Lian Li PC-Z60 Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

Consistent with its exterior, the interior of the Lian Li PC-Z60 is also well furnished, with everything as aluminum as it could get both material-wise and appearance-wise. As you can see in our photo above, the layout is quite standard as far as a mid-tower with a bottom mounted power supply is concerned. What we have here is a distinct but fixed motherboard tray in the standard location, six SATA hard drive bays to the right (Plus one tray for up to two 2.5" drives), and three externally accessible 5.25" drive bay on top. According to my measurements, the longest video card you can fit in the PC-Z60 -- as limited by the hard drive rack -- is 11.5", which is long enough for even cards like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590.

The Lian Li PC-Z60 is able to accommodate mITX, mATX, and ATX motherboards. The riser mounting holes are labeled 'A' for ATX motherboards only; if you have a mATX motherboard, then you will need to figure out which holes to use yourself. ATX motherboard risers are pre-installed for you out of the box. One 120mm rear exhaust fan and one 140mm top exhaust fan are situated around the CPU socket area for maximum cooling performance. Both stock fans feature a 3-pin motherboard header, but Lian Li made sure everyone's bases are covered with included 4-pin Molex adapters as well.

As shown in our photo above, we can spot a large rectangular opening on the motherboard tray for easy aftermarket heatsink backplate installation without removing the motherboard itself from the chassis. Unfortunately, it seems the company is a bit behind the times, since it is not large enough to accommodate modern motherboards with shifted CPU sockets -- which is pretty much every Intel processor since Lynnfield core processors came along back in 2009. I think it is a good idea for them to either enlarge the opening, or move it a bit to the right, otherwise it is pretty much useless to the end user.

Because the Lian Li PC-Z60 features a bottom mounted power supply bay, the chassis platform is raised about 1.5 cm off the ground to accommodate units with fans at the bottom. Inside the chassis, two long rails with foam strips on top elevates the power supply up a further centimeter, just to ensure enough air is made available to your PSU. The ventilation grille has an externally removable dust filter pre-installed, so you won't need to worry about nasty stuff clogging your fans down the road. The power supply bay has full access to the area behind the motherboard tray, since the motherboard tray does not extend into the area adjacent to it. This is very convenient for running cables around your computer during the assembly process.

I am also very pleased by the tool-free expansion card locking mechanism on the PC-Z60. The robust metal clips not only provides an extremely secure installation, but it is also very well built for maximum durability down the road. I have used cases with plastic locks in the past, and trust me -- they break quite easily. This is certainly one of the best tool-free installation systems I have used in the last little while. My only complaint is the metal clips cannot remain in its unlocked position, unless you explicitly hold it up. With your chassis lying flat on the table or the ground, the clips will automatically drop to a semi-locked state the moment you let go. This is a minor annoyance that I believe can be easily fixed in future revisions of this otherwise excellent tool-free installation mechanism.

Three 5.25" externally accessible drive bays are present on the Lian Li PC-Z60. Internally, the chassis can accommodate up to six 3.5" Serial ATA hard drives, with a built in backplane to allow you to easily hot swap your storage devices. A separate tray can take in an additional two 2.5" drives at the very bottom of the rack, but these are neither tool-free nor hot swappable. As visible in our image above, the backplane uses standard SATA data connectors, but power is received by Molex rather than SATA plugs from your PSU. Hard drives can be installed tool-free by two rails that attach to both sides, and slides in from the front with the chassis front panel detached. To prevent you from being a victim of opportunity theft in a public location, disks are locked in by a vertical sliding rail. The locking system can be engaged by the included keys, and is further tightened by a couple of thumbscrews. It is certainly not the most secure system around, but it does the job just fine in my personal opinion.

Here is a look at other side, where most people don't usually pay attention to. In my opinion, the back of the motherboard tray is quite fundamental to good cabling. This is especially held true with the Lian Li PC-Z60, since the company actually expects you to run cables through this section. In my opinion, I think the company can increase the gap here; the amount of room between the side panel and motherboard tray is kind of slim. Fortunately, most of your cables will not go directly behind the motherboard tray, as the user can easily clip all their cables in the column next to the drive rack. Plastic clips ensure everything stays in place, and unless you have a power supply with exquisitely thick cables, it does a very fine job and keeping things organized. I will go over this in further detail in the installation section on the next page.

One thing that did not make a lot of sense to me, as briefly mention on the previous page, is the way the front fans are implemented. Firstly, it directs airflow perpendicular to the traditional front intake, rear exhaust airflow pattern; in other words, it contributes little in bringing in cool air from the outside to cool components like your video card and CPU. All the air is directed over the hard drive rack, with the heat exhausting through the corresponding vent on the opposing side. Modern hard drives can run with next to no active cooling, while the processor and video cards are the components that can actually use as much airflow as it can possibly get. Secondly, intake dust filters are installed on the fans rather than the panel. Again, this is not very useful, because you will want the dust to be filtered out before it enters the chassis -- not after. It is obviously better than nothing, but next time, let's keep it on the side panel for maximum effectiveness.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion