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High-End Aluminum PC Cases Make A Comeback 232

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the aluminum-is-like-sexy-or-something dept.
An anonymous reader writes ""Lian Li's V1200 Plus represents the apex of enclosure technology to date. Lian Li is a long time favorite of computer builders, especially those who are willing to spend more so that they will get the features and design benefits of a high end product. This case has a formidable price tag, but with its great looks, innovative layout, and brand reputation it has more that a few things going for it. At 210 x 490 x 625mm this case has the depth of a full-tower, but not the height. This makes it perfect for extensive systems and for people who need to tinker inside the case.""
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High-End Aluminum PC Cases Make A Comeback

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  • Aluminum? How Space Age. Ultra-modern, Information Age technology demands the return of the Magnesium Alloy [fortunecity.com] cases. And if you douse them in lighter fluid and place them on top [blackholeinc.com] of a natural gas burner, they burh quite nicely. [google.com] ;-)
  • by bigwavejas (678602) * on Friday August 12, 2005 @07:55PM (#13308595) Journal
    Another thing to consider, which this article didn't specifically point out is... Aluminum cases keep your system cooler than standard steel cases. With PC temperatures rising (through overclocked CPU's and the latest pixel-pushing video cards), it's one more reason to consider a Aluminum.
    • by dmbrun (907271) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:11PM (#13308693)
      Aluminum cases keep your system cooler than standard steel cases

      Well no.

      See http://www.systemcooling.com/alum_steel-01.html [systemcooling.com]
    • Pick the case metal based on what you like and are willing to pay for. I love the look of aluminum as a case metal but they aren't necessarily better functioning than steel.

      That and, most computer case heat transfer is through air flow, any other claim is hype or a radically different design, which ATX and BTX aren't it, more like custom case and circuit design. Unless you actually have heat sinks that transfer heat directly to the shell, the shell material doesn't make much of a difference.
    • by Lisandro (799651) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:24PM (#13308766)
      Not really - your computer heats the air inside the case, and not the case itself. Unless the parts generating more heat are attached directly to it (like the CPU), it won't really make much of a difference.
          Even stuff like hard disk (which are bolted to the case) will be cooled pretty much the same if the case is made of Al, steel or whatever, as there's enough mass to deal with it. Aluminium will move the heat quicker, giving you a couple of degrees less, and that's it.

          It will also irradiate poorly (being metal gray in color, instead of black).
    • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:29PM (#13308787)
      Another thing to consider, which this article didn't specifically point out is... Aluminum cases keep your system cooler than standard steel cases.

      I'm guessing the article didn't point it out because it's not true. It's an old urban legend among PC builders that's been thoroughly debunked repeatedly, to the point where most people actually don't believe it anymore. (This is a good thing - most urban myths just keep on going forever... witness the Bill Gates 640k quote [brainyquote.com] myth.)

      Aluminum is a superior thermal conductor to steel but that's meaningless when you're talking about open air. Your PC's components are not actually in contact with the aluminum so it doesn't do them any good to be in an aluminum case. The vast majority of a PC's heat (around 99.9%) is removed by the PC's fans, not by conduction through the case, and you can easily verify this yourself just by feeling the top of your PC when it's on. It's likely that it's barely even warm to the touch - if it is, then you've got bigger problems that aren't going to be solved just by an aluminum case.

      It's far more important that a PC case be built for good airflow than what material it's made out of. A well-designed steel case will outperform a poorly-designed aluminum case in terms of heat removal any day of the week.

      It's another myth that aluminum cases are lighter - that may be true by a half pound or so, but when you're talking about 40 lbs. vs. 39.5 lbs. in a fully loaded PC, I don't think that much matters either. Your PC's innards don't magically get lighter just because you bought an aluminum case.

      Buy an aluminum case because you like the way it looks and you like the way it's designed, not for any other reason.

      (btw, I have two PC's in aluminum cases - I just like the look.)
      • The front panel of my Thermaltake is thick aluminum and quite cool to the touch. It has slits in it for air to pass through. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to think that it's helping cool the air that the pair of 120mm fans are blowing through there.
      • It's another myth that aluminum cases are lighter - that may be true by a half pound or so...

        Actually, metallic iron has a density of about 7 g/cc, and aluminum is 2.6 g/cc -- an aluminum case will weigh less than half an iron one made of the same thickness of material.

        I can vouch for the lightness of my aluminum case. This isn't 40.0 vs 39.5 lbs, it's more like 40 vs 20.

      • not by conduction through the case, and you can easily verify this yourself just by feeling the top of your PC when it's on

        It's hot, paticularly near the hard drives and power supply.

