Lian Li PC-X510 Case Review
I have to confess that this, the Lian Li PC-X510 (WX) is the first Lian Li case that we have ever seen here at pcG, and I also have to confess to very much looking forward to this review. Why? Well for me and many others in the world of PCs when you think about high end case manufacturers there’s always (and should be) a couple that spring to mind, and no it’s not Corsair and Cooler Master (sorry guys), it’s Case Labs and Lian Li. These two manufacturers produce what some may call enthusiast cases, but I’m just going to call them REAL cases… 😉 Lian Li themselves have been doing this for some 32 years ever since they were founded in Taiwan in 1983, where they still remain to this day.
The Lian Li PC-X510 is an ATX mid tower Case made primarily from black anodized aluminium, with a tempered glass window on the left. The case itself measures in at (W)240mm x (H)620mm x (D)436mm and weighs in at 7.8kg, suggesting that dimension wise this is really more like a full tower case. The case features no external drives bays at all, and that I think is great as the day of the Optical Drive is over IMHO! Inside there’s support for either six HDDs or six SSDs, or a mixture of the two and also we find eight expansion slots. Motherboard support sees the PC-X510 supporting SSI CEB, ATX and Micro-ATX form factors. The case comes equipped with five fans, three in the front and two at the back, all of which can be controlled by the on-board fan controller. At the top of the case there’s a simple control panel consisting of four USB 3.0 (or x2 3.0 and x2 2.0), Audio ports (headphone & microphone) and a power button. The case supports Graphics Cards up to 330mm in length, CPU Coolers up to 180mm in height and Power Supplies up to 245mm in length.
The premium Lian Li PC-X510 case arrived at pcG in a somewhat un-premium looking brown cardboard box, a very large brown cardboard box at that! Although the box has six sides (like duh!) there was very little to focus on as the left and right sides were the same (showing a simple outline drawing of the case) and the other four sides offered very little in the way of information.
On opening the box we find that the Lian Li PC-X510 is well packaged with the case itself being protected by large foam blocks and sealed within a plastic bag.
Within the box we find a simple Installation Guide showing both the hardware list and and simple break down of the case.
In addition to this we find a small box of parts and accessories consisting of various screws, grommets, cable clips and ties etc, a couple of fan to Molex adapters and a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter as well as a PC speaker.
At the time of review, the Lian Li PC-X510 (WX) is retailing at Overclockers UK for approximately £300 and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of Lian Li
|Case Type||Mid Tower Chassis|
|Color|| All Black
|Front bezel Material||Aluminum|
|Side Panel|| Aluminum
|5.25″ drive bay (External)||None|
|3.5″ drive bay (External)||None|
|HDD bay|| 3.5″ HDD x6
or 2.5″ HDD x6
|MB Type|| SSI CEB
|System Fan(Front)||120mm x3|
|System Fan(Rear)||120mm x2|
|I/O Ports||USB 3.0 x 4
|PSU Type||ATX PSU|
|Maximum Compatibility||VGA Card length: 330mm
CPU cooler height: 180mm
PSU length: 245mm
|Fan Speed Controller||1|
First impressions of the Lian Li PC-X510 are along the lines of; wow that’s a bit of an odd shape and damn this thing seems well made! To be fair these are not only impressions, they are also facts. The PC-X510 is an odd shape, to look at at least, due to its very tall (620mm) and not very deep (436mm) aspect ratio, it in fact looks a little odd at first. But once you begin to marvel at the construction and the quality of this all-aluminium case, worries about its odd shape fade fast. In fact at the point I’ve got it out of the box it’s clear that I’m looking at a very special case indeed, and it’s also unlike any case I’ve seen before…
The left side of the case features a massive aluminium panel that’s around 2mm thick with a large glass window, that sits towards the back of the case and almost central top to bottom. It is in fact perfectly placed to showoff the hardware within. Towards the front of the case the vertical strip is in fact an air intake dust filter allowing those three front fans to draw in cool air from the side of the case. The extended section at the back of the panel (that looks like a regular handle) helps in the removal of the panel. But there’s no thumb screws here, just pull and the panel begins to come away. It is in fact held in position by way of ten aluminium plugs that latch to plastic lugs within the case itself, and it’s very effective. The material used appears to be a brushed aluminium that’s been anodized black and looks very smart indeed (as you can even see the grain in the material) and even feels premium to the touch.
