CM 922 that's 10" wide, and it's an inch wider that the 932 (full tower).

    That should allow quite a tall tower CPU cooler, along with both side fans installed.

    Is that how it worked out....?
  17. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,311   +100

    Unfortunately not. Copied from page four:

  18. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Like most componentry I tend to judge using a sliding scale. Premium price should denote a premium feature set and product. Lian Li's main asset are their absolute quality of finish (general machining, tolerances and aesthetics) - unfortunately, like a lot of "elite" products *cough*Apple*cough* they also know how to charge like a wounded bull for the privilege of owning the nameplate.

    Dollar for dollar I think you'll always get a better deal with a mainstream product in general. The HAF series are excellent value for money, as are the Storm Scout/Sniper and Antec 900/902/1200. The Spedo Advance is a little pricey locally and the build quality and flimsy plastic of the ones I've unpacked doesn't reconcile well with the cost. If the chassis could be had for the same price as a Silverstone Raven/Fortress or Fractal Design Define XL then I'd probably cut it a little more slack....though not too much in comparison with the FT02 Fortress which is a very impressive piece of kit.

    Generally, unless you plan on building a server, or housing a foot-long graphics card or two, most mainstream chassis are going to do the job. I just wouldn't go too cheap since cheap case usually = rifle/sleeve bearing fans, very little in the way of sound dampening, loose build tolerances and a lack of filters, which equal noisy and dusty. The extra bells and whistles (removeable mobo tray, mobo cutouts, hot-swap, watercool options etc.) can be a godsend for enthusiast/tinkerer who is going to constantly tweaking the system...it's just that 99% of users have a set-and-forget mentality whose addiction to newer and brighter tends to override the kernal of common sense...a kind of consumerist dopamine.

    Quite a find there captain! Hopefully the Limited Edition version when it launches includes a pneumatic arm rising from the the top panel with a disco ball suspended from it. An LED message ticker that reads out the fan speed, temps and the message "The World Is Yours" wouldn't go amiss either.

    From the article:
    When I read this I intuited that at least one extender had been included. While not exactly adequate it did seem a step in the right direction since the early offerings offered nil. Not a major problem since they are a sub-$1 item- just a royal pain if you need to make another journey to an electronics store after having started a new build or migrating a build to a new chassis.
  19. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    The interior of the case is closer to 9" but it's really roomy for a mid-tower, originally had a Noctua with dual fans and had plenty of space. Didn't bother installing the side fan since this case is so well ventilated and comes out of the box with a pair of 200mm fans (front and top). Have since gone to the Corsair H50 which frees up even more room from the side of the case, so I may eventually install the side fan. In addition to width there's a lot of room lengthwise, have a Radeon HD5870 in it right now ... again plenty of room to spare.
  20. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,311   +100

    Agreed, it's an unnecessary hassle.
  21. g4mer

    g4mer TS Maniac Posts: 310

    It looks like a radiator. But its interior is awesome.
  22. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,535   +50

    That's what most desktop computers are anyway :D
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,494   +2,293

    OK, as always, I hate to break most of you out of your "silent reverie", and confront you with a reality check, but I feel I must.

    The much vaunted, "styling", of most Lian Li cases, shouldn't be considered, "styling", at all. It's rather more of an industrial chic, based on form dictated by function. So, it's hard to justify calling it, "styling". Don't get me wrong, I appreciate quality of workmanship as a primary feature to be sought out. But in truth, they haven't done much with the "styling" of mayonnaise jars over the years either.

    The ribbed extruded aluminum door motif, is far from innovative, and it's been around for decades in other arenas. I's just an engineer's trick, used to stiffen panels, and thus create stiffness, while saving weight. ("Saving weight", is also a euphemism for, "allowing the use of thinner, and thereby less expensive, material).

    (If this "offending" door is in fact done by the milling process, I apologize. It's still ugly, I just apologize for the "extrusion" comment).

    As to the "silver" finish of the test case, home entertainment electronics migrated to silver a few years back, but has returned to black. The silver is really too distracting in the context of today's home theater. You know, silver speaker grilles blasting you in the face while you're trying to watch your thousand dollar TV.

    As to having doors on cases in general, you have to set any program capable of ejecting the tray of your optical drives to not do so, or you run the risk of ruining the tray door drives, every few times you forget and close the door while you're burning a disc.

    Oh well, you can take the door of this case, and live with the resultant loss of the very little style it has in the first place.

    Now, the wires not reaching controller issue. I say we've really become complacent in the tech field to manufacturer's complacency, if not outright hubris, in supplying "luxury" products as this, that aren't really functional as shipped.

    And while I do appreciate the willingness and resourcefulness shown by supplying the initiative to go out and buy extenders for the cables, in any other type of consumer product, this nonsense would be recalled. Since this isn't a "safety" issue, Lian Li can mostly ignore it.

    With all of that said, the manufacture of computer cases is probably the venue where there is the lowest start up cost of any field related to electronics. Just subtract what you think you'd pay to build a case factory, to what Intel pays to build a CPU factory, and you'll see exactly what I mean. Look at the laundry list of case suppliers at Newegg, versus the list of CPU suppliers, you'll get my point.

    In conclusion, "wow it has wheels on it", but, "I'll take the Antec, and the 300+ dollars change.

    EPILOG: Computer case "styling" is a field where it's all too easy to step over the line from elegance to pretense. A prime example of this is the Antec 900. The original release has a wonderful "machiney", intimidating look about it. It is, (was), also a triumph of target marketing, while being very innovative. Then, pressures forced on Antec by a plethora of copies, and competing niche models took its toll. Subsequent models of the 900, such as the 900 II, with it's coarser front grille material, starts to look like the grille of a tow truck, or a 50's room divider screen, and as to the 900 "SE", ( Silver Edition), I would seek a restraining order to prevent it from being within 500 feet of my property.
  24. Nice review.
    I think I will stick with my Corsair D700. Much better case.
  25. I think I'll stick with my Lian-Li PC-A77B... aside from the "Smart Fan Controller" it's the perfect case (if they'd included a panel to replace the "Smart Fan Controller" it would be perfect). It's easy to work with, easy to mod (I had no trouble putting a 3x120 radiator in the top under a radgrill and could easily fit another in the front and even keep a few drive bays). Oh, and the A77(B) won't eat a whole in your wallet and if you aren't up for modding there are side panels available with windows pre-cut and even a replacement top panel already cut out for a radiator...

    This looks like a nice case, and it is, but it's just not the enthusiast style.

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