Lian Li PC-8FI Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 21, 2010
Lian Li is famous for their (sometimes expensive) aluminum cases. Today we are taking a look at one of their latest mainstream mid-tower models, the PC-8FI, which comes at a very attractive price. Check it out.
The PC-8FI is available in three different colors: black (PC-8FI B), red (PC-8FI R), or silver (PC-8FI A). The black and silver versions are serious-looking, while the red version is targeted to AMD fans, featuring a spider-shaped acrylic window on its left panel. Because of that, the red version is more expensive than the black and silver versions (USD 190 vs. USD 130 on the day we published this review).
We reviewed the black version and, as you can see in Figures 1 and 2, both side panels are solid.
The front panel doesn’t have a door and has three 5.25” bays. Two 120 mm fans (Lian Li LI121225SL-B4-C) spinning at 1,200 rpm are present on the bottom part of the front panel, glowing blue when turned on. These fans use a three-pin fan connector, allowing you to monitor their speed if you connect them to your motherboard. The case comes with adapters if you want to install them on your power supply instead. These fans come with air filters, and access to them is done by removing the front panel, which comes out very easily.
On the top panel of the Lian Li PC-8FI you will find two USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA port, and the audio jacks. The USB 3.0 ports use regular USB A connectors on their other end, so you will need to install them to USB 3.0 ports located on the motherboard rear panel. To pass the USB 3.0 cables to the outside of the case, you will need to use one of the expansion slots and cover it with a special cover that comes with the product. If your motherboard doesn’t have four USB 3.0 ports on its rear panel, you can use two internal USB 2.0 ports of your motherboard, using the provided adapter.
The PC-8FI comes with a place for you to install a 140 mm fan on its top panel, which comes covered with an aluminum part. The case comes with a mesh to be used with this optional top fan.
On its bottom panel, the PC-8FI comes with an air filter matching the vents used by the power supply. This filter is easily removed from outside the case.
The rear panel features another 120 mm fan, identical to the ones available on the front panel, except that it doesn’t glow when turned on.
The PC-8FI features eight expansion slots, a feature rarely seen in mid-tower cases. This allows you to install three dual-slot video cards in your computer, provided you have a motherboard with at least three PCI Express x16 slots, of course. These slots come with vented slot covers.
Two holes protected with rubber covers for liquid cooling solutions are available. The power supply goes at the bottom of the case.
As you can see in Figure 10, the rear panel and the interior of the PC-8FI aren’t painted black, but since this is an aluminum case, the plain aluminum aspect isn’t bad at all.
The PC-8FI comes with a tab for you to install a padlock or a warranty seal to prevent unauthorized people from opening the computer.
Let’s now take a look inside the Lian Li PC-8FI.
The side panels of the PC-8FI are attached to the chassis using silver thumbscrews. In Figure 11, you can see inside the Lian Li PC-8FI. The motherboard tray has a big hole around the area where the CPU is installed, allowing access to the backplate of the CPU cooler, so you can replace the cooler without having to remove the motherboard. The motherboard tray has several holes, allowing you to easily route and hide cables behind the tray. It also doesn’t go all the way to the front panel or to the bottom panel, making it easier to route cables.
The case comes with strong, individual, screwless fastening mechanisms for expansion cards. In fact, the mechanisms used in the PC-8FI (and in the PC-X2000F and PC-X900, as they are the same) are the best we’ve seen to date. The eight slot, however, doesn’t have one of these mechanisms and you need to fasten expansion cards in this slot using a thumbscrew.
As you know, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case, and the PC-8FI supports power supplies up to 11” (280 mm) long.
The product comes with a special bracket to hold the power supply in place, just like the PC-X2000F and PC-X900. In the PC-8FI you can install the power supply with its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you will have to decide if you want the power supply to be pulling cool air from outside the case (fan facing down) or hot air from inside the motherboard compartment (fan facing up).
The PC-8FI comes with a cable holders for you to fasten and organize the power supply cables.
The Lian Li PC-8FI comes with three 5.25” external bays. The top two bays come with screwless installation mechanisms, but you will have to use regular screws (the case comes with a set of silver thumbscrews) on the bottom 5.25” bay. The bottom 5.25” bay comes also with an adapter for you to install an external 3.5” device, such as a floppy disk drive, memory card reader, or fan controller.
There are six 3.5” internal bays, and to install hard drives you need to attach four thumbscrews and four rubber rings to each drive. Then, all you need to do is to slide the hard drive in the bay you want to use, but before you need to unlock the latch that holds all hard drives in place, locking it back after you are do installing the hard drives. The hard drive cage is removable, what may help you if you have several hard drives to install.
The PC-8FI comes with one 3.5”-to-2.5” adapter, allowing you to install one laptop hard drive or one SSD unit.
The main specs for the Lian Li PC-8FI case include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Lian Li PC-8FI is nice mid-tower aluminum case, featuring eight expansion slots, feature usually found only on more expensive cases. It comes with a terrific price tag for an all-aluminum case, deserving our Golden Award.