LIAN LI PC-90 The Hammer Review
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.
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.
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.
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.