PC-7F is an all-aluminum mid-tower case from Lian Li coming in two color options, black or silver, and two side panel options, solid or with a transparent side window (this version is also known as PC-7FW). It comes with a very attractive price tag (USD 130 – USD 140 in the US) and features that will certainly please the average user. Is this a good product? Let’s see.
PC-7F is identical to another case from Lian Li, PC-60F. The difference between the two is the design of the opening for air intake on the front panel.
We reviewed the black version with a transparent side window.
In Figure 3, you can see its front panel – this case has no door. It has five 5.25” external bays, the lower one coming with a 3.5” adapter that can be used by either a floppy disk drive, a memory card reader or by a hard disk drive (the adapter has holes matching those on a hard drive, allowing this installation).
[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
This case comes with a 140 mm fan rotating at 900 rpm and glowing blue when turned on installed on the front panel featuring a washable dust filter, which is an excellent feature to have. You need, however, to remove the front panel to have access to this filter. This fan is positioned right in front of the hard disk drive cage, as we will show you later.
All fans from this case use a motherboard three-pin connector, allowing you to connect them directly to your motherboard and thus monitor their speed. They also come with adapters to install them directly to the power supply. No speed control feature is provided.
The small panel containing the audio and USB connectors is located on the top of the case and are protected by a cover. This case provides one FireWire port, but the FireWire and the two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time. The addition of one eSATA port would be nice.
The rear panel from PC-7F can be seen in Figure 6. The power supply must be installed on the lower section of the case. This case has seven expansion slots, one 120 mm fan on the rear and two holes for the hoses of an external water cooling solution, which use rubber covers to protect them, so you won’t need to drill or break anything on this case if you want to have such solution.
The side panels are fastened to the case using thumbscrews, which is always nice. The left panel has a hook for adding a padlock or a seal (like a warranty seal).
Now let’s take a look inside PC-7F.
[nextpage title=”Inside PC-7F”]
In Figure 7 we can have an overall look inside Lian Li PC-7F. Even though we can remove the right panel the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis.
Daughter boards are fastened to the case using thumbscrews, which we think is the best option. Screwless mechanisms for holding daughterboards usually are made of cheap plastic and thus break quite easily.
This case has only two fans and there is no place for installing additional fans. Thus user worried about ventilation will probably want a different case.
Now let’s take an in-depth look at the disk drive options from the reviewed case.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has five external 5.25” bays and one of them comes with an adapter for installing a 3.5” device, which can be a floppy disk drive, a memory card reader or a hard disk drive (the adapter has all the necessary holes).Only the two top 5.25” bays use screwless mechanisms.
The hard disk drive bays are the highlight of this case. Each bay is a removable aluminum drawer that uses an anti-vibration mechanism to prevent the natural vibration produced by the hard disk drives from being propagated to the chassis. As you can see in Figure 10, the front 140 mm fan is in charge of cooling down the hard disk drives.
Each drawer has a big plastic latch on top to lock the hard drive in place. If you don’t feel secure with this mechanism you can add one screw to each side of the drawer to fasten the hard drive. In this case the drawer won’t be a screwless system anymore, of course.
The number of hard disk drive bays – four – is more than sufficient for the average user, but high-end users may need more bays. If this is your case you will need to look for a different (and more expensive) product.
Since you can use the adapter that comes in the lower 5 1/4" bay to install a hard disk drive you can have up to five hard disk drives with this case, if you don’t have an external 3.5” devic
e, of course.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Lian Li PC-7F case main specs include:
- Style: Mid-tower
- Application: ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Aluminum.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: black or silver.
- Side panel: Solid or with transparent side window (PC-7FW).
- Dimensions: 17 23/32” x 8 17/64” x 19 19/64” (45 cm x 21 cm x 49 cm) (H x W x D).
- Weight: N/A
- Bays: Five external 5.25” bays and four internal 3.5” bays. One 3.5” bay converted from one 5.25” bay.
- Expansion slots: Seven.
- Fans: One 140 mm on the front (900 rpm, glows blue) and one 120 mm on the rear (1,000 rpm).
- More Information: https://www.lian-li.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 130.00 (with solid side panel) or USD 140.00 (with transparent side window).
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
Lian Lin PC-7F is a mid-tower case targeted to the average user that wants a high-quality all-aluminum case but doesn’t want to sell a kidney to buy an overpriced product. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.
- Very light.
- Outstanding quality.
- Anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
- Washable dust filter for the front fan.
- Outstanding cost/benefit ratio.
- No speed control for the fans.
- High-end users may want a case with more fans (but then they would be looking for a full-tower case anyway).
- High-end users may want a case with more than four hard disk drive bays (but then they would be looking for a full-tower case anyway).
- The two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
- Only the top two 5.25” bays use a screwless mechanism.
- We didn’t feel that hard drives were very secure inside the hard disk drive drawers. This was easily solved by adding two screws to each hard drive. This, however, makes the system to not be screwless.
In summary, we think this is a terrific product for the average user. It is a high-quality all-aluminum mid-tower case quoted on the same price range of good steel cases. So for the same price of a high-end steel case you can take home this all-aluminum product, which is lighter and dissipates heat better. High-end users, however, may not like some of the limitations from this case, especially the low number of fans and reduced number of hard disk drive bays compared to other products. But this isn’t exactly a problem, as this kind of user would be looking for a different product anyway.