Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside
If you are looking for a case designed by someone with a ruler -- and only a ruler -- look no further than the Lian Li PC-B12. With an unmistakable Lian Li appearance, this case shows its face with a beautifully constructed brushed aluminum front panel, and distinct corners on every edge. Our black mid-tower addition to the company's foray into silent PC computing has only two external 5.25" drive bays in the front and Lian Li's logo at the bottom. Near the top right corner is a blue power LED and red HDD LED configured in a vertical array. Adding to this rather sparse design list is, well, nothing. There are no 3.5" external drive bay adapters out of the box, it is really not a big issue in my opinion. After all, I don't recall anyone still using floppy disk anyway. A quick tug will remove the front panel for optical drive installation. The dual 140mm intake fans rely on a bottom vent in a separate vertical air chamber, which is accessible here. As far as its looks are concerned, simplicity is the key, just like most cases from the company. No fancy designs. No front door. Just Lian Li. I can write more, but I will let my photo above speak for itself.
The Lian Li PC-B12 comes in at 21cm width, 47.2cm height, and 49.8cm depth. These dimensions are about right for an ATX computer case; in fact, almost identical to the PC-Z60. On the other hand, it tips the scales at just over 14 pounds, which is ridiculously light. One of the reasons for it being able to reside in the featherweight class is because it is built completely out of aluminum. This is only part of the story though. Considering the fact this chassis has sound insulation material inside, this is quite an achievement. If you ever want to impress your friends by holding your computer with one hand with almost no effort, don't bother hitting the gym; the PC-B12 is the way to go.
The beautiful one-piece brushed aluminum top panel is interrupted only by a series of chassis I/O near the front of the case. Personally, I prefer to have ports and connectors in front, but having them on top is certainly not a deal breaker for me. I do appreciate the fact that it has no top exhaust or inlet fan, so you will not need to worry about dust settling into your PC when it is turned off. Behind a precision crafted door are two USB 3.0 ports and two 3.5mm jacks for your headphone and microphone, respectively. The USB 3.0 ports are well spaced, so if you have a fat flash drive, the adjacent port is still usable. Two fat drives and you may be out of luck, so lay off the e-McDonald's. The Lian Li PC-B12's USB 3.0 ports are connected internally. However, if your motherboard does not have any internal USB 3.0 headers, a USB 2.0 adapter is included. Both the power and reset buttons are pretty large, but thankfully, it sits completely flush with the raised circumferential edge, so you are quite unlikely to activate them accidentally. Additionally, because they are on top of the case, neither kicking feet nor flinging hands are likely to cause any screaming anger in frustration.
Remaining true to the company's long heritage of aluminum manufacturing expertise, the back of our black PC-B12 no longer makes any effort to hide its aluminum nature -- the unpainted aluminum surface is definitely one of those things where you can be proud of the cash you have coughed up for classic Lian Li quality and craftsmanship. Its layout is pretty much standard for a case with a bottom mounted power supply bay. We can expectantly spot an included black colored 120mm fan placed adjacent to the motherboard I/O backplate, with two pre-drilled water cooling holes next to each other just beneath. Now if you take a closer look at the photo above, you may be wondering what kind of genius placed a removable fan grille in front of the fan towards the interior, rather than behind the fan on the exterior. On face value, this is quite dangerous, because if you stick your "you-know-what" there, you are going to suffer from some serious injuries. Your "you-know-what" being your fingers, obviously; not sure where your mind wandered off to, haha. The reason why they did this is because the PC-B12 comes with an exhaust duct, which alleviates the need for a rear fan grille. We will take a further look at this on Page 4 of this review. The expansion slot covers are fully ventilated as always, as shown in our photo above.
Both side panels are held closed by two thumbscrews each, with rubber washers in between to dampen vibration. A beveled handle protrudes from the back of the Lian Li PC-B12 for the user's convenience. These side panels are designed to be a mirror image of each other; in other words, they are both completely blank, just the way Yours Truly would have liked it. Because this mid-tower features a traditional front intake, rear exhaust setup, it does not have any side or top vents as aforementioned. This provides a huge advantage in reducing dust, and if you hate cleaning the interior of your computer every two weeks, the Lian Li PC-B12 certainly takes home the cake for implementing a good airflow design.
Large, shiny plastic legs with rubber bottom resembling those commonly found on home electronics can be seen on the Lian Li PC-B12. They are screwed into the bottom panel, and can be easily removed at your heart's desire. Combined with a 1.5 cm rise above the residing surface, like every other air intake, the company has a removable fan filter here to reduce dust from entering your power supply -- especially of those featuring a bottom mounted fan. The front intake vent is held on by two thumbscrews, and comes with a filter to limit dust from entering your computer. The vertical air chamber reduces the fan size to intake opening ratio (Especially with two 140mm units) to further enhance this.
As always, Lian Li's execution in manufacturing quality is simply flawless. It certainly lives up to the company's excellent reputation of aluminum manufacturing prowess; bringing pride and definition to what they promote as "Finest Quality -- Made in Taiwan". All the panels fit together extremely well with minimal panel gaps. Despite being incredibly lightweight, nothing feels flimsy or cheap. Sharp edges are out of the question. The amount of attention to detail is truly matchless, and Lian Li lovers will continue to be impressed. Generally speaking, the Lian Li PC-B12 is yet another fine example of what a company known for craftsmanship in manufacturing simply the best aluminum cases in the market is capable of doing.