titleA number of Lian Li chassis have made their way through the offices of LanOC. Each time they manage to surprise and impress us with something new or innovative. Today we get to take a look at their new PC-7HX mid tower chassis and see how it compares, not only to their own cases, but also to those of competitors. We expect it to have the same Lian Li quality that we have come to expect, but will this be your next case? Lets find out.

Product Name: Lian Li PC-7HX

Review Sample Provided by: Lian Li

Written by: Wes, Brennon

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Model

PC-7H

Case Type

Mid tower chassis

Dimensions

(W) 210mm x (H) 473mm x (D) 490mm

Front bezel Material

Aluminum

Color

Internal Black / Silver / Black

Side Panel

Aluminum

Body Material

Aluminum

Net Weight

5.8KG

5.25" drive bay (External)

3

3.5" drive bay (External)

None

HDD bay

3.5-Inch HDD x4 / 2.5-Inch HDD x1

Expansion Slot

8

Motherboard

ATX / Micro ATX

System Fan (Front)

140mm Fan x2

System Fan (Top)

None

System Fan (Rear)

120mm Fan x1

I/O Ports

USB 3.0 x2 / HD Audio

Maximum Compatibility

VGA Card length: 400mm

PSU length: 250mm

CPU cooler height: 170mm

Package Dimensions

(W) 266mm x (H) 505mm x (D) 568mm

Gross Weight

7KG



Packaging

The packaging for the PC-7HX is simple and effective. On the front of the simple cardboard brown packaging we see a simple drawing of the case and an explanation of what to expect. There is a stripe of solid green with the product name listed and a Lian Li logo as well. Last but not least we can see the seal of quality stating that the product was made in Taiwan. On one side of the packaging we can see a short list of product specifications in a few different languages.

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Upon opening the package we find the case itself tucked away in a plastic sleeve to protect that new product finish that we all know and love. The wrapped product is snuggled securely in between two pieces of foam to keep it safe in transit. Also inside the box we see two pieces of paper with different information on them. The first is an installation guide that shows you what goes where and how to install.

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Outside

Backing up and checking out the PC-7HX there isn’t a doubt that this is a fairly basic case from Lian Li. This is to be expected somewhat as Lian Li avoids the use of plastic and sticks with a clean look on their cases. The PC-7HX does have a nice rounded edge around the front of the case as well as the rounded off edge leading into the large mesh area on the front of the case. Up a little higher you have three 5.25 inch drive bays, enough for a dual bay reservoir and a disc drive if you need one. The left side panel is fairly simple as well with one mesh opening right above the GPU area for ventilation, giving you an area to add a fan to blow cool air in right on top of your video cards if you need it.

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I mentioned before the rounded edges on the front but Lian Li did slip in their power and hard drive LED’s right there as well. They are hard to see both in pictures and in person meaning they blend in well keeping a clean look. Down at the bottom we do have a Lian Li logo, but nothing to in your face.

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There isn’t much at all to be said about the right side of the case. There aren’t any windows or vents here. All you have is a basic aluminum side panel, in other words, all you need.

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Up on the top of the case we have a couple things going on. First you have the front I/O panel hidden behind a small aluminium door. With it flipped up you will find your headphone and microphone ports along with two USB 3.0 ports. The flap can be a little tight but it is great that they don’t go with something plastic here, you know it will hold up. To the right of the flap are the reset and power buttons. They aren’t anything exciting really, they are both black plastic buttons with the power button being much larger than the reset. A little farther back you will see two boxes that look like they could fit fans but are completely blocked off. This is the case, they did leave the option to install two fans here but they covered them up. I would have loved to see a mesh area up top for more airflow and to match the front and side panels.

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The back of the PC-7HX is completely blacked out, all the way to the fan and fan grill as well. its really a shame that no one will see it in everyday use. You have two grommeted water cooling holes just under the fan for anyone who might want to mount their water cooling on the back of the case. With 8 PIC slots they take up a good portion of the back and that means as long as your motherboard supports it you can run quad GPU’s in the PC-7HX. Last but not least but the power supply is tucked down at the bottom with a while selection of mounting hole options as well. Just to the right of the power supply they have vented the area for a little more air flow.

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Down on the bottom you have one fan filter keeping your power supply clean. Unlike some other Lian Li cases they went with a very basic foot for the PC-7HX, this case could get a little more flash with a nice aluminum foot to grab your attention.

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Inside

Starting on the back side of the inside I was first surprised at home much I could see through the case. Beyond the motherboard tray there isn’t much to see on the back half of the case. At just over a half inch, the space behind the motherboard tray was extremely limited as well. I have a feeling that wiring it going to have to stay away from the back of the motherboard tray, at least the thick 24 pin cable.

