The box comes with two pre-cut carrying handles, which is.....handy. Sorry, I couldn't resist. The chassis is wedged between two foam inserts and wrapped in a plastic bag. Everything fitted snugly and there were no loose items within the box. Removing the chassis from the external packaging took some effort, due to the size of the box.
On removing the chassis from the box, I found that the cardboard carton containing the screws etc was placed inside of the chassis and secured with a tie wrap to stop it bouncing around within the chassis.
Closer inspection of the contents within the little box revealed a plethora of screws, bolts and assorted items. I have included a list of the accessories below:
The X2000's design is quite different from most full towers, with a tall and shallow structure. The case is made from anodised black Aluminium and is very light considering its size. According to Lian Li, this chassis is designed to blend into the living room, and resemble multi-media speakers. Now I have a bone to pick with these claims, as the sheer size of the chassis wouldn't allow it to blend into anything but the largest of rooms. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, because the styling of the chassis is very pleasing to the eye, and is bound to strike up a few conversations amongst friends.
The front panel, made from black anodised Aluminium, is adorned only with a silver stripe and a silver Lian Li badge. There isn't even a DVD or floppy slot to spoil the clean lines of the front panel and it looks great for it. The business end, the rear panel, looks superb too, with matching screws on the PSU tray and fan grilles, giving a very finished and professional look to the rear. Cooling-wise at the rear, there are two 80mm and one 140mm blowholes, complete with Lian Li fans and grilles. Lian Li have provided four pass-through holes for water-cooling tubing and they are complete with black rubber grommets. For users of 3/4" tubing, the fit would be incredibly snug though. There are also anodised vented PCI covers on each of the PCI slots, which is a welcome addition. A lot of case manufacturers' neglect the detail finishes on the rear of their cases, but we are glad to say that Lian Li are not one of these.
In case you were wondering where the optical drives were located on the case, this is one of the innovative features we mentioned in the introduction earlier. As the case is not much wider than a standard ATX motherboard, Lian Li decided to side mount the optical drive bays, and have even allowed for either side of the case to be used. The side panels have a hole cut for the drives bays, and it is a superb finish on them with only the smallest of gaps between surfaces when the panel is fixed in place. You can see on the images below the air intake grilles (which feed the three 140mm fans fitted under the front panel) on either side of the case. Lian Li used a black metal mesh and it makes the case look quite sporty.
The top panel is just as well finished, with two simple black switches for the reset and power, which tie in with the simple theme of the case nicely. The peripheral slots are hidden by a lift up cover which is also in keeping with the case styling. There are four USB, one Firewire, and one E-SATA slots, plus the usual audio in/out 3.5mm jacks under the cover.
Let's start at the front and work our way around the case. Underneath the front panel are three 140mm fans and the fan controller. Access under the panel is easily achieved by pulling the panel away from the chassis. It's worth noting that it does come away quite easily, and those with young children may want to take note of this. To gain access to the fan controller, which is a simple three way switch, you need to remove the front panel and then slide out the massive dust cover. The dust cover is a plastic frame with nylon mesh acting as the filter. I do think Lian Li could have chosen better placement for the controller and made it more easily accessible as you will have to remove both the front panel and the dust cover to gain access.
Moving onto the sides, the side panels are made of one single piece of Aluminium, and they have are fixed in place using a sliding locking mechanism, which is fastened using a single thumbscrew. The panels have foam stuck on the interior face, and this is intended to aid noise dampening.
From the left interior view we can see the compartmentalised design of the X2000. There are three main compartments, with separate areas for the PSU & optical drives, motherboard & add-on cards, and then the hard drives.
Then if we move around to the right side of the case, we can see the removable motherboard tray, and once again the optical/ floppy drive bays. The motherboard tray is secured by three screws along the top of the tray and two thumb screws on the rear outer face. Removal is painless and simple, and is a welcome addition.
Internal Impressions - A closer look
SATA Hard Drive Hot Swap Bays
The X2000 features six hard drive bays, with two three bay hot swap boards. The boards take care of your drives SATA and power connections, and you connect the cables from the motherboard and PSU to the rear of the boards. A welcome bonus to this setup is the fact that you can power three drives from just the one molex connector on the board. Access to the rear of the boards is gained from the right hand side of the case, when the side panel is removed. Fixing the drives in the bay is achieved by attaching the supplied handles to the drive and then slotting it into an empty bay - all you then do to lock it is push down two clips. This system works brilliantly. Not only does it allow you to swap out hard drives quickly and painlessly, it provides an easy way to keep drive cables in check.
