Lian Li PC-A51 Review
The PC-A51 is able to take tower coolers up to 175mm in height which is pretty damn good for a case this size, but then it is quite wide at 230mm.
We know the PC-A51 can take both 120mm and 240mm fans in the roof, but what of water cooling. Well as we well know, the critical measurement of is the distance between the top of the motherboard and the interior roof of the case. Here we find it to be 65mm which is very generous indeed. This means that with case fans measuring 25mm deep any rad up to 35mm should fit just fine which leaves you quite a deal of choice. It also means that a good many of the 240mm rad based AIOs will fit, including the Eisberg 240L and Nepton 240M shown below. Sadly the H105 with a rad measuring 38mm thick is not an option. The other measurement that is of critical importance for those planning to foist a massive GPU in here is the distance between the GPU and the PSU. Lian Li say the max GPU length is 280mm extending to 400mm with the drive bays removed, and while this is true in principal, in practice we found that when using the top slot of a standard ATX board (utilising the 3rd PCI slot at the rear) even using a 150mm PSU a GPU card of 180mm would be butted right up against it and as such would be a no go once the cables and cooler were taken into account. If you have a board where the GPU occupies a higher PCI slot and so clears the roof of the PSU then there should be less of a problem, however you are still likely to be conflicting with the PSU cable management hole.
We've shown the PC-A51 with our Nepton 240m just to show how much room there is here. When fitting a rad into the roof you often find the 8 pin CPU cable and plug can be an issue, but we're pleased to report all went well in our build. Obviously if you push things with a thicker rad you're going to have to do a bit of strategic wiggling with the cable but it should still fit just fine. We've set the fans as extract as hot air rises, but with the reverse airflow you might want to experiment to see what gets the best results. The PC-A51 doesn't formally support 240 rads, but there does appear to be the space up there to get one in. Still if there's no formal support you do so at the risk of finding it a non starter.
With all but the top HDD tray removed we think it's also feasible to get a 140mm rad in the front position. Remembering of course that it would need to be set as extract. This would mean it would be entirely possible to have a 240mm AIO in the roof and a 140mm AIO such as the Kraken X40 in the front linked to NZXTs excellent G10 bracket providing cooling for your GPU. Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!