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Thread: Quick Look at the Lian Li PC-A20: i7 Build

  1. #1
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    Quick Look at the Lian Li PC-A20: i7 Build

    Was looking for a case to air cool an i7 / 920 build with the main criteria being noise control, decent air flow, potential room for future water cooling, and it needed to be "mature" (as in, rather boring - no bright lights, no fancy windows). I came across the Lian Li PC-A20, but could find little info on it. It's from Lian Li's Silent Series and is marketed as a midtower, but it's plenty large. It's pricey ... which is probably why it's not too popular - and many people don't want a door.

    I didn't take pics of the bare case, as I wasn't planning on posting a work log - they are available in the link above if you're interested. Originally I just sort of threw everything together and closed the door. But, my conscience got the better of me, and I did some work on the cables last night - at least enough so I'm not embarrassed to share some photos.

    This case has exceeded my expectations with respect to noise control, air flow, and appearance. Here are the pics ...


    Basic Silver Box - lightly brushed anodized finish, typical Lian Li quality





    There are two 140mm fans for front intake ... one at the bottom is stock, and I added the second one above the DVD drive (it came with the case for GPU cooling, but I didn't really see much cooling with it in that location).





    Pretty easy to do cable management ... this is without drilling any holes or doing any sleeving. Easy to hide everything behind the motherboard tray. The top and sides are lined with noise dampening material.





    Another view of the innards. I did use an extender for my 8-pin power connector to get a little more flexibility with hiding the cable.





    Mobo is ASUS P6T Deluxe with i7 920 CPU





    CPU Cooler is the Noctua NH-12P SE1336





    Memory is G.Skill tri-channel 1600MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.6V, 3 x 2GB





    Video Cards are EVGA GTX 260 Core 216, 55nm x 2





    PSU is the Corsair HX1000W modular model





    Fan Controller is a Scythe Kaze Master Ace




    And, in case you're wondering why I didn't remove the QC sticker, it just happens to be my husband's birthday, so I kept it for luck

  2. #2
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    Some Preliminary Performance Data

    Here's some data I've collected since I've been running this system. Please realize I am not saying this case is perfect for an overclocking maniac or hardcore 24/7 gamer. Just saying it performs better than I expected, and meets my needs.

    Note that ambient temps were between 23-24 degrees C during the following runs.

    Temps at idle - all stock/auto settings - memory timings input manually:




    Temps at load - max temp was 55 degrees C. While this was a short run, this is quite typical even after several hours of testing (OCCT Linpack, Prime 95, Orthos, gaming):



    Max Temps after 3DMark06 run, again 55 on the CPU, 65 on the GPUs - fan only at 40%



    Normally I run at 3.4GHz ... (20x170, Vcore 1.20) Temps after Prime 95 / Using the Real Temp 2.90 Sensor Test at 3.4 GHz showed 57 degrees max:



    I know this isn't exhaustive testing ... just some of the stuff I had available to post. I figured it was better to post some data, rather than just saying "my performance is okay." I've occasionally seen CPU temps in the 60s when gaming, and GPU temps will get in the 70s, but I haven't seen 80 yet.

    I have run the i7 up to 4.0 GHz, Vcore 1.41 (with turbo boost on, so it gets to about 4.2 GHz) - max temp was 73 degrees C. I didn't do any stability testing at this OC, other than a 3DMark06 run. Scored about 25.8k with the Video cards clocked to 736 MHz.
    Last edited by shazza; 01-10-2009 at 07:11 PM.

  3. #3
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    Seems like a very nice case. The only issue I see is the 1 "stock" front fan intake is located at the bottom and should cool the HDD's, but I don't see much allowing that air to come up to the CPU cooler. No top case fan either. It would seem to me that in the stock layout there would be minimal air intake to the top compartment. Putting a fan in the top bays like you said you did I would suspect to help considerably. Maybe you can test with and without it to see the difference.

