Lian Li Hammer PC-100 PC Tower

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Posted by on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 3:39am

Lian Li PC-100That case would be The Hammer or PC-100. The Hammer has made its rounds around the forums do to one of its unique features. The feature is a win to some and little bit on the strange side for others. That one unique feature is the 180 degree turn of the motherboard. Yes, you hear it right. The rear of the motherboard is now in the front of the case. Today, we will see how this places out for Lian Li.

Introduction to the Lian Li Hammer PC-100 PC Tower

It is always good to hear a rep say ‘hi, you want to review this Lian Li case?’ Because you know that it is something that not really one gets a chance to review. But we were fortunately this time around as we did get called on to review one of Lian Li newest and often talked about case.

That case would be The Hammer or PC-100. The Hammer has made its rounds around the forums do to one of its unique features. The feature is a win to some and little bit on the strange side for others. That one unique feature is the 180 degree turn of the motherboard. Yes, you hear it right. The rear of the motherboard is now in the front of the case. Today, we will see how this places out for Lian Li.


Specifications

Model: PC-100
Case Type: Mid tower chassis
Dimensions: (W) 210mm x (H) 472mm x (D) 530mm
Front bezel Material: Aluminum
Color: Black
Side Panel: Aluminum
Body Material: Aluminum
Net Weight:  5.95KG
5.25" drive bay (External): 2
3.5" drive bay (External): None
HDD bay: 3.5-Inch HDD x6 / 2.5-Inch HDD x8 (Using 3.5-inch Bays)
Expansion Slot: 8
Motherboard: E-ATX / XL-ATX /ATX / Micro ATX
System Fan: (Front) 120mm Fan x1
System Fan: (Top) None
System Fan: (Rear) 140mm Fan x2
I/O Ports: None

Maximum Compatibility"
VGA Card length: 400mm
PSU length: 220mm
CPU cooler height: 165mm
Package Dimensions: (W) mm x (H) mm x (D) mm
Gross Weight: KG

Features
The new internal layout has the motherboard towards the front, which allows for easier access to the motherboard I/O ports.

Intake the cool air through the front 120mm cooling fan, and exhaust the heat air out by the rear two 140mm fan.

Supports six of 3.5" HDDs and six of 2.5" HDDs ,easy installation and services.

Up to eight 2.5" HDDs . (use 3.5"HDD space).

Cable-Management Kit for cables to pass through, allow uesr convenient manage the cables.

PC-100 equipped high quality aluminum case stand, with anti-vibration rubber pad

Support liquid cooling system

There are air filter for the intake fan, and the filter can easy removed, and the air filter is washable

Vented PCI Bracket

Rubber Strip for HDD Tray

Removable front panel

Video Card Holder


Closer look at the exterior

The PC-100 is an extremely nice looking case. It definitely shares the fine and elegant look we are accustom to seeing from Lian Li. But stat-wise, the PC-100 falls right in the middle of several cases; it’s the repetition that Lian Li developed over the years that set it apart from the rest. The enclosure stands a modest 18.5” tall and sits approximately 21” deep making it a classic mid-size tower.

All of the outer shell of the PC-100 is all aluminum a feature that Lian Li has used for as long as anybody and one of the reason consumers continue to flock to them when it is time to look for a new tower. The first of the PC-100 comes with just two 5.25” optical drive bays which is more than enough for many of us. Just below the dive drives is a mesh cover area with a small door sitting to the left. That small door gives you access to the back of the motherboard where the I/O area would be.  Yes, that is right the back of the motherboard is located at the front of the case.

The front panel can be removed from the rest of the case simply by tugging on the top or bottom of the case. Once removed you get a full glance of what would normally be at the back of the case. There are eight vented expansion slot covers and a 120mm fan which is covered with a washable air filter.

The side panels of the PC-100 are just pure sheets of aluminum. No windows, vents or grooves that would give them any type of character. But just forward of the side panel on the left side are two small holes which allow the user to route cables outside the case. Example would be for a USB connected device.

The rear of the case is definitely something we have never seen here at Pro-Clockers. The rear has no PCI expansion slot covers as they are now located in the front of the case. Check out the build section of this review to see more. But what we do have here are two 140mm exhaust fans and a couple of openings for water-cooling tubing. All the fans of the PC-100 are mounted using rubber and metal screws for a secure but vibrating eliminating mount.

Beside the bottom rear fan is a grommet covered opening that is used to route cables that are normally in the rear of a case but now in the front back to the rear. A little confused? Yes I know. But once again take a look at the build section of the review for a picture of what we are getting at here.

The bottom of the case on consists of opens that will be used to mount 2.5” drive into the bottom of that case. And there is aluminum feet aligned with rubber to keep the case up off the floor.