The right hand panel is effectively the same as the left panel but without the window. In fact due to the amount of aluminum used the right side panel is almost as heavy as the left hand panel, that’s heavier thanks to that glass (not plastic) panel.
Looking at the Lian Li PC-X510 from the front there’s actually very little to see other than swathes of black anodized aluminium. In addition to that at the bottom we find a simple, yet tasteful Lian Li logo, while at the top right (barley visible) are two (blue) LEDs, the top one is for power and the other for disk activity.
At the top of the case, at the front we find the main control panel components that live beneath a sliding section of aluminum. This comprises of four USB 3.0 ports, or two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports if you use the supplied adapter. To the right of this we find the audio ports (headphone & microphone). To the right of the panel there’s the main power switch, also made of aluminum. No while all of these parts are beautifully made there’s an air of the mechanical about both the way the panel has been fitted (by screws), the way the panel opens and even the operation of the power button. It’s not bad in any way, it just looks and feels a little, well industrial perhaps…
Looking at the back of the Lian Li PC-X510 we again see swathes of aluminum and we can also begin to appreciate just how well made this case actually is, the engineering is really second to none! In the top left corner we find the proud Lian Li badge with URL, while below this we have the simple yet elegant fan controller, that just comprises of a single rotary knob allowing adjustment from Low through to High. Inside the case though we find a four-channel fan controller and associated PCB (see below for more detail), the controller itself has a total power output of 30W so should be good for up to six fans depending on wattage. To the right of this we find one of two exhaust fans, this upper fan actually exhausts air out of the Disk storage section at the top of the case. The lower exhaust fan is there to expel the hot air from within the main Motherboard section of the case. To the left of this we find the main motherboard I/O shield cutout. Below this we find that the PC-X510 has plenty of expansion options thanks to its eight expansion slots. At the bottom of the case there’s the main Power Supply cutout equipped with a PSU bracket allowing for easy insertion and removal.
As we know already the top of the Lian Li PC-X510 features the main control panel (found behind the sliding panel) as described above, in addition to this we find the main power button too. Centrally mounted in the top of the case there are also two cutouts (with blanking panels) for an additional two 120mm fans, should you wish to fit them and or a 240mm radiator. What’s particularly impressive is that the grain of the metal is the same on both the case top and the cutout panel itself, as you’ll find out if you remove it and put it back the wrong way round! 😉 As we can see each blanking plate is removed by unscrewing four screws, note that beneath the plate there is no filter, so if you wish to fit filters or fan guards you’ll need to purchase them separately…
At the bottom of the case we find four very nice turned aluminium legs, that in turn (haha get it!) feature rubber feet, this lifts the case off of the surface by approximately 15mm. Each leg is secured to the bottom of the case by one screw. At the back of the case, as you can see from the image above centre, we find a removable dust filter for the Power Supply area, that conveniently slides out to the left of the case instead of the back for easier access.
Removing the left side panel allows us to clearly see the fact that the Lian Li PC-X510 has been split into three zones; Power Supply area, Motherboard area and the Storage area at the top. I have to say that I’m pretty sure I’ve not seen a case here at pcG designed quite like this, but already it seems to be making sense and I rather like it! One thing that you can see here (image above left) though are Molex connectors, something that I think is a blast from the past and should be replaced with SATA Power connectors instead.
Removing the right side panel reveals another swathe of beautiful aluminium and the fact that the PC-X510 has masses of cable management room with a depth of approximately 40mm. Also all of the cable are black which is good to see, apart from the pesky HD-Audio cables at the plug end where the coloured cables are still revealed. We can also see that the PC-X510 is equipped with a nice large CPU cutout and the fact that Lian Li have started a cable run (courtesy of a couple of clips, with more provided) down the left hand side. There are also three well positioned grommets allowing for tidy cable management. Lurking up in the top right (see image above right) we also see the 4-way fan controller.
Looking around the Lian Li PC-X510 at various features, let’s first look at the main Motherboard area’s exhaust fan (image above left) that (from what I can tell) appears to be a 3-pin 120mm 1500RPM fan with no PWM control made by Jamicon. In fact all of the fans fitted to the Lian Li PC-X510 have no PWM control and are (no doubt!) designed to work in conjunction with the fan controller. This particular fan also features a wire grill on both sides.