  4. #4
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    Very clean work there...
    i5 3570k @ 4.4 | 16GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 @ 1866 | Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M | EVGA GTX 680 SC | Xigmatek Night Hawk | Seasonic X-850 | Win8 64 | Dell 2407 | Lian Li PC-V700

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayG30 View Post
    Seems like a very nice case. The only issue I see is the 1 "stock" front fan intake is located at the bottom and should cool the HDD's, but I don't see much allowing that air to come up to the CPU cooler. No top case fan either. It would seem to me that in the stock layout there would be minimal air intake to the top compartment. Putting a fan in the top bays like you said you did I would suspect to help considerably. Maybe you can test with and without it to see the difference.
    What most people do with Lian Li cases like this is have the bottom section (HDD and PSU) intake air from the front. While the top section (mobo) intakes from the rear.

    It helps with airflow a lot and because of the divider the two different sections won't interfere with each other while having airflow going seperate ways.
    Canon 5D Mark II (Canon 50mm f/1.2L | Canon 135mm f/2L | Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L | Contax Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 | Zuiko 21mm f/3.5 | Crumpler 7MDH | Hitech filters + Lee Foundation Kit | B+W filters)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marin View Post
    What most people do with Lian Li cases like this is have the bottom section (HDD and PSU) intake air from the front. While the top section (mobo) intakes from the rear.

    It helps with airflow a lot and because of the divider the two different sections won't interfere with each other while having airflow going seperate ways.
    Doesn't that just replace the problem with another problem? Turning the rear fan to an intake now means you don't have an exhaust fan. Or will the air have sufficient force to travel to the front of the case and escape through the perforations? I think a nice exhaust fan placed at the top of the case would work really well with the rear fan being turned to an intake.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for looking, folks.

    I have done some testing with and without the additional front fan ... I see a few degrees improvement with the second fan in. It's actually most noticeable on the top GPU ... it helps keep it cooler, which makes sense. The fans that came with it are quiet, but not very powerful. I'll be looking to put some better fans in, and just control them with the Kaze. It also comes with another 120mm fan to cool the chipset area ... but, I don't want another fan moving air (and noise) in the middle of the case - and I don't think it's necessary with the i7.

    I've also got some San Ace fans I can hook up to the Noctua, should I need to go crazy.

    I considered having holes cut in the top (it's an option ... I purchased from Performance PCs). BUT, my primary desire is a quiet system. While I do game on this, I also spend a lot of time doing my work applications, Photoshop, and just web browsing - so, I didn't want to put any additional holes in the case to generate more noise.

    I'm only using the PC part time, so I can't water cool it. BUT, this case is big enough and is laid out well to make water cooling very easy in the future.

  8. #8
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    This is an OMG build. Nice and clean. DO NOT touch it anymore.!!!

    Gr Yil

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    I like the front door. If you look at the back of the door, you see a gap for anything that sticks outside the 5.25inch bays, like the buttons of the fan controller.
    A Cosmos-1000 for example, doesn't have room for anything that sticks outside the bays, so you can't use most of the fan controllers. You can with this Lian-Li case.
    >i5-3570K
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    Hell yes its a mini-ITX gaming rig!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yil View Post
    This is an OMG build. Nice and clean. DO NOT touch it anymore.!!!

    Gr Yil
    Quote Originally Posted by ownage View Post
    I like the front door. If you look at the back of the door, you see a gap for anything that sticks outside the 5.25inch bays, like the buttons of the fan controller.
    A Cosmos-1000 for example, doesn't have room for anything that sticks outside the bays, so you can't use most of the fan controllers. You can with this Lian-Li case.

    Thanks Yil and ownage ... Yep, I find the door works well for me. I leave it open when I want more airflow, shut it when I want quiet.

    I won't be doing much to it for a while - although a few strategically placed holes would help hide the upper cables better

  11. #11
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    Your husband is very young.

  12. #12
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    Shazza,

    A very clean build, i love it!