        A well-designed steel case will outperform a poorly-designed aluminum case

        But if you compare well designed cases with each other there is a difference.

        Heat flows by convection, conduction and radiation - (we can ignore radiation unless the CPU is a lot hotter than the case), but the hot air in the case will warm the case, hea

      • I'm guessing the article didn't point it out because it's not true. It's an old urban legend among PC builders that's been thoroughly debunked repeatedly, to the point where most people actually don't believe it anymore.
        {SNIP excellent explanation}


        People can also go and grab a 6-pack of beer in cans (noooo!) to experient with and see that aluminum is not all it's cracked up to be.
      • Wrong on both counts.

        A large amount of the heat an average PC produces today is made by the power supply. The power supply is a tough nut to crack -- the best are only 80% efficient, and they're so small that it's hard to get airflow through them. Even the new models with a 90mm and 120mm fan don't actually blow that many CFMs because all the equipment inside. And when you realize that in a 350W computer, at least 70W of pure heat have to be disipated, every little bit (conduction or convection) helps.

        And w
      • You have two Al cases, eh? I'm curious, how quickly do they oxidise and gain that dull white look?
    • Aluminum cases keep your system cooler than standard steel cases.

      Perhaps, but silver, gold and platinum have much better thermal conductivity than aluminium, and diamonds are best of all.

      Any case modder worth their salt should be building silver cases inlaid with gold and platinum heatsinks, encrusted with diamonds for those thermally sensitive areas.

      It would be a good way to encourage recycling as well.
    • They do not.

      Unless the Aluminum is in direct contact with the hot parts of your PC, it is contributing negligibly to heat dissipation. Airflow and good heat sinks are much more important. Case material is almost irrelevant for cooling purposes.

      The advantage of aluminum is lightweight. And anodized aluminum kindof looks cool. That's it.

      I'd rather have a good, heavy, sturdy steel case of the same design as some of these aluminum cases that are just a tad too flimsy for my tastes. My InWin Q500 is built l
      • Just when I used up all my mod points...

        I've used the In-Win S500, V500T, and am ordering the S500T. These are fantastic cases with amazing build quality and excellent thermal & acoustic dynamics as well. Why anybody would bother with anything else, I have no idea.

  • Advertisement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medeii (472309) on Friday August 12, 2005 @07:56PM (#13308599)
    Lian Li's V1200 Plus represents the apex of enclosure technology to date. Lian Li is a long time favorite of computer builders, especially those who are willing to spend more so that they will get the features and design benefits of a high end product.

    Can it get any more blatant than this?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 12, 2005 @07:56PM (#13308600)
    I hope Slashdot is at least getting a cut on the referral money from these sites. I'm going to go put up a "review" of some hot new hardware and submit it to Slashdot. With any luck, they'll post it... twice!
    • I wonder if the /. adverticals like this one have ever been duped?

      How about adverticals by editor by date?

      Or are they more prevalent just before the pay check is due?

      My guess is that the eds are making a nice sideline.
  • When I was builing a gaming machine I wanted a high quality G5-like case for it, but couldn't find one. I think this might be it.
    • You can buy the G5 shell on ebay for a cheap price but you'll need to make adapters to make it work.

      I really haven't liked Lian-Li cases when I got a good close-up look.
      • That's funny, I've had a PC68 for a few years now and have found it to be a really stylish and flexible piece of hardware. My only complaint is the screws that stick out the bottom that will scratch your desk if you don't slide it off completely horizontally. I guess the wheels solve that problem.

        There's no accounting for taste, I suppose.
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Friday August 12, 2005 @07:59PM (#13308621)
    For God's sake, Aluminum is too damned weak for a good case kicking. I mean when I'm pissed, I like the nice recoil of a heavy gage steel panel against my boot when I punt my case in rage.
    • I like the nice recoil of a heavy gage steel panel against my boot when I punt my case in rage.

