Lian Li PC-O7S Review
We're not quite sure what to make of the Lian Li PC-O7S. Granted, it is one of the highest quality cases we've ever looked at, but then again, at a smidge under £360 it's also one of the most expensive cases we've looked at, so you'd expect it to be well made wouldn’t you. You'd also expect a certain degree of design flair, and it certainly has that. And then of course there's the versatility. How many cases do you know of that can be wall mounted and have the internal components arranged in such a way as to present face on to you, picture style when you view the case? If you don't want it wall mounted then you could always attach the included stand and mount it on the desk beside you, or perhaps fork out for the optional chrome feet and arrange it flat on the desk or home AV unit. Unlike the other cases in the series though, you'd better be prepared to give up a fair amount of real estate, because to mount it flat you're going to need an area measuring at least 514x585mm. If you're having trouble working that one out grab a tape and measure it out on your desk. Big, isn’t it! As you might imagine, the PC-O7S also has plenty of room inside. It can take standard ATX as well as the larger E-ATX and SP-ATX. There’s room for more storage than you can shake a stick at, with plenty of overt and covert options catered for. You can also get a 310mm long GPU in without having to take out the HDD rack, with this figure extending to 410mm with the rack removed.
So it brilliant but expensive then? Well no actually. It does fall short of brilliant by quite a bit. There isn't one big problem with this case as such, but there are quite a few small to medium sized ones. The first of these is that the cable that connects the PCI socket on the riser to the motherboard is only long enough to reach to the lowest Motherboard PCI slot. This isn't a huge issue if all your PCIs are the same speed, but you'd be mighty hacked off if your lower slots are slower and they're the only ones you can plug your GPU into.
The second issue is the dust. As the case is largely open at the front and rear with just broad weave mesh and no filters, it's very hard to keep the dust out, with the roof fans on extract, these holes are just basically hovering up all the dust in your room and depositing it into your beautiful case. Moving the fans to intake will establish a positive pressure in the case, but doing so goes against the laws of thermodynamics as any rising warm air will be forced back into the case.
The third real issue is the water cooling, or should we say "alleged water cooling". Ok so Lian Li don't make a big deal about the water cooling credentials of the case, but they do make a point of saying there's space for a radiator measuring 60x400x132mm (HxWxD). This, and the fact there's already 3x120mm fans up in the roof might make you think it'd be a doddle to pop a decent 360mm rad up there. The truth though is that although it can be done, it's going to be an uphill struggle. For starters, you're going to be limited to a fan under 35mm thick. Then there's the issue of the actual space available for the barbs and tubing at the end of the rad. you're pretty much going to have to use 90 degree fittings, which rules out AIOs for starters, and as there's not a lot of room or mounting points for reservoirs or pumps inside you're going to have to be pretty inventive in setting up a custom loop. If you're feeling adventurous and like a challenge, and the PC-O7S has got your dremel hand twitching then go for it, you'll most likely come out with something awesome looking. However, we suspect the sort of person that forks out £360 for a case would rather not start attacking it with a slither of spinning steel. We're willing to bet they'd rather it supported water cooling straight out of the box.
The last main issue is the effort it takes to get into the case, and the risk you take when doing so. That large tempered glass panel is heavy, and we mean heavy. Try to take it off with the case upright or for that matter wall mounted and you're going to wreck the fragile ally threads almost immediately, either that or crack the glass. Getting the case into its stand is also a pain in the anus, and is pretty much a two man job, and as the stand goes over the bottom of the glass door, if you want to do anything inside the case you're going to have to take the stand off first.
We suspect owning a PC-O7S might be a bit like owning a Ferrari. You have to appreciate it isn't perfect for everyday driving, you know it's going to take work to keep it looking clean and looking its best, and you know that sometimes it's going to infuriate you, but my god is it good to look at! Now its far from perfect and is eye wateringly expensive so we don't feel it is really worthy of the OC3D Gold Award. We have the funny feeling this case ascends those factors with the clientele that are actually considering purchasing this rather than just feeling bitter they cant afford it and trying to justify their disappointment by picking fault One thing we can all agree on is it is a very unique and strangely beautiful case so with this in mind we decided on the OC3D Innovation Award.