LIAN LI PC-90 The Hammer Review
Up Close: Exterior
Although not massive in comparison to some full size towers on the market, the PC-90 (sorry, I refuse to call it "The Hammer") is still pretty monolithic in it's appearance. The brushed Aluminium is finished in a black somewhere between satin and Matte. Light seems to fall into it, in fact so much so that it was actually a bit of a pain to photograph as my camera could not pick up a light reading from many angles. I wonder if Lian Li have been working with Lockheed Martin?
Both the sides and roof are devoid of any windows or fan grills, however the roof does have a removable section allowing the addition of a roof mounted fan should you so desire. The side panels are secured by means of knurled thumb screws, but also have small metal loop brackets allowing for them to be padlocked if theft of the internal hardware is a concern.
The front of the case is a simple affair, dominated by the large mesh grill protecting the two 140mm fans feeding air in the front of the case. Above the grill is a a simple line of I/Os in the form of 2xUSB3, a single eSATA and a set of audio jacks. The power switch is a thin strip of rubber, back lit with a blue LED, to double up as a power on light, so subtle and stealthy is it's appearance that it actually took me a few moments to work out that this was in fact the power switch. The PC-90 offers just 2 external 5.25" bays, with one already pre plumbed with a sleek optical drive bay cover and switch. Just a personal opinion, but I think drive bay covers such as this ought to be mandatory as nothing ruins the looks of a case more than the sight of an ugly optical drive.
Moving to the rear of the case we see that as with most Lian Li cases the brushed black has given way to naked Aluminium. The PSU is mounted at the top of the case old school style with Lian Li offering the ability to fit the PSU from the outside as well as the inside by virtue of having a removable mount secured by 4 thumb screws.
Beneath the PSU area we find the 120mm extract fan protected by a classic circular wire guard. To the left of this lies the rear I/O slot. Under the rear fan are 2 water-cooling tube ports each protected with a rubber grommet. The lower section of the rear of the case houses the 10 expansion card slots. each one having a removable vented slot protector.
I often think that it's round the back end of a case that we get an idea of the manufacturers Quality standards and attention to detail. What I mean is if they can be bothered to make the bit that's not seen as high a quality as the bits that are then things usually bode well. for that reason I've included a few close ups of the PCI slot protectors and would urge you also to re examine the picture of the PSU mounting plate and screws above left.