Finally, we come to the enthusiast segment, which along with the high end, is home to Lian Li’s best attempts at creating desirable cases, with these ever so slightly more expensive. For this price premium, however, you get more flash, more features aimed at the gamer in you. True, the gamer must be willing to transport a case possibly heavier than himself, and will expect only the best for the price he payed. Are these cases worth it? Let’s take a look.
The Lian Li P80 Armoursuit: because a manly case needs a manly name. While obviously large, the P80 fails to distinguish itself from the Lian Li high-end cases. Sure, it has a plastic shell on top that makes it look less conservative, more orientated towards gamers, but it feels flimsy, one thing Lian Li cases have a reputation for not being. On the inside it’s more of the same. With almost exactly the same dimensions and internals as the A7110, you’d think the P80 does everything right, but you’d be wrong. The P80 manages to fit less: only space for 1 PSU, only support for 6 hard drives, a big spacey bit at the bottom of the case for no apparent reason whatsoever – you really get the sense that this case was rushed. Sure, the hard drives can be mounted anywhere at the front of the case thanks to the two removable hard drive racks capable of holding 3 hard drives each, but this is a feature found on the Aerocool Masstige, far from a high-end case, and definitely not what you’d expect to see in a review of such a high-end case.
“Ultimate Gaming case.” This is how Lian Li chooses to market its latest enthusiast level case, the X2000. It has a unique shape, tall and thin, not exactly what you would expect, but not ugly at all. Starting with the good points first, the case has space for the highest-end hardware, and removes all obstructions to installing it, such as the crossbar and extractor fan on previous cases, making installation a breeze, a welcome feature far too rare in Lian Li cases. In a surprising move, the 6 hard drive bays are indeed well ventilated, with an intake and exhaust fan making an appearance, and the addition of sound insulating material is a welcome sight. This, however, is where the good points end, and an otherwise brilliant case is marred. Take, for example, the front aluminium cover. It looks great, but is very loosely secured by 4 plastic clips. When spending this amount of money on a case, you don’t expect to see plastic anywhere near the case, and this was the first of many disappointments. The second also stems from the front cover, namely the sideways-facing 5.25″ bays akin to those on the V351. It’s a stupid idea, come on Lian Li, get rid of it! Lastly, the power supply area which is situated at the top of the case. Besides only supporting 1 PSU,there is an area of space above the PSU mount that serves no purpose whatsoever. There really is no point to it. It’s as though Lian Li had plans for it, and somehow forgot them on the way. Disappointing – only personal preference will make anyone buy this case. It’s good, but it’s not great, and at this level from a manufacturer like Lian Li, you expect absolutely mindblowing.
So would you buy a case in the enthusiast range? Neither of these cases stand out, make a statement, or do what they mean to very well, but they do have an air of quality about them (for the most part) that you just don’t get from other cases.