titleWhen it comes to Mini ITX cases for use in portable LAN builds the selection leaves a lot to be desired. After taking a look at the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe I realized how Mini ITX has even more possibility’s now than back a few years ago when I was pushing it before. With that potential you are going to need a case to pack everything in and it will hopefully be easy to carry to LANs. This is where Lian Li is coming in with the PC-TU200. Its small form factor design and carrying handle have all the potential to be a perfect LAN case, of course if you can’t fit your cutting edge rig inside, it won’t matter. Let’s take a closer look and see what you can do with it.

Product Name: Lian Li PC-TU200

Review Sample Provided by: Lian Li

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Model

PC-TU200

Case Type

Mini Tower Chassis

Dimensions

(W) 220mm x (H) 320mm x (D) 360mm

Front bezel Material

Aluminum

Color

Black / Silver

Side Panel

Aluminum

Body Material

Aluminum

Net Weight

3.15KG

5.25" drive bay (External)

1

3.5" drive bay (External)

None

HDD bay

3.5-Inch HDD x4 / 2.5-Inch HDD x2 (One used in the 3.5-inch bay)

Expansion Slot

2

Motherboard

Mini-ITX / Mini-DTX

System Fan (Front)

140mm fan x1

System Fan (Top)

None

System Fan (Rear)

None

I/O Ports

e-SATA / USB3.0 x 2 / HD Audio

Maximum Compatibility

VGA Card length: 300mm

PSU length: 140mm

CPU cooler height: 80mm



Packaging

Packaging for the PC-TU200 is much like what we have seen from Lian Li in the past. Sticking with the adventurer theme, behind the case they have an airplane flying as well as an open highway. In our case we have the black version of the PC-TU200, but as you can see they have the silver version pictured on the front of the box. Alongside of the main image there are small detail photographs of the PC-TU200’s main features. Being such a small case, it was good to see they also included a picture of the inside of the case along with pointing out the full 300mm’s of room for a full length GPU. On the side they have full specifications in three different languages.

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Inside the PC-TU200 is wrapped in plastic and secured in the box with a plastic Styrofoam on each side. This is more than enough protection to keep it safe and sound in its long and abusive journey from Taiwan to the States.

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Outside

To address the elephant in the room, let’s start with the most obvious part of the PC-TU200, its top panel. Up top, Lian Li has mounted a large suitcase like handle to make carrying the case around. Not only is this fairly unique, it’s also the main reason I was excited to get my hands on this case. Being someone who finds myself at LANs often I love having something that is portable enough that I can grab in go. The handle on the PC-TU200 does just that.

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Around back you get a preview of how compact the inside of the case is when you see the rear I/O panel only a few inches away from the full sized power supply mount. You will also notice that the PSU mount is removable with four thumb screws, this will come in handy later when you sometimes need to access something, making sliding the PSU out of the way easier. Aside from the rear I/O and PSU holes you also have two vented PCI slots as well as the side panel latches. The two latches are locked in place by thumb screws to prevent you from detaching your side panel at the wrong time.

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Both left and right side panels are exactly the same and even interchangeable. Because of its size the side panels lack both side windows and ventilation. Both wouldn’t be very worthwhile considering how packed the inside of the case is.

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The bottom of the PC-TU200 has an interesting choice in feet. They went with small rounded feet. They will hold the case up off the ground for good air flow, but I would expect these to make it easier to slide on a plastic table at a LAN, we will find out for sure later in testing.

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The front of the PC-TU200 has the most going on but even then is still very clean looking. Down at the bottom you have microphone and headphone ports as well as an eSATA port and two USB 3.0 ports. The vents for the cases only 140mm fan take up a good portion of the front of the case but they did manage to slip a Lian-Li badge into the middle. Above the fan you have a plastic power and reset buttons that are both backlit when powered up. Last but not least you also have a disc drive cover made out of matching aluminum to the case.

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Inside

Taking out the thumbscrew that locks down the side panel and pulling on the level on the back to open up the door the first thing I notice is the PC_TU200’s interesting door latch design. They actually attach the door all the way around and the latch from the back just pushes from the inside out to pop it out. This means the doors can go in upside down or even swap sides if needed, this is because both doors are exactly the same.

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When taking a look at the space between the motherboard tray and the back panel it’s clear that we won’t be able to hide any cabling back here. We are limited to a quarter inch on space.

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Here is the view of the TU200’s four hot swap bays. I love that they only require two power connections. The space between this and the side panel is really tight still. Right angle SATA connections would be ideal but won’t work because all of the ports need to be flipped around. Hooking up the Molex power connections will be just as tight.

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The view from the other side really shows you how much room we are working with. Just imagine we still need to pack a full sized PSU, video card, hard drive, and motherboard into this space. You can see that Lian Li left space under the hard drive cage for a long video card. Up top, you also have that 5.25 inch drive bay almost hidden up top.

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The entire hard drive gage is attached with thumb screws. This makes it easy to remove both for easier installation of everything as well as for opening up more room if it’s needed. It is a little odd that you have to remove the entire bottom mount before you can remove the cage though. In this picture you can also see Lian Li’s unique hard drive mount design when you slide drives in and lock them in place by the thumb screw lock. You can also see the vented bottom of the case here for more ventilation. The only fan in the case is actually the fan mounted in front of the hard drive cage blowing cool air in.