Drawing our attention to the bottom of the case, at the back we find a large Power Supply area equipped with a bottom mounted removable filter. The PSU area can accommodate Power Supplies up to 245mm in length. Also note that when the PSU is fitted it sits upon rails that are in turn fitted with rubber anti-vibration strips. Near the back of the PSU area we see a nice large grommet allowing all of those cables to exit into the back of the case. The top of the PSU area is also peppered in holes and these can be used for mounting two of the supported six drives (both 3.5″ & 2.5″ are catered for) via the grommets and screws provided.
The front of the interior of the case is dominated by a large fan bracket that’s equipped with three of the aforementioned 120mm fans. This entire bracket can be removed simply by undoing two thumb screws. This bracket can then be used to support either a 360mm, 240mm or 120mm radiator and fan setup, but note as both the radiator and fan live inbound of the front of the case Graphics Card length will need to be kept and eye on! For air cooling I very much like this design as it allows the front of the case to pull in large amounts of cool air in through this side filters into a large (and cool) chamber within the body of the case before the fans themselves pull the air into the main motherboard area. It seems a shame that the case isn’t just that little bit deeper allowing it to easily swallow thicker radiators and or longer Graphics Cards…
Moving on up and into the Storage area of the Lian Li PC-X510 we find another 120mm exhaust fan to help remove any hot air in the top of the case. This is the same as the 1500RPM fan used in the Motherboard area of the case. And again the fan features a wire grill both at the back and at the front.
The top of the PC-X510 is dominated by the large Storage area that’s capable of housing up to four drives, either four 3.5″ HDDs or four 2.5″ SSDs, or a mixture of the two. What’s really rather cool though is the rubber anti-vibration mounting system that everything (including the drives themselves) sits on, very clever indeed. There’s even a grilled area on the right hand side to promote further airflow. Of course up here there’s also plenty of room for the thickest 240mm radiator known to man and there’s also a cutout on the left for you to bring the tubing through. I also like the approach of moving the Storage out of the main Motherboard area, not only does it promote better airflow but it also improves the overall aesthetics too! 🙂
At the back of the case we find a simple control knob that sits to the left of the upper 120mm fan. This is the fan control unit that can control up to four fans (without cable splitters) in a range from Low to High. A simple yet elegant solution.
Inside, in the upper corner we find the fan controller’s PCB and it’s associated Molex power plug, that I’m not too keen on. As I said before I would have preferred this to be a SATA power plug, especially as it’s right next to the Storage section of the case! 😉 Anyway’s the controller itself controls up to four fans, which seems a little weird as the case comes with five fans pre-installed, but thanks to the extension cables provided all fans can be connected.
Looking at the cabling for the Lian Li PC-X510 we can see that it’s all black (always good to see) apart from the coloured cables for the HD Audio cable. Also note that the case supports two USB 3.0 ports via the two cables, although Lian Li have also opted to provide a USB 3.0 to USB 2.o adapter should you wish to use it (not shown).
Finally lets take a look at those rather nifty front air filters, that sit either side of the case. Both strips can be easily removed for cleaning courtesy of their magnetic nature. Both strips fit beautifully in position and stay in place really well! What’s also worth noting again here is the cavernous interior space that’s there to allow cool air into the front of the case, should prove very useful…
Also let’s just take a quick look at those removable top panels (removed by way of four screws), that allow fitment of a further two 120mm fans in the top of the case. Also note that there is no grill so you’ll need extra grills (probably like the Lian Li wire ones) to protect your fingers from being chopped off! 😉 There’s also plenty of space beneath for a very thick 240mm radiator should you wish!
As I mentioned earlier the Lian Li PC-X510 is one truly desirable case, it’s probably the best built and best engineered case that I’ve ever seen. The only real niggles at this point are the Molex based power connector (sorry, it’s pet hate!) and the lack of thick radiator support (Graphics Card length dependent) at the front of the case. Although I would say that the PC-X510 is primarily an air cooled case, with water cooling support…
|Case||Lian Li PC-X510||Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series AX 760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6||CPU||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S||RAM||G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 980Ti Classified||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB|
Both the Seagate SHDD and the HyperX Fury SSD were fitted to each of the drive brackets using the screws and anti-vibration grommets provided. I chose to use both brackets so I could sit one drive below another and still use the plugs on one cable, thus preventing me to have to use two cables. Our test motherboard assembly (above right) consists of an ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6, Intel Core i5-6600K, Noctua NH-U12S and 8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 memory.
