LIAN LI PC-90 The Hammer Review

Up Close: Interior

LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer

 

Up Close:  Interior

The first time I took the left side panel off the PC-90 I thought for a minute I'd gone in the wrong side as what faced me for a moment looked like the reverse side of a motherboard tray.  What we see in fact is the 3.5" and 2.5" drive mounting racks.  In a break from the traditional method of stacking HDDs vertically in bays at the front of a case Lian Li have chosen an alternate solution in the form of 2 removable struts.  Each strut has mounting holes corresponding to either 2.5" drives or 3.5" drives, both on the front and on the reverse, meaning that when fully laden the struts between them can hold a total of 6x3.5" and 6x2.5" or a total of 12x2.5".  I think it's perhaps this feature that enables the PC-90 to maintain it's marginally diminutive size whist at the same time still allowing for the very largest Motherboards and longest GPUs.  Removing the left hand strut and central cable management strut by means of a few thumb bolts we gain a better view of the internals.   

LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer     LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer

 

Turning our attention to the rear of the case we see that the 10 vented expansion bays as well as the rear 120mm exhaust fan.  In true Lian Li style the interior of the case, like the rear and base is presented in naked high sheen Aluminium.  

LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer     LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer  

 

The front of the case interior is where we find the 140mm intake fans.  Two in total, with each being protected on the inside by a classic wire guard.  The front fans, like the rear 120 are fitted with removable 4pin molex adapters, allowing the user to choose whether to go straight to the PSU or into a convenient fan header.  Although not intended as a Watercooling case it looks very much to me like it would be an easy job to mount a 2x140mm rad and fans in this area.  enough room perhaps even for a push pull set up without encroaching on the space available for GPUs.  The picture below right shows the PSU mounting area.  Simple rubber strips provide sound isolation with rails running the full length of the roof and a total lack of obstructions meaning that any size PSU will fit up here with no problem what-so-ever.

LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer     LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer  

 

By now you may have noticed the cable management options provided by Lian Li, or rather the lack there of.  Aside from the 2 large cut outs in the Motherboard tray which are intended to give access to the rear of the CPU, (or CPUs, as this case can accommodate twin CPU Motherboards), there's not really a lot else.  The Motherboard tray ends some 10cms sort of the front of the case giving at least one place to feed the wires round but it's far from an elegant solution.  Turning the case around perhaps gives us a clearer view of the lack of cable management.  No holes, no grommets, no cable tie mounts, and worst of all, with just 12mm of clearance, no space to speak of.  

LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer     LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer  

 

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Most Recent Comments

24-04-2012, 07:19:46

tinytomlogan


Let's take a look at one of the latest offerings from LIAN LI. The PC-90. AKA "The Hammer"

Continue Reading

24-04-2012, 09:04:51

sheroo
I think you've been more than generous giving it a silver. I wouldn't pay that kind of money for a case, knowing that no matter how much effort I went to that the cabling is still gonna look like a dogs breakfast. Lian-Li need to take their quality and get more innovative the way Silverstone have.

24-04-2012, 09:07:50

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

I think you've been more than generous giving it a silver. I wouldn't pay that kind of money for a case, knowing that no matter how much effort I went to that the cabling is still gonna look like a dogs breakfast. Lian-Li need to take their quality and get more innovative the way Silverstone have.
Think you are missing the point of this case though fella, its deffo not a show off case, more a compact but still get a huge rig inside kinda case.

It fits HTPX and EBB boards (dual socket) and yet its still midtower!

24-04-2012, 10:43:47

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

Think you are missing the point of this case though fella, its deffo not a show off case, more a compact but still get a huge rig inside kinda case.

It fits HTPX and EBB boards (dual socket) and yet its still midtower!
Ok, but would you use this for your possible future dual socket setup? Or would that top mounted PSU and the cable spaghetti drive you nuts?

If they had left sufficient space behind the motherboard tray, and even mounted the hard drives behind it as well - then it'd be a different story.

24-04-2012, 11:24:22

CrissTM
Agree with u sheroo,

but if u can look at the results u will see that exactly the price range take the all thing down, ok the performance also.

And yeah, ill still buy the Silverstone Raven 02 (wich i have) 100x more.

Tom u r right with motherboard sizes, the raven does not suport this ones... but hey, for Ivy Bridge its TOP.

10x for a super review again !

24-04-2012, 15:27:53

tinytomlogan
F*#$ sake boys its a case for proffessional use!!

How can you not see that FFS?

24-04-2012, 15:36:11

I Hunta x
If the "professional" cared enough to build a tower as apposed to buy one from say dell then they would more than likely want it to be at least semi tidy. or are you implying most professionals who TAKE THE TIME to build there own tower dont care about the inside aslong as it looks sleek on the outside??