      I think you should try another operating system... I've found that Linux is pretty compatible with aluminum cases ;)

    • Bah! Heavy gauge steel indeed. You need a nice thick reinforced titanium alloy instead :)
    • You've never tried kicking an Apple G5 have you?
      Their aluminium cases are made from 3-4mm thick plate Aluminium - a coworker dropped one from waist height and it fell and hit the feet of an office chair - the chair was damaged but there was not a dent on the case
      (OK, so both the CPUs and their massive watercooling system were wrentched from the logic board, but the case was OK =)
  • by rdwald (831442) on Friday August 12, 2005 @07:59PM (#13308623)
    I mean, the review is written by a Lian-Li employee, and the story was submitted here by an "anonymous reader." Seems like a blatent plug to me.
    • I'll correct my own comment that Sal Cangeloso works for Lian-Li; however, when the byline of the article reads thusly:
      By: Sal Cangeloso

      Lian-Li.com

      I think my mistake is at least understandable.
  • Not impressed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:00PM (#13308627) Homepage Journal

    First of all, I think this thing is ugly as sin. It's not sleek and stylish, it looks like something you'd find in a manufacturing plant making pieces of some sort of industrial equipment. Okay, that's just my personal taste, maybe you think it's beautiful.

    That being said, it definitely has non-aesthetic drawbacks as well. From one of the reviews on Newegg's site:

    Overall I'm satisfied, though I'll post my minor complaints here because that's what this is for, right? (1) No reset button. (2) The power light "bleeds" into the hard drive light. (3) Case doesn't do much to deaden sound. While not an issue for me, don't buy this case if you are looking to build a quiet computer. (4) Though the location and installation of the hard drives is unique, it would make connecting a full load of SCSI drives difficult. This can probably mostly be overcome with a round cable. (5) The power LED connector is a three pin while my MB, and all I've used to now, require a 2 pin connector. I had to remove the individual pins from the connector to plug into the board. (6) Not too familiar with Firewire connections, but the front panel firewire array connector does not fit on my MB. You would have to extract the individual pins like I did with the power connector. (7) I'm suspicious that airflow through the case is as good as it appears it should be. CPUs run about 4-5 degrees C warmer with the sides mounted in place.

    He may be satisifed, but I'm definitely steering away from it. That's just too many weirdities.

    • First of all, I think this thing is ugly as sin.

      In its favor, this particular case does admittedly go well with certain decors [rvonline.com].

      Depends on your version of ugly. Personally, I think all computer equipment should strive to emulate the look of audio equipment, but if that's not possible or desired, sticking a 4U rackmount system into a wooden cabinet offers a look that's infinitely preferrable to the goofiness for sale on store shelves.

    • The power LED connector is a three pin while my MB, and all I've used to now, require a 2 pin connector. I had to remove the individual pins from the connector to plug into the board.

      Many motherboards have a separate set of pins for the three-pin power LED connector to plug into (at least every board I've owned does). It's usually near the power/reset/power & HDD LED header. Should be a non-issue for most people.
  • ...right there on page 2. Unfortunately, they fail to mention that they took a G5, and then bashed it with the Ugly Stick.

  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:04PM (#13308660) Homepage Journal
    True, it's got some simple advantages for casebuilding. It's lightweight, shiny, and probably the best metal for heat dissipation (assuming a room cooler than your system, of course). No corrosion either.

    But let's take a look at the chemistry. Anybody in plumbing or wiring will tell you to avoid connecting two different metals -- and I don't think it's a coincidence that computer cases until now have either been plastic or largely built from the same metals as your ICs.

    Iron has four energy levels, but aluminum only has three; this would suggest to the average person that aluminum would shield components better from electrical interference, but that's not the case at all. Additionally, iron has four known stable isotopes while aluminum only has one, and most computer builders prefer to build as much stability into their systems as possible.

    I prefer plastic above the rest, as while it is more synthetic and prone to generating static electricity if rubbed with a wool cloth it generally works well and offers a greater degree of artistic freedom to the case designer.

    • Pure twaddle. I have had a PC68 for years and none of your bizarre energy level problems. The only reason anyone uses steal and plastic is cheap and cheaper. Isotopes? What, are you nuts or something? Do you even know what an isotope is?
    • Anybody who knows chemistry knows, corrosion is the biggest problem when dissimilar metals come in contact. The edge connectors on most expansion cards are gold plated to provide a better electrical connection. Therefore, it goes without saying, if chemical reactions are your main concern, it's a no brainer, just make the case out of gold, problem solved. It has benefits of being shiny, you dont want it to be lightweight (to easy for somebody to walk away with), and it'll have PLENTY of awe factor, assum
    • I prefer plastic above the rest, as while it is more synthetic and prone to generating static electricity if rubbed with a wool cloth it generally works well and offers a greater degree of artistic freedom to the case designer.