The first task was to install the Corsair AX760i Power Supply, so therefore the PSU bracket was removed from the back of the case and attached to the Power Supply with the four screws provided. I then attached all of the cables that I was going to need as it’s a little difficult to get at the back of the Power Supply once it’s in place. The Power Supply was then reattached to the back of the case with the four thumb screws.
With the Power Supply in position it was time to install the motherboard assembly (MB, CPU, CPU Cooler & RAM) after first, not forgetting to install the I/O shield! Here I came a cross a bit of an issue as the ASRock motherboard requires ten stand-offs and Lian Li have pre-installed nine, and provided no spares! Obviously I was able to find a spare, but this should have been provided.
With the motherboard now in position I set about cabling up what I could, for the motherboard this meant the main 24-pin and the 8-pin power cables. In addition to this I wired up one of the USB 3.0 cables, HD Audio and also the Front Panel connectors. As you can see front the image above right there were no issues with this and cabling went smoothly. The only thing to note being the fact that the HD Audio cable had to be threaded across the top of the PSU (a little fiddly) to get it to come out at the back of the lower left grommet.
Next up I installed the two drives into the Storage area at the top of the case. Note how everything sits on rubber mounts in an aide to keep vibration (and therefore noise) to a minimum. The drives were then powered up via a single SATA power cable and two SATA cables in turn connected to the ASRock motherboard.
The final task was the installation of our test Graphics Card an EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified and to wire up the five fans to the fan controller. The Graphics Card fitted without issue, although note how close this 282mm GPU is to the three fans at the front of the case. This is no bad thing though, as cooling should be excellent! 🙂
Wiring up the five fans was well, interesting as the fan controller (by default) only supports four fans. Although Lian Li have also supplied two fan (extension) cables that are of a ‘Y’ nature, allowing me to connect two fans one controller output. I therefore connected the three front fans with the two cables provided and the two exhaust fans were simply connected to the fan controller directly, job done!
The final look of the build is simply great with very little unsightly cabling on show and with so much cable management space at the back of the case, the cables can be simply left to their own devices (above right)…
Well that was pretty easy and the end result looks great IMHO! Everything fitted with ease inside the Lian Li PC-X510 and there’s no real cause for complaint, with the only minor niggles being a missing stand-off (as the ASRock board requires ten), the old-school Molex power connector on the fan controller and the fact that there’s a four port fan controller in a case with five fans!? 😉
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and ASRock’s F-Stream utility to evaluate CPU temperatures and voltage, and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 (Small FFT) to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out with an overclocked Intel Core i5-6600K at 4.4GHz courtesy of the ASRock UEFI.
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.
* All case fans (x5 in the case of the Lian Li PC-X510) and the CPU Cooler (Noctua NH-U12S) are run at 100% throughout testing. To ascertain case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dBA is recorded from 1m away.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
|Lian Li PC-X510||22.00||58.00||36.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||21.00||58.00||37.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||23.00||62.00||39.00|
Apologies first for these grids being a little sparse, but we have just cut over to a new Gaming Test Rig and now a new GPU in the form of our EVGA 980Ti Classified. As we have changed the motherboard, CPU, CPU Cooler, RAM and GPU all of the old thermal results are simply no longer comparable. Please bear with us as we expand our range of tested hardware…
The Lian Li PC-X510, with its five 120mm fans, performed well in testing, as one would both hope and expect! With a maximum CPU Core temperature of 58 (37 Delta) degrees Celsius the Lian Li slots right in the top of our somewhat small grid. But our Cooler Master HAF XB test case is still only one degree behind. But the cooling of CPUs for Gaming is second to the cooling of GPUs, so let’s take a look…
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature|
|Lian Li PC-X510||23.00||77.00||54.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||22.00||79.00||57.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||22.00||81.00||59.00|
Again we find the Lian Li PC-X510 at the top of our grid, but this time it beats the nearest competition by a healthy three degrees! With our EVGA GTX 980Ti showing a maximum temperature of just 77 (54 Delta) degrees Celsius the PC-X510 is easily the coolest case we’ve tested when it comes to GPU Cooling. Of course this is thanks to the five pre-installed 120mm fans. But with so many fans there has to be noise right? Well let’s take a look, or is that a listen… 😉
With all of the five fans running at 100%, courtesy of that inbuilt fan controller, the Lian Li PC-X510 emitted approximately 44 dBA of noise. Now that’s a fair bit of noise, but not something a Gamer wearing headphones would be too concerned about I feel! Of course thanks to that fan controller the cooling/noise ratio can be adjusted to suit the individual. With all fans set at their lowest, noise dropped just below 40dBA, but of course one has to assume that the cooling is also likely to suffer a little also.
