I don't care what case you are currently using to house your rig if it isn't a Lian Li tower you have at one time or another you have wished it was. Lian li is the Dom Perignon of computer cases. Their style is simple and classic but stylish to a level all its own. My first and only encounter with a Lian Li case was way back in 2000, when I was fortunate to purchase a PC60. A great case that looks are still apparent in today's Lian Li cases. After the PC60 I wasn'table to fork out the money to get any of the current cases during the different eras since then. Well, thanks to Pro-Clockers I have the chance to review another offering from Lian Li.
Today, we will be dissecting the Lian Li A77 full size case. The pure size of the A77 alone is enough to win over most of us. But for me its the style and other features like the 12 bays, the locations for numerous 120mm fans, removable motherboard tray, top panel and fan controller. You may say there are many other cases that have these features. There are none that do it the way Lian Li does. So now we will jump into the review and get to know this beautiful tower.
From Lian Li
Have you ever thought about having a PC case which will allow total freedom to set up your system to the way you want it to be? With high quality workmanship which don’t have sharp edges, and friendly to use? Capable to keep the system cool, and silent?
Here is the answer from Lian Li…
Click on the images to find out more detail about PC-A77 and PC-A17.
Packaging and contents
The A77 comes in a box that I would expect to different coming from Lian Li. For some reason I was getting the feeling that it would be packed in a box like ones jewelry would come in. Don't get me wrong the A77 comes well packed and in a decent decorated box. Along with the large image of the case there are images of various features of the unit along the right side.
||220 x 595 x 590 ( W, H,D)
|Front bezel Material
|5.25" drive bay (External)
|3.5" drive bay (External)
|3.5" drive bay (Internal)
||9 ( Use 6 bays of 5.25 Space)
||E-ATX, ATX, M-ATX
|System Fan (Front)
||12cm Ball-bearing Fan x 2 (1020~1500RPM Automatic)
|System Fan (Top)
|System Fan (Rear)
||12cm Ball-bearing Fan x 2(1020~1500RPM Automatic)
||USB2.0 x 2, IEEE1394, E-SATA x 1, HD+AC97 Audio
Closer look of the outside
The A77 stands a towering 23.5 inches from the floor. This is by far the largest case I have had to deal with. For a long time I have been a nawsayer to such large cases. Well this has changed after I realized that all the components that are being put on the market today for the enthusiast needs their fair share of air circulation. I now prefer to work on a large case due to the non-issues large cases don't have. No banged up knuckles. When it comes to full sized towers there comes alot of bays for the installing of drives, displays and readers. And the A77 has a lot of bays twelve of them as a matter of fact.
Over 90% of the front is made of 5.25 bays covered with mesh plates. This cosmetic features has become very common as we are seeing it in the Thermaltake M9, Antec 1200 as well as many other. Oh, we can't forget Lian Li has been doing it for awhile now as well. The front bezel has to be removed in order to disengage the mesh plates to install any kind of 5.25" device. The top most bay has been converted to a fan controller. A great add-on for the amount of fans that can be fitted into the unit.
The top of the case is going to be the first area that I will show you that gives you a great view of the brushed aluminum make-up of the A77. The length of the top ideal for water-coolers that want to implement a triple fan rad. Performing a google search for the A77 and you will be linked to some very interesting mods. Besides the tremendous of amounts of space there is a Lian Li labeled metal lid that hides the USB, firewire, eSATA ports and audio plugs. Lian Li gets props for implementing all three connections. Two flush mount buttons take up space beside the lid which represent the power and reset buttons.
Call them plain or sleek, the side panels consist of nothing more than brushed lines in a sheet of aluminum. Lian Li along with Silverstone is one of the most modded case around. And these panel are screaming to be modded. Either with a simple fan hole or unique clear panel this is a canvas waiting to be painted.
For the first time in ages I am looking at the rear of a case that isn't uneventful. At the top of the case is a large 120mm cooling fan that is used to cool hard drives that can be placed in a cage behind the fan. For anyone needing extra power the cage can be removed and replaced with a second power supply. Or can be removed all together and replaced with nothing for a cleaner look. Underneath the fan opening is two outlets for water-cooling piping. There are many thumbscrews located on the back of the A77 and are used to secure the side panels, fan bracket and the one i was excited about and that is the motherboard tray.
For those that plan to water-cool an A77 with a external rad may be surprised to see the inlet hole is covered by a hard plastic grommet rather than a rubber one. The ears that cover the hole need to be broken off before any tubing is slid thought.
The exterior of the A77 is pure elegance.