      And no case ground or RF shielding. Plastic is almost always a very poor choice for electronic equipment, particularly anything that might be near RF equipment (ie, your neighbor with a high-power HF rig; your stereo; etc.). I'd rather have aluminum than plastic, at least aluminum

    • Man, that must be some good crack. More stable isotopes makes for a more stable system? Huh?
    • I once had a case made of Plutonium-186, but the parallel universe threesome guys kept bluescreening it all the time.
    • LOL Treeshock - I always wonder for a second whether you're serious. Then I read your sig :D

      Isotope Feng Shui - could catch on among the hard of thinking. I'm always amazed at what people will believe in, and then I'm disgusted with myself for not selling it to them in a shiny packet for large sums of money :P

      "I'm afraid so sir, the energy levels in the isotopes in your case material are out of alignment, but you're in luck! Not only is Jupiter in ascendance with your power supply, but we have a special o
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cascino (454769) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:06PM (#13308665) Homepage
    This case has been around for a long time. And it's ugly as sin.
    Why again is this front-page worthy?
  • what about a really tough outer film, like Kevlar (or maybe not quite so tough/expensive) over a neoprene (skindiver suit) case? Better for my notebook to bounce than just take a punch.
    • Get on it, man. Get yourself some sewing skills, a lot of neoprene in a bunch of different colors, some thick thread, a commercial sewing machine and a cart down at the mall and start sellin!
  • I love this quote:

    Once again Lian Li has managed to impress us with not only the quality of their case, but the innovation of their design. The PC V1200 Plus has the features, size, and attention to detail to make it a great choice for anyone's "dream machine". The price is steep but taking into consideration what you are getting the V1200 is tough to beat.

    Or to put it another way:

    Lian Li has managed to impress us with not only the quality of their reproduction, but the accuracy as well. The PC V1200 Plus h

  • by jopet (538074) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:18PM (#13308736) Journal
    The article (both the ./ and the original one) are nothing more than an ad.

    Who actually wants this here?
  • We tested these a few months ago in our lab. Their thermal performance was only mediocre. All the little holes in the aluminium allow back flow into the chassis. That means that hot air just sits inside while the fans circulate air around in a little loop in the back of the chassis. The good ole chenbro gaming bomb did better thermally.

    These are definitely not worth the money, when we got 'enm they were like $200 without a power supply!

  • It looks gimmicky and overpriced. The business of inverting the power supply / motherboard looks highly questionable since now your pci cards are in the hot zone (top rear) trapping the heat in this area with no airflow. It is also very questionable since most motherboard thermal designs are based on mounting in the reverse position so you are running outside the designers intended use.

    In addition the aesthetics are bad - cheese grater anyone?

    I think cases like the Thermaltake Tsunami Dream and the Antec PB
    • Overpriced? You obviously haven't compared Lian Li with other aluminum cases. Hands down, they give you the best value for your buck. You wanna buy plastic junk and hide it in the bedroom, that's your decision. My computer sits in the living room next to my stereo/surround/DVD/LCD system, and it looks as good as any of the other components, better in fact than some.
      • You obviously haven't compared Lian Li with other aluminum cases.

        Nonsense. I own two aluminum cases, a Thermaltake and a Lian-Li. The Thermaltake was half the price and has better build quality, air flow and styling, and the layout is just as good if not better. Plus I am not sold on aluminum cases in general - what does aluminum get you anyway over steel? A bigger price tag and that is about it. They also tend to be noisier than steel cases because of the thinner construction. Case manufacturers try selli
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:29PM (#13308786)
    Netcraft confirms it. Slashdot is dying "This site has ceased to be amusing," says one time Slashdot fanatic Walter Smith. "Something that used to be fun is now about as lively as a funeral. In the past, one could come here for sometimes informative articles, and always amusing mirth-filled comments in the discussion section. Now, anything remotely funny just gets modded down as troll, and one of the world's best venues for amateur comedy is gone." "The sometimes off-color an angry banter back and forth between trolls and the newbies who fed them was a great source of amusement," he went on to add, "but has up and died, much like Stephen King or Marlon Wayans, and what a shame! Now, it is too dull to even hold my attention for two minutes. Slashdot will be sorely missed." It is official. Slashdot it dead.
  • AC? My ass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maxwell'sSilverLART (596756) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:43PM (#13308852) Homepage

    Anonymous coward? But TFA said it was by Sal Cangeloso, and since it's taken verbatim, I'd say it's probably reasonable to ascribe this to him.

    Hey, you know what'd be really cool? If we had somebody who could read the stories, and decide which ones are valid news stories, and which are just advertisements. We could call the process "editing," or somesuch.

    If we really wanted to go overboard, we could make him check the spelling and grammar of submissions, and possibly even see if the same story was reported the previous day. But that's probably just crazy talk.