The X2000 comes equipped with three 140mm fans to the front, and one 140mm to the rear. In addition to this, there are two 80mm fans at the rear. The three front fans act as air intake's, and blow air into the main chamber and the hard drive compartment. The 140mm fan at the rear is positioned in line with the CPU and acts as an exhaust for the hot air. The two 80mm fans are positioned in line with the drive bay and exhaust hot air from there. All fans are fitted with grilles and this gives the case a finished feel. In addition to the fitted fans, the PSU bay has a slotted floor, which will allow hot air created in the main chamber to be exhausted through the PSU fans. We will discuss how effective this cooling setup is in our testing results page.
To get a feel of how the case performs and feels when in use I built up a system within the X2000. Building the system was quite easy and took me a little less time than normal. The only niggly bit was fitting the DVD drive, and even then it wasn't a major issue. This was due to having to route the cable behind the drive and through the hole in the drive bay. The components used were as follows:
The X2000 is certainly a beast of a case. It commands attention and oozes simplistic style. When I look at the X2000, it reminds me of an Italian supercar, with it's sleek lines and the attention to small details that Lian Li have made. Having said that though, just like an Italian supercar, not everything is perfect.
When I was building the rig up for testing, I found that the options for cable management were very limited within the case. I also found the cables they used for the I/O panel on the top of the case to be quite ugly - a much better alternative would have been for Lian Li to use black or braided cable, so it would be more in keeping with the overall styling of the case. Whilst this is a fairly minor niggle, I was more concerned with the available options with the cable management.
I like to spend time getting all cables organised and tidy...not only does it look better but it improves airflow through the case. Although Lian Li provided a couple of tie wraps and clips, there just wasn't anywhere where you could route most of the cables out of view, except for the SATA data and power cables, as they can be very easily hidden behind the SATA cages. Whilst you can get a tidy finish, you cannot avoid most cables being bunched up in view. I do feel however that I could have achieved a tidier finish than I did if I had more time to devote to the task.
One other thing worth mentioning is the placement of the I/O panel and power/reset switches. As they are located on the top of the case, you are limited to where you can place the case and under the desk is certainly not an option. I am sure Lian Li could have placed the panel and switches on either case side, which would have still left a clean look on the front panel.
Now let's talk about why I fell in love with this case! As mentioned previously, the styling is nothing short of superb. The build quality is also of the Lian Li usual standard, which is outstanding. When building the system, I was impressed with just how easy it was. The hard drive cages work brilliantly and save alot of hassle. The removable motherboard tray makes fitting the motherboard a piece of cake, and the PSU fitting was equally as simple. Even though the cable management options are limited, Lian Li have provided the relevant cut-outs and placed a rigid plastic grommet on these holes to save your fingers from cuts and scrapes.
Lian Li provided four 140mm and two 80mm fans as their cooling solution, and they are quite effective at keeping temperatures down. There was a noticeable difference in temperatures when using the different fan speed selections, with CPU temperatures varying as much as six degrees celsius from low to high speed settings. The fan controller is a welcome addition, but as with the top I/O panel and switches, Lian Li could have placed it better on the case. The massive dust filter works very well and is also a welcome addition. Within a couple of days usage, there was a visible layer of dust on the filter's nylon mesh so I know it works well. There should be space available to include an internal watercooling loop within the X2000 and if I had more time I would have investigated this further.
All in all, I feel that the minor niggles are far outweighed by the good points with this case. Lian Li have succeeded in making an attractive case with some really great features. Although the style, price and size of this case means that not everyone will appreciate it, you simply cannot dispute the quality which shines through. If you are looking for a case which is something out of the ordinary, want excellent quality and you don't mind paying a premium for this, then the X2000 is a very worthy consideration. The recommended retail price for the the X2000 is £305.
+ Excellent build quality
+ Hot swappable hard drive bays
+ Attention to detail and finish
+ Stylish design
+ Easy to build PC inside
+ Good airflow with supplied fans
+ Dust filter
+ Anodised internally and externally
* Cable Routing
* I/O & Switch placement
* Price limits the appeal
- Internal cables don't tie in with overall style
- Fan controller placement
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