An interior look
Being almost 24 inches tall you can safely assume the interior space is going to be wide open. And it really is. With the ease of working in an open space everything in the A77 is removable. I don't think this will save time but make task easier to perform and making the end result look cleaner. But to get to the space to work in you must first get past a support bar that aids in the support of extra long cards or can support an additional fan which can be used to blow over the GPU, chipset or memory slots. Every inch of the interior is made of aluminum which makes for a ultra light case. And for the brave souls out there the aluminum is easy to cut and drill. Happy Modding.
The front of the A77 is a combination of 3.5" and 5.25" bays. I say a combination because the front is comprised of twelve 5.25" that also house two 3.5" cages that can hold up to six drives. The lower half of the front is where these cages are held. Each cage has its own 120mm cage for drive cooling. Each drive can be connected to power via a 3 or 4 pin connection.
The rear of the case is basic in many ways but different in so many more ways. The top and to the bottom of the case can house a power supply. This gives the owner two options when building a rig with the A77. By default the cage is arranged for bottom mounting of the power supply. At the top sits another 3.5" cage to house three more hard drives.
Here we have randowm shots of pieces that can be removed from the A77 to make life easier when it comes to start assembling the case. Note the motherboard tray does not slide out from the rear but the side panel has to be removed and it comes out from there. The mesh bay covers can open be removed if the front panel is taking off first.
Lastly, we are left with a almost empty frame of the A77.
I was really excited to jump right into building up a new system in the A77. And because I was starting this building with all the parts already separated from the main structure I knew it would be easier to assembly this box just the way I wanted. I was right but as time went by I did find it not necessary to completely remove everything. Just maybe the side panels, hard drive cage (just one in this case) and the front facial. Even removing the motherboard tray was not needed.
The first thing I did place in the power supply to to get an idea of cable management. The first thing I notice was the 8 pin was not going to be hidden like I wanted and have to be placed across the motherboard. It would not have been a problem if we mounted the power supply at the top of the case. But I wanted bottom mounting so I would have to deal with it.
The most impressive tool I came across in this build exactly came with the case. It was a little wrench that is used to tighten the motherboard standoffs. Continuing with the build I laid the motherboard in with the bare essentials attached. This is important because any cards or cables connected will interfere with the unseeding of the hard drive cages. The A77 is a fairly tall cage and everything but with the hard drive cage above the motherboard, space was tight in between the motherboard and the cage making it difficult to use large CPU coolers like the the Thermalright iFX-14 I was planning on utilizing. Leaving us to have to settle for the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme which was still a tight fit but did work.
Next came the installation and mounting of the hard drives. Assembly started the screwing in of four thumbscrews with rubber grommets. Then simply slide the drives back in the cage. After the mounting of the hard drives was the installing of the video card. This was easy and painless. The support bar ended our install along with a little cable management. And when it comes to cable managing things can get a little tricky as there is only one hole through the motherboard tray for routing cables.
And we have power.
This with my first Lian Li case in many years the A77 help me to realized what I had been missing during the absence. The class and prestige is definately still there. The overall look to some may be a little simple compared to some of the other Lian Li offering. I for one enjoy the no nonsense look of the A77. The size of the A77 is ideal for anyone that wants more room for drives at it can house a total of fifteen drives both 3.5" and 5.25". Not only is there plenty of room for drives but plenty of room to work in while assembling.
If you ever wanted a really light full sized tower than don't look any further than the A77. Lifting the box when I took delivery of it I was truly amazed as thought that there wasn't a case in the box. The entire case is made of aluminum casing. The weight was really apparent while I was building up the case. As I twisted and turned it to work on it I was going effortlessly.
There are many smaller features of the A77 that I can go on about. But two that I would like to mention is all the thumbscrews that are used to secure various pieces of the case. And the other is the built-in LCD display. The display can control up to three fans. The wires from the display are labled for CPU and two system fans which is fine. But the case comes equipped with a total of four fans so the LCD is a little lacking for total cooling control. But it is a good start.
The A7 comes in black and silver for your decor needs. I found the black model pretty sweet and not to mention it matched my drives I was going to use in the build. The A77 can be had for about $270 online. This is a real good price for a fairly loaded full sized case from Lian Li.
With the good comes the bad. And the bad is the space that is between the motherboard and the rear hard drive cage. We found it challenging to use some of the larger coolers like the Thermalright IFX-14. So it would be in your best interest to research to see if you will have this problem. Another issue we had with the A77 is the lack of holes in the motherboard tray for cable management. The A77 only has one outlet for this purpose and it was only ideal for maintaining the case cables that were for the I/O ports at the top of the case. Alone with this is also the lack of loops for tying down cables on the back of the motherboard tray.
With its minor negative we still like the A77. And like it alot. We are giving it the Highly Recommended award.
Check out Lian Li at Amazon