Lian Li PC-Q11
This “tower” is considerably larger than the previous one but is designed in a similar way. Its surface is rough black aluminum without any decorations.
This photo helps you compare the two Lian Li products with their back panels aligned. It’s easy to see that the senior model is taller and longer and has differently positioned front-panel ports (which now include audio connectors). It also has a decorative faceplate for an optical drive.
The configuration of vent openings has changed in the PC-Q11, so its side panels are absolutely symmetrical.
This is the result of the PC-Q11 having active cooling which requires a different configuration of air flows. We’ll discuss the ventilation system shortly, closer to the end of this section of our review.
You may have noticed a second expansion slot bracket in the back panel. It suggests that you can install a dual-slot graphics card, even though not a very long one. The chassis is 26 centimeters long, so your graphics card must be shorter than that.
Thus, the PC-Q11 seems to be intended for more advanced configurations than its smaller cousin. Well, it is also less compact than the latter.
On the other hand, the PC-Q11 is not just a larger PC-Q07. As is indicated by a number of small improvements that combine to produce a much better overall impression, Lian Li positions this product as a higher-class solution.
For example, its accessories are better and even come in better packaging: a glossy box with plastic handle instead of the rough unpainted cardboard packaging of the other three products.
Besides what we’ve seen with the junior Lian Li, the accessories include a USB 3.0->USB 2.0 adapter, a PC speaker and a black aluminum (like the system case itself) sticker with silvery letters of the manufacturer’s name. There is also a promo leaflet with descriptions of Lian Li products.
The USB 3.0-2.0 adapter is supposed to be used for the front-panel USB 3.0 ports if your configuration doesn’t have USB 3.0. You can connect those ports to the USB 2.0 headers of your mainboard.
The adapter can also be useful for USB 3.0-enabled configurations. It can help you output two more USB 2.0 ports through the same hole that the cables of the front-panel USB 3.0 ports use. Perhaps not a very beautiful solution, it can really help if you’ve got a highly integrated mainboard that has a lot of video outputs at its back panel (ours even has a Wi-Fi antenna there) at the expense of USB 2.0 connectors.
The PSU mounting frame and its thumbscrews have become black like the rest of the external details. This is an example of nuances that differentiate top-class products from their cheaper counterparts. On the other hand, Lian Li forgot to include black mounting screws for the PSU itself.
Feet are one of the details that help you find out if the manufacturer has tried to make the system case cheaper to make. As opposed to the junior model, the PC-Q11 has composite feet with soft soles.
The optical drive bay has a spring-loaded faceplate trimmed with aluminum to match the rest of the front panel. This faceplate makes it harder to install an optical drive as compared with the installation procedure of the PC-Q07. First, you have to take off the bay out of the chassis by unfastening four screws. Then you secure your optical drive in it and put them back into the chassis.
It’s become simpler to align the front panel of the optical drive with the front of the system case. If you’ve got a standard drive, you just have to fasten the screws at the farther end of the mounting slits. Otherwise, the drive will press against the faceplate, keeping the latter a little open all the time.
The disc eject button has no mechanism for adjusting to the position of the optical drive’s own eject button. You have to choose an optical drive with a standard position of that button for this system case.
The disk subsystem has doubled its capabilities compared to the PC-Q07. Now you can install two 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch devices. But like with the optical drive, the installation procedure has become somewhat more difficult. You have to remove the aluminum mounting plate for HDDs if you install 2.5-inch disks. And you may have to do so with 3.5-inch disks as well.