LIAN LI PC-90 The Hammer Review

The build

LIAN LI PC-90  The Hammer

 

The Build

Building into the PC-90 is an unusual experience.  Not actually difficult so much as different.  This unusual experience is generated I think as a result of a the case having an unusual combination of genuinly useful (if not slightly odd) features and an relative absence of some of the things we've very much come to expect and take for granted, especially in a case of this pedigree and price.

With the struts removed to gain access tot he inside of the case the first job is to install the motherboard.  Now I've installed a few of these in my time, and this particular motherboard more times than I care to think about.  Without fail when building a PC the thing I find most annoying and fiddly are the motherboard screws.  Forever failing to engage in the hole or slipping into little nooks and crannies.  Well the boys at Lian Li have answered my prayers and done away with the classic Motherboard screw, instead replacing them with long thin thumb bolts.  The bolts have a cross head on the top so that after you've placed them easily by hand and started the thread off they can be gently tightened down.  Lian Li even include some longer ones to help get at the harder to get at places.

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

 

With the Motherboard in place it's time to install the PSU.  again a pleasant experience as a result of the removable rear mounting plate.  The PSU slides easily into position resting on the soft rubber isolation pads.  Next comes what I would normally call cable management, but as there's only 12mm behind the Motherboard and nowhere in particular to either secure or feed the cables I can't really call it management so much as "cable stuffing".  OK so there's no side window so no one is going to see the vipers nest that results, but good cable management isn't just about aesthetics, it's about airflow and poor cable management equals poor airflow.

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

 

With everything hooked up it's time to mount the CPU cooler and start finish off strategically stuffing those cables into little hidey holes, (I found the vacant 5.25" bay quite useful).  Lian Li do provide a central cable management strut to help with the unruly mess however In trying to use it I found it more trouble than it was worth.  I'm really not sure what they had in mind when they created it but I don't think it was cable management.  While on the subject of coolers it's worth noting that although Lian Li quote a max cooler height of 170mm this I think must be without the left hand and central strut in place.  Placing these struts reduces the max cooler height to about 155 without an internal mounted drive and 145mm if you have a drive mounted internally on the strut.

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

 

The hard drives themselves are mounted by means of screws with rubber isolation grommets into the base of the HDD.  The assembly is then slid into the corresponding holes on the strut.  From experience I found it best to attache the cables first as space is limited once the drives are mounted, and if you're unitising the attachment points on the inside of the struts it's near on impossible to attach the cables once the drive is mounted and the strut in place.  I won't pretend the whole drive mounting thing isn't more than a bit of a faff. 

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

Attachment 3591

Attachment 3590

Attachment 3589

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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