Introducing the Lian Li PC-A05FN

If you're willing to shell out the money for them, there are a lot of interesting alternative enclosure designs on the market. Companies like SilverStone, Thermaltake, and Lian Li are happy to sell you more experimental and exotic cases once you get past $150 or so, but what if you want something a little spicier without breaking the bank? At $99 Lian Li has you covered with the new PC-A05FN. There are a lot of good (or at least interesting) ideas at work in the PC-A05FN, but how well do they pan out?

From the outside the PC-A05FN looks like a fairly typical midtower enclosure, albeit one made entirely out of aluminum, but the dimensions are a little unusual. This is a surprisingly short, surprisingly deep enclosure, and one you wouldn't expect to be able to fit a full ATX motherboard. But appearances can be deceiving, and when you pop it open you'll see it's anything but typical.

Lian Li PC-A05FN Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25", 1x 3.5"
Internal 3x 3.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Rear 1x 120mm intake fan
Top 1x 140mm fan mount
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port Power and reset buttons, mic and headphone jacks, USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 10.5" (Expansion Cards), 165mm (CPU HSF), 160mm (PSU)
Weight 9.7 lbs (4.4kg)
Dimensions 8.27" x 15.16" x 19.69" (210mm x 385mm x 500mm)
Price $99

As you can see from the specifications, there isn't that much that seems noteworthy for a basic midtower. The PC-A05FN seems a little shy for hard drive mounting space, but not that many users need more than three 3.5" drive bays, especially with how frequently people are using SSDs now; we have space for two of those as well. Something unusual should catch your eye, though: the PC-A05FN has flipped the traditional airflow design. Instead of taking in cool air from the front and exhausting hot air out of the back, Lian Li has opted to bring cool air directly into the CPU heatsink fan and then blow it over the hard drives out of the front. It's definitely a shift in priorities.

In and Around the Lian Li PC-A05FN
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  • nubie - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    I would rather have a case that is smaller in the front-to-back dimension, even at the cost of a little height.

    Actually, a dream would be the GTR3 (it can hold a full-atx motherboard and a dual-slot video card, and it is as small as many an ITX case.)

    If only the GTR3 was easier to install and work with, but you can't have everything.
  • owdi - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    The author missed an key feature of this case - it is one of the shortest ATX cases on the market.

    I bought the previous version of this case because it fits inside the center channel compartment of a">Techcraft SWP60 TV stand. Just barely. You have to install it through the back and it does stick out by 3 inches.
  • owdi - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    That link to amazon didn't work an I can't figure out how to edit my post. blah
  • MadAd - Sunday, December 11, 2011 - link

    short, long, when the area is about the same its all fiddling around the edges of a tired market long overdue an overhaul
  • Tigashark - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Agree with the other commentors... the Inverted design worked far better with the old A05N which I happen to own. The old design has the motherboard mounted in a way that the CPU is on the bottom, airflow is from the rear to front and the system keeps plenty cool .

    It *will* fit a full 11.5 inch graphics card in it which ends up sitting behind the bottom optical bays which are rarely used.

    Im not sure why LianLi changed this design.. its main advantage is it was a very small formfactor that can fit any graphics card, while remaining light and portable (and looking GREAT) .

    They should have changed the model number to avoid customer confusion as the "Old" A05N is far better...

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