EDIT: i like the drive mounting personally but how hard would it be to put in some space behind the mobo tray so you can keep the wires for the mobo and stuff AWAY from the cables for the HDD's with them being in that position to make things easyer to swap in/out if something dies.

24-04-2012, 17:00:38

ionicle
i think that is a stunning case, full of features, and lian li's usual attention to detail, its smart, but understated, its sleak, but not flashy, its, in my eyes, damn-neer perfect.

24-04-2012, 18:47:08

badtaylorx
instead of naming it "the hammer",,,, maybe they should'of given it "the axe"

24-04-2012, 19:24:50

Ghosthud1
Functionality is what this case aims for guys.

This is obviously 100% driven towards the workstation side of computing, the big hdd columns are a dead giveaway lmao.

If lian li intend to release a case what should look good then they would include a nice side window with pre drilled cable routing holes.

It's a practical workstation case that is actually executed fairly well.

25-04-2012, 04:24:25

sheroo
Professional use or not it still could have been executed better. If you were to take the Lian Li name off it and it was made out of steel we wouldn't even be having this conversation - as you wouldn't even bother to review it - because it'd just look like any other oem carcass out there that by chance happened to fit a dual socket board.

25-04-2012, 05:22:48

YogevSkill
Solid ready to mod case, fits crazy big form factors out of the box.

overall 6.5/10 pre modded.

could be cheaper though...

25-04-2012, 06:09:36

King Damager
Lian Li cases are expensive. It's well known. But you buy quality. It's not like other Aluminium cases are particularly cheap...

I agree the cable management is a bit of a pain, however it's not the end of the world having to cut out some cable management holes, especially if you're going to spray the internals anyway (which I know plenty will)....

HDD storage is novel, and frankly it's a huge improvement for them to get so much into so little space.

Review says it scrapes a Silver, which I think is fair. It's probably at the bottom of the silver category, but probably deserves that position.

kd

25-04-2012, 07:21:47

Rastalovich
@Gary, does that mobo tray come out ?

25-04-2012, 17:08:21

jamdox
I just got this case's "little brother," the PC-100. Don't have the CPU yet, so I don't know about noise etc, but the rest of the build is in, and cable management was not a problem at all. And I don't have a modular PS.

The PC-100 has a "reversed" motherboard design, where the motherboard IO and the PCI slots lead out the front, then there's a grommeted track for passing the cables out the back, which is mostly a couple of 140mm fans.

This actually makes cable management very easy, since the 24-pin and video card cables get passed around the back of the mobo tray. All the unused cables fit behind the mobo tray, and there's a hole on the bottom where I routed all the cables for the case lights and switches, and the floor-mount SSDs.

The downside of the reversed motherboard is that centrifugal fan graphics cards blow out air that gets sucked back in. But my card has the down-fan style heat sink, so I expect it's not an issue.

The real brilliant aspect of this design is that I will never have an obsolete front IO panel. When I upgrade my motherboard, e.g. to a board with Thunderbolt, my "front" panel will have it.

I could go on. Basically, I think I got the better of the "Hammer Bros," especially on sale for $130.

Attachment 3592

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27-04-2012, 15:06:29

G-Dubs
@Rastalovich

No the Mobo tray isn't removable. Not without a Dremel any way

28-04-2012, 06:16:10

equk
cool review

I think it looks ok, the only weird thing is the drive mounting.

The 2x140mm radiator in front support is brilliant tho & the case looks nice from the outside.

it looks very much to me like it would be an easy job to mount a 2x140mm rad and fans in this area. enough room perhaps even for a push pull set up



Looks like there's loads of room in the bottom also for pump etc if you wanted to go watercooling.

The only problem I have had with lian-li brushed aluminium cases is vibration

28-04-2012, 08:29:51

Jujumonkey
Good review as usual mr Logan......... the build quality is lovely, and being a craftsman myself it makes my heart happy to see the pride they display in their quality of craftsmanship, it's a rare thing these days. The hard drive placement seems counter productive to the purpose of the case though, am i right in thinking that there's only room for 3 hard drives? A 3 drive raid system in a case that can hold a dual cpu board seems a little bit pointless

(edit) my mistake, it's 6 hard drives......... then yes i would say the case is fit for purpose and deserves its score

29-04-2012, 07:15:52

yassarikhan786
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jujumonkey View Post

Good review as usual mr Logan......... the build quality is lovely, and being a craftsman myself it makes my heart happy to see the pride they display in their quality of craftsmanship, it's a rare thing these days. The hard drive placement seems counter productive to the purpose of the case though, am i right in thinking that there's only room for 3 hard drives? A 3 drive raid system in a case that can hold a dual cpu board seems a little bit pointless

(edit) my mistake, it's 6 hard drives......... then yes i would say the case is fit for purpose and deserves its score
The review was by Gary

29-04-2012, 12:48:10

G-Dubs
Yup
Reply
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