As I’ve already stated in the review text, the Lian Li PC-X510 (WX) is one of (if not) the best PC case I’ve ever seen, so there I’ve gone and said it now and I guess there’s no going back! The reason for this is mainly down to the engineering, the PC-X510 is simply beautifully made, add to that the fact that it looks great, it’s easy to install into and it’s super cool. If only it was a little cheaper perhaps…
The Lian Li PC-X510 arrived at pcG is a very large, rather plain looking brown cardboard box, that really gave nothing away as to the premium case that was hiding within. The case itself was well protected by way of two large foam blocks and sealed in a plastic bag. Once out of the box the sheer beauty of this Lian Li case soon becomes apparent. It is now evident to me why so many people hold Lian Li in such high regard…
I’ll confess (as an ex Rolls Royce engineer) I’m a sucker for engineering, and I know that to produce an all aluminum case as good as this isn’t easy, fit and finish is nothing short of exceptional! There are no moulded parts, everything from the feet to the panels and from the drive brackets to the power button, it’s all aluminium and it both looks good and feels good too! Maybe some may bemoan the lack of external drive support (no 5.25″ bays), but personally I think this is case for 2016 and beyond, when surely (and hopefully) we will finally see the death of the ODD!
Ok James, so it looks good and and it’s well made, but what about building a system into the PC-X510!? Well first up there’s the fact that the PC-X510 can house a pretty impressive Gaming system; with eight expansion slots, support for up to six Drives (HDD or SSD) and with enough fans to keep even the hottest of Graphics Cards cool, on paper the Lian Li PC-X510 already sounds good! Add to that support for up to three radiators (360mm front, 240mm top & 120mm rear) and we find the PC-X510 could house a pretty impressive custom water cooled system also…
Installation of our test gear (see above) into the Lian Li PC-X510 was very easy to say the least, helped by a large interior space and lots of cable management room at the back. In fact there’s so much room at the back the cables can be simply left to their own devices as there’s no need to pin stuff down! There were a couple of niggles though, the first was the fact that our ASRock test MB required ten stand-offs, but the case is equipped with just nine and no additional stand-off are provided! The second is that I’m not a fan (haha get it!) of the the Molex power plug on the fan controller, this should have been a SATA power plug, especially as the controller is effectively inside the Storage area of the case! But as I said these are niggles and they’re easily fixed too!
I also rather like the compartmentalized setup of the Lian Li PC-X510, with the three main zones (Power, Motherboard & Storage). I’ve not really seen a case designed quite like this before but it makes perfect sense now that I have. The most import part of the design though (especially for us Gamers) is the fact that the three front fans have uninterrupted airflow across the GPU area, they’re also surprisingly close and that’s also a good thing! This of course suggests that the PC-X510 should offer some pretty impressive cooling, and thankfully it does…
When it came to cooling the Lian Li PC-X510 topped both our CPU chart and our GPU chart, thanks mainly down to the point above and the sheer number of fans. Our overclocked Skylake 6600K (@4.4GHz) reached a maximum temperature of just 58 (36 Delta) degrees Celsius while running a Prime 95 Torture test, during Gaming this would be significantly lower! But even more impressive was the GPU cooling with our test EVGA 980Ti Classified maxing out at just 77 (54 Delta) degrees. All in all pretty impressive stuff, but with a great number of fans comes great responsibility (sorry I mean noise!). The noise produced with the fan controller set at maximum was only 44dBA, a level that’s unlikely to bother most Gamers gaming with a headset on. But should you wish to bring that noise level down, this level can be reduced to just under 40 dBA courtesy of that fan controller and its Low setting.
Aside from a couple of minor niggles then the Lian Li PC-X510 is the perfect (air cooled) Gaming case then? Yes, it is! But as is the way in this world good things don’t come cheap and great things cost even more! The Lian Li PC-X510 is undeniably expensive when you consider its £300 asking price, but I still think it’s worth it. Just like you can’t really compare a BMW 3-Series to a Bentley, you shouldn’t try and compare a Corsair/Cooler Master case to this, it’s simply not the same. If you’re not in the market for a £300 case then the Lian Li PC-X510 is obviously not for you! But if you are, I think you’re going to be very happy indeed… 😉
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Many thanks to Lian Li for providing this sample for review