Lian Li PC-6010 computer caseReview date: 16 May 2003 Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
The reason why they've got so very many products is that many of their cases are almost identical. Different finishes, different front panels, normal or windowed side panels, a checklist of other little extras that may or may not be there; it doesn't take many variables to generate a couple of dozen distinct products from the granddaddy of all of Lian Li's midi-tower cases, the PC-60. Every Lian Li midi-tower can be easily defined as "A PC-60, plus or minus X."
This may be a little disappointing for PC-parts-shoppers expecting a cavalcade of completely different enclosures to choose from, but all of Lian Li's cases are, nonetheless, very good. Aluminium construction, excellent fit and finish, tons of drive bays, lots of fan mounts with fans installed in all of them as standard equipment. If you've only ever assembled PCs in nasty cheap steel cases that don't fit together properly and cut your hands to ribbons, any Lian Li will make you feel as if comely servants are strewing rose petals before you.
Pragmatically speaking, you're better off with a quality steel case than with any company's aluminium model, simply because aluminium cases cost much more than steel but don't actually making a big difference to the final computer's weight, or any other functional feature.
But aluminium cases are noticeably lighter - very noticeably lighter, when you first lift the bare
case without Power Supply Unit (PSU) out of its carton - and they do look great. I have an abiding affection
for Lian Li cases, and so do a lot of other
nerds discerning information technology consumers.
So here, for your consideration, is another recent PC-60 variant. It's the PC-6010, and it's almost just a PC-60 with a couple of things deleted. But behind its front panel (which is frosted-finish solid aluminium, not a plastic moulding) is something rather odd.
Look inside the PC-6010 (easy to do; the front panel pops off, and everything important is held on with thumbscrews) and you'll see a very typical basic Lian Li midi-tower layout.
Four 5.25 inch drive bays at the top of the front, three 3.5 inch bays in a removable cradle in the middle, three more 3.5 inch bays at the bottom. Two pre-installed 80mm intake fans at the bottom of the front panel, one 80mm exhaust fan at the back. Slide-out motherboard tray for easy assembly and servicing. PSU mounting plate, which lets you install most kinds of ATX PSU without threading them in from the inside of the case, and also lets you install your PSU either way up, to accommodate PSUs with fan grilles on the less popular side of their box.
The PC-6010 lacks the three-position speed controller for the front fans that many Lian Li cases have, and it's also only got the basic three-drive bottom 3.5 inch bay cradle. The better Lian Lis have for some time had a vertical-mount five drive cradle there.
Apart from that, though, this is a PC-60. With one difference.
Two USB ports at the bottom, thumbscrews retaining the centre bay cradle, easily removed perforated aluminium retainer over the foam filter for the front fans, little hole where the fan speed controller switch would be if this case had one... that's all normal.
What're those two things with the rainbow wires that're sticking out around the level of the bottom of the middle drive cradle, though?
They're LEDs. Tri-colour LEDs, to be specific; three high intensity Light Emitting Diode dies encased in one standard 5mm epoxy lens package, and all fed by a four-wire cable that goes back to a little controller on the other side of the front panel.
When the LEDs are on, they cycle smoothly through seven distinct colour combinations, fading to nothing in between colours. The whole cycle takes 35 seconds, and the light shows through the front panel grille like this:
(Click this image for a 1600 pixel wide version showing all seven colour combinations.)
I've reviewed battery powered LED lights that can do tricks like this before. Check out the Photon Rav'n here, for instance, and the newer and brighter Psycho-Bright Rainbow here. I've also looked at some multi-LED multi-colour lights here, here and here. And I've added RGB LED lighting to a case myself. But this is the first computer case I've seen that comes from the factory with disco fever.
There may only be two LEDs lighting up the PC-6010, but they're bright enough to be easily visible in a normally lit room at night, or in a typically dim computer room during the day. For maximum ooh-aah value, you want a darkened room, but Lian Li have done a good job on the LED positioning inside the PC-6010. That, along with the shiny aluminium behind the front panel, means the colours mix smoothly and a decent amount of light gets out through the grille.
It's easier to see what the PC-6010's LEDs are doing if you take the front panel off, so I did.
(Another 1600 pixel wide film strip awaits those who click on this image.)
The LEDs and the two front fans all run from passthrough four-pin power adapters; you just plug 'em in and they work. It wouldn't be difficult to wire a switch in series with the LEDs, so you could turn them off when you're not in the mood for a light show.
If you like the idea of a PC case with not-so-subtly colour-shifting light glowing out of its grille, and almost all of the standard Lian Li mod cons, then the PC-6010 may totally excite you.
If you'd rather your PC didn't shout "Look at me!" all day, though, then there's nothing in this case to elevate it above a regular PC-60.
Certainly not price. Here in Australia, the PC-6010 without power supply sells for $AU342.10 from Aus PC Market, including Sydney metropolitan delivery; delivery elsewhere in Australia costs extra. The good old PC-60USB is only $AU272.80 including Sydney metro delivery, and it's got a fan speed controller and more 3.5 inch bays. You can check out all of the cases Aus PC sells here.
Lian Li aren't hanging their reputation on the PC-6010. It's just one more of their PC-60 variants. You're not going to mistake this one for any of the others, though.
Personally, I think the PC-6010's mildly hilarious, but I don't want one. It's basically just a matter of taste, though. If the idea appeals to you, the PC-6010 is unlikely to disappoint.
Aus PC Market don't sell the PC-6010 any more, but they've got plenty of other Lian Lis in their cases department.
(if you're not in Australia or New Zealand, Aus PC Market won't deliver to you. If you're in the USA, try a price search at DealTime!)