Low-end cases

We use the term low-end here to refer to the case size and features at the exclusion of price. This is because low-end Lian Li cases are often priced on level with the highest end Raidmax/Aerocool cases. What we will look at in this segment is: are they worth it?

PC A03

A tiny case aimed at the LANner/HTPC user

A tiny case aimed at the LANner/HTPC user

An unconventional design no doubt.

An unconventional design no doubt.

A miniscule case that looks as boring as the beige office towers of old from the outside, the PC A03 is aimed at two markets. The first, the gamer who wants a small, portable case to take around to LANs with relative ease. The second market would be those consumers who want a smart-looking chassis for their HTPC setup. Now while the A03 is styled towards the latter, and indeed looks smart next to any Hi-Fi/decoder setup, gamers will ask why you brought your grandfather’s case to a LAN. Other major problems include limited drive bays, 3 x 3.5″ for hard drives, and 2 x 5.25″ for DVD drives et al. While many won’t need more than this, Lian Li have wasted space that could have accommodated far more. Lastly, albeit not least, the case is the wrong way around. In order for you to install the hardware, you remove the right hand side panel and mount the motherboard upside down. Is the Lian Li PC A03 worth buying over other cases in this bracket? No, not at all, move along.

PC7 Plus

When in doubt of appeal, add a big fan.

When in doubt of appeal, add a big fan.

Plain but functional, a hit with the sophisticated LANner

Plain but functional, a hit with the sophisticated LANner

Moving on to the black sheep of the Lian Li low range family, the PC 7 Plus. Rather than follow their usual method for building a case, Lian Li conformed with the creation of the PC 7 Plus, and the result is a case window, dominated by a massive 230mm fan. As we have learnt from the Aerocool Zero Degree “big-fan-on-side-of-case-is-pretty-must-buy-must-buy-now!” Even with this against-the-grain behaviour, Lian Li may have come up with a winning formula here. Take another idea that sells well, and improve on it. Taking account of the gamer market, the big fan, case lights, and chrome rivets that hold the side window in place appeal to the same market the cheaper brands do, but with the added bonus of legendary build quality that Lian Li is famous for. Relatively easy to carry around, with enough bays to suit the average gamer, and no wasted space, if this is how far your budget stretches, you would do well to consider the PC 7 Plus.

Now what you must understand is that these are not the only low-end Lian Li cases available, however they do represent the two extremes of Lian Li’s attempts to fill this market segment. One that will sell well, one that won’t sell at all, with the rest a mix in between.

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