  • The site is slashdotted, so I headed over to newegg [newegg.com] to see what it looks like. Basically, they've taken a G5 and stretched the thing by about 50%. It now has the dimensions of a trolley. That's all that comes to mind when I look at the third newegg picture -- trolley...
    • This is the case I bought my wife when I built her computer at Christmas. She has the black model and I have to say it's the single most pleasant case I've EVER worked in. That goes for some of the IBM rack mounts too. It is VERY spacious and the hard drive mounts are the coolest this side of the planet.

      I actually have to crack it open again soon and put in the floppy/flash card reader and I'm actually looking forward to getting in there.

      My case, however, is not as pleasant since it's basically a tower to r
  • To xyzcomputing: (Score:4, Informative)

    by arhines (620963) on Friday August 12, 2005 @08:52PM (#13308889) Homepage
    If you are going to submit an article from your own website, at least have the balls to say it like it is and submit it as yourself. There's a reason it says "Anonymous Coward". To slashdot editors: Please stop accepting every article submitted by this and other small sites. If they come up with something innovative or have an exclusive review of something new, post it. Otherwise, let the RSS newsfeeds at anandtech/hardocp/etc handle this crap.
  • I do a lot of metalworking and this is just the sort of case I would like. I can imagine machining matching aluminum cases for other things. But I do wince at the thought of spending over $200 on just the box for your computer.
  • Shouldn't we boycott sites that have those "false windows error message"-type ads ?
  • And, frankly, I wish I would have waited a month. Had I done so, I could have bought a very nice Antec P160 for a good bit less money, and just as good quality.

    Lian Li cases are nice, but they're not so nice that they justify the premium markup.
  • I have the V1200B as it stands, great case mind you but not the point of this post...

    The Lian Li F1 desk [lian-li.com]

    I am normally not a man to go gaga over furniture, but come on you have to agree, this would have to be the best tech desk I have seen in AGES!

    At 3000 pound it's a little steep...

  • Many people don't realize the advantages of aluminum case over their steel...
    << Start < Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next > End >>
  • This reminds me of an idea I had some time ago. There are many out there (myself included) who don't see a problem in spending a good chunk of change for a computer case that looks nice. The problem is, pretty much every design out there is suited for modern looking decor.

    My home office is largely decorated in rich, dark woods, while my computer case (currently silver) sticks out like a sore thumb. My idea is to use something I've never seen in computer case design before: wood. Now, I understand you'd
  • Disclaimer: I am the editor in chief of Maximum PC magazine, so my opinion on things like this isn't unbiased.

    The aluminum case is not, and has never been dead.

    We've reviewed a steady stream of aluminum cases at Maximum PC over the last four years.

    To even suggest that is idiotic. I could almost see posting this if it was a roundup of a bunch of the new aluminum cases, but we reviewed this case in the magazine last year.
  • I mean, it's got a floppy drive. We're talking about the FUTURE, people!

    Hey, I just drilled a mesh of holes into this Red Bull can sitting next to me. It's the future of Red Bull cans!
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:36AM (#13309688)
    Ok, so the case has fan on the front and the back, so you have a tunnel or horizontal chimney effect for the airflow. One full pulls air (say from the front) of the case, and the other blows it out the back.

    For outlet fan (the rear one) to be effective, the case should be airtight with the exception of the inlet fan. This way the air moves in one direction only.

    Having holes on the bottom poses a problem for the outlet fan, it can actually pull air from the holes in the bottom of the case and blow it out the back. The air may not even go over the intended equipment. Since the air can be pulled from the bottom, the hotter air from the inlet fan (front) may circulate in the case, be pushed out the bottom or go out the back.

    The whole system would not be as effective if you plugged up the bottom holes and had a high volume of air going in the front and out the back.

    -Puck=> .
  • My next case will be the Coolermaster Stacker [coolermaster.com] so I have plenty of capacity for disk drives.

    My major gripe with cases is: most don't provide enough 3.5" expansion bays. And many case makers put in lots of 5.25" (external) bays before they put in 3.5" bays. Nobody sells a 5.25" disk drive anymore, and I'm tired of screwing in 3.5" brackets.

    Note that the stacker actually has 5.25" bays but they sell a cage to fit 4 x 3.5" drives in 3 x 5.25" bays, and the cage comes with its own fan. I don't know how many

  • by Sarin (112173)
    I have the V1200 case for a year now. (not the plus version)

    I bought it at that time to keep my dual opteron system in. due to the size of the extended atx motherboard it was hard to find a case, after some searching I got this one. Yes it was expensive, but the computer parts were expensive as well.
    It's a really great case, it opens up easily and I don't regret buying it.

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