Lian-Li PC-A04B

When the developers preview of Windows 8 came out, I download and installed it in a couple of different VM systems.  Because I was running it not only in a VM, but I had to operate through remote desktop, the navigation experience turned out to be a bit less than desirable.  I had some extra hardware around so I wanted to put together a small system to test it with, and when I was done with the testing, I wanted to be able to repurpose the hardware to a small server for my daughter to replace her V1.

I had most of the hardware I needed to build the system except for a case.  I wanted a small/mid case that would not only suit my needs now, but hold enough drives so when I was done it would make a great server case.  I set a max budget of $120 and wanted something that held at least 6 drives.  After my exhaustive search, I came up the Lian-Li PC-A04B.  This case actually holds 7 drives, has two 120mm fans in the front and one 120mm fan on the top.  The construction was signature Lian-Li with vibration mounts for the drives, great air flow, and excellent over overall construction.  I was able to get the case from Newegg for $109 so it met all the criteria I set for myself and more.

The dimensions on the Newegg site are wrong and the actual case size is listed below.  Although it fits somewhere between a mini tower and a mid tower, It surprisingly small for a 7 drive case.

(W) 7.40 x (H) 15.19 x (D) 18.11
(W) 188mm x (H) 386mm x (D) 460mm

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112316

http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=561&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=63&g=spec

 

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As you can see from the pictures, it has a bottom mount power supply, and a USB 3 motherboard header.  There is also a 80mm air vent in the rear providing an inlet of outside air blowing across the CPU and out the top of the case.

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The case is actually very roomy and holds a Micro ATX board, power supply, and of course 7 drives along with two 5.25 in bays for either drive expansion or a couple of DVD drives.

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Drive Cages are removable so the drives can be assembled outside the system.  Tool-less would have been nice but I really like the sturdiness of their vibration mounting systems.

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Two tool-less 5.25 drive bays.

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One 120mm fan top mounted.

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Audio, USB 3, and eSata connections along with the power and reset switch sit at the top of the case.

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Conclusion

Below is what the completed project looked like when it was done.  It is a great blend of a smaller size, tons of drive space, great construction, and excellent air flow.  Throw in a RAID card and 6 more drives in this thing and you have got yourself a killer server.  If you are looking for a server case that you are going to put in your living room and not take up too much room, or maybe a case for your desktop PC and plan to use a Micro-ATX board, definitely check this one out as I was very impressed with this case.

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