The outside of the PC-10N is fairly unexciting, but as soon as I opened it up I could tell right away there is more to the case. First, just like the outside of the case, everything inside is all aluminum. The first thing that catches your eye is the swinging fan door that lines up with the ventilation on the left side panel. It is held in place with thumbscrews but you can swing it open and install your two fans from its back side or lift up on it to remove it to give you access to install your motherboard. What really stands out as well is that other than that swinging door, everything else is pure aluminum in color, I would love to see Lian Li anodize the inside of the case to match the outside (or even another eye catching color), even if it doesn’t have a side panel window.
Starting up in the top right corner, the top two 5.25” bays are tool-less with a latching bar. I love the look of this design but I will admit that using it is a little harder than some of the easier tool-less designs. I also appreciate that you can remove these and use screws if you are more comfortable as well.
Down lower the PC-10N has two hard drive cages; each holds three 3.5” drives and one 2.5” drive. Lian Li stuck with a design that has worked very well for them in the past. You screw rubber mounts onto your drives and then you can slide them in the provided rails in each cage. There is a thumbscrew that you loosen up and lift on to open up the lock to make those rails available. This keeps all of your drives very secure, I doubt that any of the plastic designs would be anywhere near as solid. For 2.5” drives you mount them on the top of the drive cages with a simple design with the same rubber mounts, you attach them and then slide them into the holes, locking it in place. This isn’t as secure or creative as the 3.5” mounts, but it gets the job done. With SSD’s weighing a lot less than hard drives I doubt it will be an issue when traveling to a LAN for example.
The bottom mounted power supply uses the same rails that I have seen on other Lian Li cases in the past. All they do is hold it in place to keep it sliding side to side and the foam padding keeps any vibration from going through the whole case. Between this lifting the PSU up a little higher off the bottom of the case, and the weird angled vents under the power supply I have a feeling your PSU isn’t going to pull in very much for fresh air in from the bottom of your case.
I mentioned earlier that the PC-10N uses the rail design. This is a design that I saw Lian Li introduce this year at CES. The photo below shows what it is all about. Basically they drop the motherboard tray all together and just use bars going across for any areas that your motherboard might have a mounting screw. This means there isn’t a worry anymore for how large the access hole is on the back for example and it keeps weight and costs down as well.
With the new rail design I was very curious to see how Lian Li would handle things on the back side of the case. Obviously there isn’t a motherboard tray to hide things behind, but you can still put things behind the motherboard itself. The rail design does have a bit of a downside when it comes to wire management over a motherboard tray, in order for each to be strong they are thicker than a motherboard tray, even with the notches they provided in areas you will end up with less than a half inch of space to run your wires through with the side panel back on. We will see how this makes the installation more difficult in the next section.