Lian Li TYR PC-X2000 Chassis Page: 1
Introduction Lian Li PC-X2000

The brand 'Lian Li' has become synonymous with excellent build quality and sleek, clean styles. Their chassis have become favourites with PC modders because of this. Some chassis manufacturers' go for the bling factor when they design their cases, forgetting that sometimes 'less is more' when it comes to style. Lian Li chassis' usually have the right mix of features, without being in your face with it. We shall see if the same holds true with their latest offering, the TYR PC-X2000, which our friends over at A One Distribution have kindly provided us with for this review. The X2000 is being touted by Lian Li as a gaming/HTPC chassis, and the specifications from their website are as follows:
 
 
Here's a video showcasing the new case from the Lian Li website:
  
 
The PC-X2000 incorporates some innovative design features, but we will discuss them further later on. First, let's move onto the packaging and contents.


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Packaging & Contents
 
When I took delivery of the chassis, the first word that sprung to mind was large! The box stands very tall when compared with others, and it is quite eye catching due to this. The front of the box features the chassis in all it's glory with pictures of the main features to the side. On the box sides, the chassis interiors are pictured with more information in text underneath. All in all, the external packaging is very descriptive, and uses real images of the chassis. I was eagerly anticipating viewing the contents after reading all the hype on the box. 
 

X2000 Box Front X2000 Side of box

 

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. 

 

Contents carton removed Contents secured

 

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: 

 
* A buzzer with motherboard header.
* 16x Motherboard stand-offs, 30x screws and a screw driver
* 7x PCI card holders with thumb screws
* 2x Clamps for cable management
* 26x HDD, 6x PSU & 8x CD fixing screws
* 6x Spare thumb screws
* 1x Mounting bracket for SSI CEB/EEB
* 2x Long SATA cables, 6x Normal SATA cables
* A plastic box for keeping spare screws etc.
* 6x SATA Drive Rails

 
Screws & Fittings SATA Cables 
SATA Drive Rails SATA Drive rail detail
 
On the whole, the chassis and extras were well packaged and secured safely in the box. The printed information on the exterior of the box is concise and highlights the major selling points. There was also an instruction pamphlet, with clear and legible text and images, and some promotional materials in the box.
 
Let's now take a closer look at the chassis, starting with the externals on the next page.


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External Impressions

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.

 

X2000 Front View X2000 Rear View

 

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.

 

X2000 Right Panel X2000 Left Panel

 

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. 

 

X2000 Top View X2000 Peripheral Ports

 
From the outside, the X2000 looks simply stunning. With the unusual dimensions and the mass of anodised black Aluminium, the case is very minimalist in style, but it also makes its presence felt. The finish to all surfaces is flawless. I even spent half an hour trying to find a single fault and drew a blank. Although the styling and finish is superb, there is a slight bugbear that we have with the overall design, but we will discuss this later in our conclusions.
 
Next we are going to take a look at the case innards - will the same level of craftmanship shine through there?
 


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Interior Impressions

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.

 

X2000 Front with filter fitted X2000 with filter removed

X2000 Front Fan Dust Cover X2000 140mm Front Fans Close Up

 

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.

 

X2000 Side Panel Inner X2000 Side Panel Locking Mechanism

 

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. 

 

X2000 Internal View 1 X2000 Compartmentalised design

 

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.

 

X2000 Right side View X2000 Mobo Tray RemovedX2000 Removable Motherboard Tray X2000 Mobo tray Fixing Positions

 
Let's head over the page to have a look at the X2000's internals.


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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.

 

X2000 SATA Hot Swap Drive Cages X2000 Rear of SATA BoardX2000 Hard Drive fitted with rail X2000 Hard drive fitted in place

 

Cooling

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.

 

X2000 Front 1400mm Fans X2000 Rear Fans

 
Optical/ Floppy Drive Bays
 
As already mentioned, the optical and floppy drive bays are placed in the top of the case, but are orientated so that the drives are sideways on. There are two 5.25"  and one 3.5" bay. The drive fronts can be facing either left or right due to the side panel cut-outs and the bay's design. Fitting the drives is a simple affair and Lian Li have provided screws which allow you to just slot the drives in. If you are using an IDE optical drive, fitting could prove a little harder than a SATA drive, due to the cable being larger and having to pass it through a hole in the 3.5" bay floor.  We would have liked to have seen Lian Li provide the Aluminium drive bezels with the case, so the drives can be stealthed, but they are available to purchase as an optional extra. Considering the cost of this case though, it would have been prudent to provide them as standard.
 
 
 X2000 Optical/Floppy Drive Bays X2000 Drive Bay With Bezels Removed
 X2000 DVD Screws Fitted X2000 DVD Fitted
 
 
PSU Bay
 
The PSU is housed next to the optical drive bays and it sits on two rubber strips that are stuck to the bay floor. The floor has a grille cut into it so hot air can be exhausted from the main compartment through the PSU fans. Fitting the PSU is quick and easy. The PSU cables are then passed through a pre-cut hole into the main chamber.
 
 
X2000 PSU Bay X2000 PSU Fitted
 
 
Next we will discuss testing the X2000 for noise output and cooling ability.


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Testing

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:

 

Asus P5Q 
Coolermaster Silent Pro M 700w PSU
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 - with Arctice Freezer 7 Pro HSF
Corsair Dominator PC-8500 4GB
ATI Radeon HD4850
2x 500gb Seagate Barracuda's in RAID 0 Array
Asus 20x DVD-RW DL
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit
 
For the purposes of testing, I ran everything at stock settings using the built in fan controller. The controller has three settings, low medium and high. To measure the full range of system temperatures, I used Everest Ultimate Edition. The temperatures recorded were:
 
 
Motherboard
CPU
CPU Core 1
CPU Core 2
CPU Core 3
CPU Core 4
GPU Diode (DispIO)
GPU Diode (MemIO)
GPU Diode (Shader)
 
 
I tested while the system was at idle and the CPU & GPU fans were running at stock speeds. This should give a good indication of how effective the different fan settings were on the X2000 with the supplied case fans.
 

 

 
 
As you can see from the results, there was a drop in all temperatures when changing from low to high fan speeds. We shall discuss this more in our conclusion.
 
Let's now discuss the noise levels at each fan speed. As Lian Li have labelled the case as a HTPC/Gaming solution, we have taken into consideration whether the noise generated would be acceptable when being used as a HTPC.
 
At low setting the noise is no more than a background hum, and I could hear the hard drives a lot more than the fans.
 
At medium setting, the fan noise was a little louder, but would be acceptable for a HTPC, where noisy cooling would not be acceptable.
 
At high setting, the fan noise was distinctly audible and may not be acceptable for a HTPC, as the noise could be heard in quiet moments of a movie.
 
So now we move on to our conclusion.


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Final Conclusion

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.

The Gripes

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.

 

X2000 Cables X2000 Rear with system built

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.

The Good

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.

The Good

+ 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

+ Weight

+ Anodised internally and externally

The Mediocre

* Cable Routing

* I/O & Switch placement

* Price limits the appeal

The Bad

- Internal cables don't tie in with overall style

- Fan controller placement

 

OC3D Recommended Award OC3D Innovation Award 

 

Our thanks to A One Distribution and Lian Li for providing us with this case for review.

 

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