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Around on the business side of things and with the side panel back on things look a lot better. The black side panel does a good job of hiding all of the open area in the case. I like that Lian Li went ahead and left the area between the three 5.25 inch drive bays and the hard drive cage open, this leaves as much room as we need for a long video card. The all blacked out look that I mentioned when looking at the back of the case can be seen here as well and it looks good, its a shame that no one can see it without a side panel window.

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Down in the bottom right corner you have four 3.5 inch drive bays with a 2.5 inch drive bay up on top. For the 3.5 inch bays, Lian Li went with their rubber mount system that we have seen in the past. You basically screw down a rubber mount on each corner of the hard drive and then it slides right into the cage. I would love to see room for one more SSD with the popularity of SSD’s now. Its nice to have a little expandability.

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Up top for the 5.25 inch drive bays we have two with Lian Li’s tool-less design and one that still requires screws. This is important because installing a water cooling reservoir wouldn’t work with the tool-less design very well.

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The rear fan actually has fan covers on both sides, I think this was a nice touch especially considering they are both black and blend in with the rest of the case. The Power cord for the fan is flat in design and flexible making it easy to hide we well, even if you can see the cord the black finish shouldn’t grab your attention to easily.

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Down on the bottom of the case I think it is interesting that they went with louvre’s for the power supply intake. Normally we would see a mesh or even vents cut out.

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Installation/Performance

Installing our test system in Lian Li cases in the past has always been interesting. Lian Li always takes a different approach than you see from most other manufactures. Its not a bad thing at all, but when you build systems all day it is a pleasant change of pace. The PC-7HX was fairly simple when it comes to Lian Li standards really. The power supply is mounted on the bottom, there is actually a normal hard drive cage, and the case is oriented in the traditional way. See our last Lian Li experience included an odd design that was able to fit an e-atx motherboard into a mid tower case. The PC-7HX is a lot more mainstream.

Installing our motherboard and power supply went smoothly. I was actually surprised that our Noctua heatsink didn’t cause any clearance issues with the top of the case but there was actually a little room left. But with that in mind, the two fan mounts up top wouldn’t work with this heatsink installed unless you had very low profile fans.

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When it came to installing our GTX 580 we still had extra room left over for a longer video card if we needed it. The hard drive cage was a little different than what we have seen in the past. There are four 3.5 inch hard drive mounts that use the screws with rubber mounts that slide into the hard drive cage. This won’t work with SSD’s though so they did include a single SSD mount on top of the drive cage, those looking to install more than one 2.5 inch drive will be left wanting though. The 5.25 inch bays sport the easy to use tool-less mounts as well.

It wasn’t until I got into wiring that I found any issues at all with the PC-7HX really but even then it wasn’t anything more than what we would see on every case a few years ago. The space between the motherboard tray and the back panel was a little tighter than I would prefer leaving me to keep some things on the front half of the case, effecting how clean the install looked.

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With everything installed and up and running I had a chance to look at the cooling in the PC-7HX. With the two 140mm fans up front pushing air in and the one fan on the rear blowing air out there is without a doubt a positive air pressure in the case meaning extra air will vent out of the side panel ventilation and PCI slot vents. I wish the two fan mounts up top were mesh as I think this would make for even better cooling. Considering it all it was still not too bad and with the use of fairly large fans the noise levels were reasonable.

 


Overall and FV

For years Lian Li has had a specific reputation with their cases. When you buy a Lian Li case you expect high quality, low weight, and an all aluminium design. Over the past few years, Lian Li has branched out, seeming board almost, and pushed out a bunch of unique cases of various designs. When I saw the PC-7HX I was reminded of the Lian Li cases of old. This isn’t to say that their new cases haven’t been great, but there is something to be said for the simplicity that their old cases used to have. The PC-7HX looks great with its rounded edges around the mesh grill on the front of the case. I would love to see this same model with a windowed side panel, but beyond that I wouldn’t change anything on the outside.

The best way I can explain the case as a whole is you are going to get everything you need and nothing you don’t. That means this is a no frills Lian Li case. With a price that is almost in line with their all steel Lancool cases, its hard to fault them for keeping it simple. My only two complaints with the case where the lack of room for wire management behind the motherboard tray and the fact that it only supports one 2.5 inch drive. Nether issue should prevent you from getting the case, unless of course you plan on running two SSD’s in RAID. At a price just under $100, its not the cheapest case but for an all aluminium Lian Li its actually a good deal. Lian Li fans will jump all over this for their budget builds.

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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: #29655 27 Feb 2013 23:25
Todays case review, the Lian Li PC-7HX
Plague's Avatar
Plague replied the topic: #29656 28 Feb 2013 01:22
Ok, I have to say it. Fractal Design mini arc? I looks a lot like it with a few changes.



I still think the Fractal Design looks better. :)

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