Lian Li has made a name for themselves by producing top-quality all-aluminum cases. Generally they are mid- and full-sized and fairly plain. Recently Lian Li has produced a few crazy designs including the case we are reviewing today. The T7 is also known as Mini-ITX Test Bench, a much more descriptive name. I am going to toss our Mini-ITX test setup on the T7 and see how it works. Does it still have the qualities that we expect to see from a Lian Li case? Let’s find out.
Product Name: Lian Li T7 Mini ITX Test Bench
Review Sample Provided by: Lian Li
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Mini-ITX TEST BENCH
(W) 231mm x (H) 395mm x (D) 210mm
Front bezel Material
Black / Silver / Red
5.25" drive bay (External)
3.5" drive bay (External)
3.5" drive bay (Internal)
System Fan (Front)
120 / 140mm Fan x 1 (Optional)
System Fan (Top)
System Fan (Rear)
USB3.0 x 2 / e-SATA x 1 / HD+AC97 Audio (Optional)
Maximum Video Card Size
(W) 432mm x (H) 82mm x (D) 217mm
The T7’s packaging was mostly unimpressive other than its amazingly small size. When it came in I was surprised to find out that the case comes in unassembled. On top of that they covered the entire thing in shipping labels. Before taking photos I had to remove them, as you can see in the photos its really hard to tell what is on the packaging. Inside they placed the instructions right on top, which is appropriate since you don’t want to jump into this without them.
This has to be the first case that we have reviewed that required being assembled first. I started by laying out the parts to help in finding them. I found the instructions to be adequate, but I am sure that I used the wrong screws in the wrong locations; it would have been nice to have the bags labeled to match the naming in the instruction manual. Also, while the instructions did have a step-by-step of each thing you needed to do, I could only find it funny that they have listed three steps… with each of those steps having up to 8 things you have to do to complete the step. Of course they can say its only three steps, but it's really 18!
Once built, installing our Mini ITX test rig was simple. The open air design couldn’t be easier to work with, and I love the use of thumbscrews in most locations. The top handle limits your heatsink selection to mid-sized and smaller heatsinks. I wasn’t able to fit the Thermalright heatsink I had hoped (man that TRUE black would have looked amazing). Our hard drive is hidden under the motherboard and can be removed by ether removing the disc drive or the motherboard. Outside of that everything else can be reached without having to even take off a side panel.
Judging the performance of a case that lacks any fans or even side panels can be hard. I was impressed with Lian Li for stepping outside of the box to create something different. The T7 is easy to work with when it comes to swapping out Mini-ITX motherboards, CPU’s, and video cards. Even with its compact size, with a motherboard with a PCI Express x16 slot you could use this as a perfect video card test bench. I also found the top handle to useful in carrying the T7 around. You don’t have any of the USB or microphone ports on the case but they do give you the option to add them if you would like. You also have the option to add a 120/140mm fan with a bracket available from Lian Li. Of course I never found the need for extra airflow; the open air design does a great job keeping everything cool.
Lian Li put together something so simple and easy that it’s hard to believe no one else has done it. Putting together the T7 was a little more complicated than it should have been, but once I had it together swapping out motherboard, heatsinks, and video cards was easy. The handle up top made the T7 easy to carry around and the open air design made for quiet and cool. This could even be a great rig for someone looking for something different to take to LAN parties. I am excited to see what else Lian Li has up their sleeve in the future.
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