  13. #13
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    Whats with Lian-Li using a normal ATX layout as opposed to the reverse ATX layout that they used to use all the time? I like the look of their new cases but the layout just ruins it for me
    Mobo: ASUS Rampage Formula X48
    CPU: Q6600 @ 3.65ghz 1.472v 406x9
    RAM: 8GB G.Skill DDR2-1000PQ @ DDR2-1066
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    Storage: 160GB 2.5 Fujitsu boot, 160GB Seagate & 160GB Western Digital storage
    Optical: Sony NEC Optiarc SATA
    Sound: Asus Xonar DX
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    PSU: Corsair TX750
    Case: Antec P180B (P182 rev)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langer View Post
    Your husband is very young.
    I like 'em young


    Quote Originally Posted by theseeker View Post
    Shazza,

    A very clean build, i love it!
    Gracias ... but, I do need that drill and bit. I've got a Lowe's about 2 miles from the house, hmmmm.

    Quote Originally Posted by reberto View Post
    Whats with Lian-Li using a normal ATX layout as opposed to the reverse ATX layout that they used to use all the time? I like the look of their new cases but the layout just ruins it for me
    Guess it's personal preference ... I prefer the normal ATX layout. I had the reverse layout in the A05 ... didn't care for it that much.

  15. #15
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    very nice build. clean. i like it
    Case: PPC's Powdercoated TJ07
    Mobo: EVGA 780i SLI (FTW Edition)
    Cpu: E8500
    Ram: Coming Soon
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    Gpu: GTX 295 W/ DD-GTX 295 WB
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    HDD 2: 1 TB Samsung 32 MB cache (Movies)
    Water Cooling:
    Pump: Laing D5 MCP 655 Rad: XSPC RX360
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  16. #16
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    i would like to have a wife with your same tastes when it comes to computers
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  17. #17
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    Very nice and clean build and nice temps either
    System #1:
    i7 975 for bench, W3540 @ 4,4 Ghz HT On, Asus P6X58 Premium, 3x2048 Corsair Dominator 2000CL7, Sapphire 5970 @ stock, Corsair HX1000, 1xOCZ Vertex2 120GB, 3x1TB WD Green
    Cooled by:
    Loop 1: Watercool HK rev 3.0, Laing Ultra 18W /w XSPC Res Top, Thermochill PA120.3 /w Phobya Fans @ 5V Pull
    Loop 2: EK 5970 Nickle, Laing Ultra 18W /w XSPC Res Top, Thermochill PA120.3 /w Phobya Fans @ 5V Pull
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  18. #18
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    very nice setup and clean case
    • i7 920 D0
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  19. #19
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    I know I said this before but that is a HOT looking case, much better looking than its v1010 brethren

  20. #20
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    I really love that case. I wonder if a 220 could fit on the top.
    Asus P6T, I7-920, 6gb ocz xmp, 4890, Raid 0-1 Terabyte, full watercooled - Triple Loop 5 radiators

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie3dfx View Post
    I really love that case. I wonder if a 220 could fit on the top.

    Oops, just happened to check back here because I wanted to compare the temps to another i7 build I'm doing ... but water cooled.

    Eddie ... the MCR 220, and probably the 320 would fit fine in this case. I'd have to check it closer for the thicker rads, but I think they would work as well. There is also plenty of room to mod the front for a radiator - lots of options, I think.

  22. #22
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    great build, very clean and beautiful.

    why quick look? i want to see more!

  23. #23
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    I have a black one, but I have to say that I personally like the silver version a lot more 'cause it looks so neat!! You surely did a perfect cable management.
    C'est Une Belle Journée
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    AEGIS NEO One | Seagate 2x160GB+1x1TB SATA II
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  24. #24
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    indeed, another nice job
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  25. #25
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    hey, i have this case too and its awesome. One question tho, yes theres a lot of space inside, but i can't see where the radiators would go if i plan to water cool it... And since you keep mentioning about watercooling, could you shed some light on where you would place ur radiators for this case?

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