Lian Li PC-8FI Mid Tower

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lian li 8fiToday we will be reviewing the new Lian Li PC-8FI mid tower. The 8FI is a simple case (at least by Lian Li standards) which is made entirely from aluminum, like all of their cases. The 8FI is light-weight, tool-less and full of the features that we see in their higher-dollar cases. We will be taking a look at the black model, but two other colors are offered as well: a silver or red "spider edition" model. The black and silver models will set you back about $130, with the spider edition running approximately $190.

Introduction to the Lian Li PC-8FI

When many of us hear the name Lian Li a few words come immediately to mind: aluminum, excellence and stylish. Well, that is what comes to my mind at least. Lian Li has been around for a very long time and since the being they have given people a quality product.

It is that quality and excellence which Lian Li has always prided themselves on. A lot of us know Lian Li for their cases, but they have ventured into the likes of power supplies, fan controllers, storage boxes and even office furniture. No we get to review another fine case from them, as that is what got them to this point, and we can’t get enough of reviewing them.

Today we will be reviewing the new Lian Li PC-8FI mid tower. The 8FI is a simple case (at least by Lian Li standards) which is made entirely from aluminum, like all of their cases. The 8FI is light-weight, tool-less and full of the features that we see in their higher-dollar cases. We will be taking a look at the black model, but two other colors are offered as well: a silver or red "spider edition" model. The black and silver models will set you back about $130, with the spider edition running approximately $190.


Specifications

Model
 PC-8FI 
Case Type
 Mid Tower 
Dimensions 
 (W) 210mm x (H) 460mm x (D) 490mm 
Front bezel Material
 Aluminum 
Color
 Black / Silver / Red (Spider Edition) 
Side Panel
 Black, Silver / Aluminum
Red (Spider Edition) / Spider Transparent Side Panel 
Body Material
 Aluminum 
Net Weight 
 5.85KG 
5.25" drive bay (External)
 3 
3.5" drive bay (External)
 1(use one 5.25 to 3.5 converter) 
3.5" drive bay (Internal)
 6 
Expansion Slot
 8 
Motherboard
 ATX / M-ATX 
System Fan (Front)
 Black / 120mm Blue LED Fan x 2 (1200RPM)
Silver / 120mm Fan x 2 (1200RPM)
Red (Spider Edition) / 120mm Red LED Fan x 2 (1200RPM) 
System Fan (Top)
 140mm Fan Hole x 1 
System Fan (Rear)
 Black / 120mm Fan x 1 (1200RPM)
Silver / 120mm Fan x 1 (1200RPM)
Red (Spider Edition) / 120mm Red LED Fan x 1 (1200RPM) 
I/O Ports
 USB3.0 x 2 / e-SATA x1 / HD Audio

Closer look at the outside

Like it was stated in the beginning paragraphs the 8FI comes in three different colors, beginning with the black model we are reviewing today, along with silver and a red model better known as the "spider edition". Each shares the same exact features but the spider edition does come with a spider shaped window in the left side panel. The 8FI is the ideal size to host a standard size ATX motherboard and all the components needed to build a better than average rig. The case stands just over 18” tall and should fit easily under most desks. One of the characteristics that we love about Lian Li is their use of aluminum to make their cases, and the 8FI is no different.

The front panel of the 8FI is very minimal and simplistic, which is one reason why I really dig the case. My personal opinion aside it consists of three 5.25” bays with one being convertible to a 3.5” to accommodate items like media readers, floppies and other front panel devices.

Below the drive bays are several narrowed mesh channels that hide two 120mm cooling fans. In the image below we removed the front assembly to get a better look at the fans. This process is easy to do as there are no cables attached to the panel so a pull on the bottom edge will separate the two pieces from one another.

On the top of the case right above the 5.25" bays sit the I/O panel and power/reset buttons. Present are: a single eSATA, dual USB 3.0 and MIC/head phone jacks. The HDD activity and power lights also reside in this same area. Sitting in the rear of the case is a square cut-off that can be removed and used for an exhaust vent. The largest fan one could use is 140mm. Lian Li includes a vent filter to be used once a fan is in place.

Lian Li uses vented slot covers to allow for better air circulation. And if you take the time to count the slots you will see there are a total of eight. The reason for this is to allow for use of three dual slot video cards. Mmmm... Can you say tri SLI and Crossfire? Above the slots are two water-cooling inlets and a 120mm cooling fan.

Looking at the bottom of the case you will see the ventilation for the bottom mounted power supply. Four rubber feet protect the bottom of the case from whatever surface it sits on.

Some may be a little disappointed as there are no clear side panels with the case. So, one must make their own or wait for Lian Li to offer one.


Closer look at the inside

Removing the left side panel we notice first the large cut-out in the motherboard tray for easier replacement of the CPU cooler. This is not the only opening in the tray of the 8FI as along the edge of the tray are smaller openings for the routing of cables. The second thing we noticed was the lack of a black interior. This is something that we have grew accustom to seeing.

From the inside looking toward the front we have the inside of the three 5.25” bays. One of the bays has an all aluminum adapter to convert the larger bay into a smaller 3.5” bay. 8FI uses these long levers to secure drives into place.

Hard drives are channeled into these railings and secured using a simple thumbscrew. We removed the HDD cage to give you a better look of the two 140mm fans mounted upfront.

The power supply sits on these rubber-protected rails preventing scratches to the power supply as well as the case.

These tools-less locking mechanisms secure your cards to the case. We have seen this from some higher-end Lian Li but it is nice to see them implement it into lower models.


System Assembly

We begin the simulated install of components with an SSD and mechanical drives. Installation of both is fairly simple. The SSD was mounted in the 3.5 to 2.5” bay adapter while the mechanical drive was mounted into the HDD cage using the included thumbscrews.

The power supply can be secured to the case one of two ways. The first would be the typical method of screwing it in using the four standard screw locations in the rear of the case. The other is to use this metal bracket to secure it from the inside of the case. To each his own but the latter is much easier to perform. Cables from the PSU can be routed cleanly with the help of the plastic canal located in the bottom right of the photo.

Here we have a before and after of the GPU installation photos so you can get a clear idea of how much room is in the case.  According to Lian Li the 8FI can hold cards up to 285mm (11.2") in length.


Conclusion

One thing that many of us love about Lian Li is that no matter the price point of the different series of their cases one thing is for sure, you will get the best quality build possible. We have had $130 Lian Li cases like the 8FI we are looking at today and several hundred dollar cases and the quality has been the same, which is simply great. The simplistic approach that the 8FI has is evidence of Lian Li's commitment to giving the people just want they want.

So if you are a fan of simple then the 8FI is right up your alley. The front does not show any sign of bling or flash about it. Simple drive bays, a little mesh and some glowing illumination from the internal fans and that is it.

But don’t let the simplistic look fool you as this case does offer a lot in the form of conveniences. The tool-less options for the securing of expansion cards and all drives, as well as the tie-down bracket for the power supply, is an option in the 8FI just as it is in the higher priced PC-A77 we reviewed some time ago. Speaking of expansion cards the 8FI has eight available slots which system builds using three dual-slotted graphic cards will welcome with open arms.

The 8FI has a lot to offer and we can go on and on about it, but we only have so much time. So, the last feature I will touch on is the front panel I/O with it's USB 3.0 ports. Many of the cases we have reviewed that do have USB 3.0 ports only provide one, so there's another slight advantage for the Lian Li offering.

At $130 the 8FI maybe pricey to some, and what you see on the outside may make it hard to justify paying this amount for it. You really need to look past that and factor in the quality and features which the case has to offer. Then you can see that it'll be $130 well spent.

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