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Here is the rest of the view of the inside of the TU200. Up top you can see how the handle is mounted by two screws along with a piece of steel for extra support, one for each side of the handle. As you can also see there is a small open area above the motherboard mount that is unused all together. It looks like it would have been a good fan location had it not been for the top carrying handle.

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Performance/Installation

The instructions for the PC-TU200 come in black and white and are fairly small, in proportion to the size of the case as well. There is only so much they can explain about a small box. But they do go into detail on how to work the side panels, hard drive cage, and how it all comes apart.

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We are packing the following components into the PC-TU200 for this build

Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini ITX Motherboard

Intel Sandy Bridge 2500

Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD

Nvidia GTX 670

In Win Commander 850 Watt PSU

Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR 3

Packing that powerful rig into a small case like the PC-TU200 is a challenge in itself. Installing the motherboard, CPU and ram was simple. I put it all together before dropping it into the case. For cooling space was VERY limited meaning I could go with some form of water cooling or the stock heatsink. The case only has the one fan location and at the time the hard drive cage was blocking the possibility of using and sealed water cooling kits. Next I put our video card into the case, being so long I had to remove the hard drive cage to install it around it after. For a PSU we went with something around the office, if I had my choice I would go with a new smaller PSU, but time was limited at the time. This normal sized PSU is a little too large for the PC-TU200, after wiring everything trying to pack the PSU in to bolt it down proved to be impossible without removing the hard drive cage. For me, this wasn’t a big deal because I wasn’t planning on running anything beyond the one SSD. But if you plan on running multiple hard drives, you have to make sure you have a smaller PSU. Going back to a trick I have used before, I double sided sticky taped the SSD up against the top 5.25 bay to keep it out of the way.

Even using a modular power supply we still ended up with a rats next of cables. Using zip ties to clean everything up helped, but without any place to hide the extra cables it was still a little messy. This is partly due to the cases small size and cables that are designed for large cases as well as the lack of room behind the motherboard tray.

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As mentioned previously, the area between the motherboard tray and side panel is basically useless for hiding any cables. I was able to tuck away a few small cables, but that was it.

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It wouldn’t be a proper lunchbox without artwork to match. I designed a lunchbox logo for one side of the case and on the other a put proper instructions on how to use our new creation, lift, pwn, repeat.

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As for the PC-TU200’s performance. The most obvious thing to cover was its portability. I was able to grab this rig and go to a LAN the next morning when combined with my Thermaltake Battle bag that we keep ready to go with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and cables. The handle up top along with the battle bag meant I was able to walk up a large set of stairs and open the door with my free hand, all in one trip.

Inside I put the rig to the limit gaming. I was concerned with the limited cooling that the one fan would offer. Surprisingly this wasn’t an issue at all for me, even when using a fairly high end GPU and a good CPU. I wouldn’t recommend going overboard with overclocking, but in this configuration there were no issues. Because of the single fan we had a second benefit, it is quiet! The only thing I could hear during normal use was the PSU fan and slight GPU noise when heavy in game. It was actually no worse than my gaming laptop.

 


Overall/Final Verdict

As a whole, the PC-TU200 is an interesting case. Once put together I don’t think you can’t find a better option for portability while still being able to fit such a powerful build inside of it. That being said, you really need to plan out your build before starting to build in this case. Specifically with the power supply, if you don’t plan on picking up a shorter PSU you will have to remove the hard drive cage just to fit everything like we did. Doing this will limit your storage options. I also wasn’t a fan of the amount of space behind the motherboard tray, even though there isn’t a window, this limits how much cabling you can hide to keep airflow in the case open. Once everything was together and I was past the issues with the PSU I really enjoyed my time with the PC-TU200. Paired up with the Thermaltake Battle Bag I was able to carry my whole setup into an event with one hand free for opening the door. Looking back to a few LAN’s that I have been at where you have to take your rig a long distance, both my back and feet would be very thankful of this rigs portability. That is why we did the case up in vinyl. This will be my portable LAN rig for some time in the future.

fv2recomended

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #26136 13 Jul 2012 20:13
A look at the Lian Li PC-TU200
Plague's Avatar
Plague replied the topic: #26154 14 Jul 2012 02:54
nice case of a lan box, but sound like a few people are already do build with it.
Majron's Avatar
Majron replied the topic: #34625 14 Apr 2014 08:30
Im totaly crazy about thie logo with person Lift,PWN,Repeat.
garfi3ld can you please send me clipart by mail please ?

thank you in advance
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #34631 15 Apr 2014 03:42
I'm happy to help, all I ask is that you come back and show us what it looks like on your build



Majron's Avatar
Majron replied the topic: #34634 15 Apr 2014 13:11
YOu have my word!
got problem with your attachment ..
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #34635 15 Apr 2014 13:30
its showing for me? What problem are you having?
Majron's Avatar
Majron replied the topic: #34636 15 Apr 2014 13:35
i see only :
[File Attachment: liftpwn.png]
Majron's Avatar
Majron replied the topic: #34637 15 Apr 2014 20:32
OK i got it !
Majron's Avatar
Majron replied the topic: #34695 04 May 2014 10:18
Hi,
as promised :)
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #34715 12 May 2014 19:26
NICE!

Thank you for following up as well, it looks great

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