Yes, you are looking at the top of the case and there is nothing there to really talk about. Because of the PSU and optical drive mounting there is no real way of securing a fan in the top panel.


Closer look at the interior

Removing the side panels from the PC-100, honestly I did not know where to begin as it looks pretty well packed, really busy looking. A lot of the business begins with the three bars that you are granted with. More on the bars a little longer. But with the bars removed you see the glory that is the Hammer.

We now begin with the motherboard tray and the interior spacing of the case. Like many cases on the market and pretty much a standard now is a large cut-out for changing out the CPU cooler. What are missing are the inlets for routing the cases to the back of the motherboard tray. In our build process they were really not needed. The tray may seem rather large to many of you and it is. It is capable of supporting the following motherboard sizes: eATX, XL-ATX as well as standard ATX boards. Lian Li isn’t shy at all about what length video card the case can support which is up to 15.5”.

It may not look like it but in the image below we are looking at the front of the case from the inside. Upfront we see the lone 120mm intake which is not blocked by anything allowing the air to flow straight across the motherboard near the CPU area.

At the top of the case we have the two optical drive bays along with the rear mounting PSU mounting area. the top panel is secured to the rest of the case using simple screws which we would thinking Lian Li may manufacturer other tops for this case.

The bottom of the Hammer has no openings for ventilation but there are two sets of holes to mounting a couple of SSD drives.

Here we get a much better view of the rear two 140mm fans. Both fans can be connected a power supply using the included Molex adapters or to the motherboard with the naïve 3-pin connectors.

Now we are looking at the back of the motherboard tray and the only real thing of interest here would be the track used to route cabling to the rear of the case.

Below we have the three bars that we were greeted with when we first opened the case. The first bar is more of a security feature for your GPU(s). Coupled with some included plastic pieces it allows the case to support those heavy GPUs. The middle bar is the mounting bar for your storage drives. It can hold a total of six drives (2.5” or 3.5”) on the front and back. The last bar is a rear support bar. It is aligned with rubber strips to get the storage drives from rubbing up against it.


Included extras

Normally, I don’t include a section for the extra accessories that come with a case unless it is truly something unique and different.

The first item could be the plastic brackets for helping to absorb the weight and secure your video card to the system.

In this photo we see Lian Li has included a small organization boxes for any leftover screws. There is also a bracket plate for support for SSI motherboards.

And lastly, there is a adapter to convert a 15-pin USB 3.0 header cable to a standard 9-pin connector to a standard 9-pin USB motherboard header.


Build Images


Conclusion

I believe that the Lian Li PC-100 is one of those cases you have to really see in person to appreciate the uniqueness of it. And that is speaking from a visually prospective of the interior of the casing. The whole inverted motherboard idea is something that will throw a few people for a loop as it is totally different from what they are accustom too. I really applaud Lian Li courage to try something different.

What has not changed is that Lian Li is still giving is that subtle but elegant that many of us have come to look. And to add to that they have not opted to the use of plastic to sale to the masses. Yes, that is what Lan Cool is for. But under Lian Li brand we look for the high quality all aluminum structure to complete the build of the ultimate rig in our eyes. To put it simple many of us see Lian Li touch as the Mercedes Benz of PC cases.

Getting back to the case at hand, I did spend a few weeks with it as my main system. And my findings were that heat from the GPU did slightly rise higher than normal while gaming. It seems that there was not enough airflow entering the case to make the GPU cooling efficient. Or the air produced by the Gou was actually pushing the air out the front and then it re-entered the case as intake. Whatever the reason the temp of the GPU did rise. The case was totally different when it came to the CPU. We install the CPU’s fan near the rear front of the case facing the same direction as the front mounted case fan. So basically, we had a push-push type of effect going. And it worked.

The whole I/O in the front of the case is not a bad idea as it makes it very easy to make the connections that were needed. It eliminates the need for a front I/O panel which makes for a much cleaner looking case. I only thing about this idea is that some of your cabling many come up a little short determining on the placement of the case on your desk. If it is on the floor chances are you will need extensions or just longer cables for your monitor and maybe KB, mice and speakers. If settled on the top of the desk this should not be an issue.

Another feature that I like about the PC-100 is if you are planning on using less than two SSD drives they can be mounted in the floor of the case leaving a ton of room for whatever one could think of. And if you are planning to use mechanical drives or more SSD than previously mention that is fine as well as they are mounted to a brace on the outer side of the case. Once again leaving a clean install.

You can find the PC-100 case at places like Newegg for $180. Which is a little expensive for a case that eliminates a lot of features that we are accustom too due its inverted design.

 

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