I have to admit I am an absolute sucker for a good mini-ITX machine. And Lian Li is looking to create the next generation of small form factor chassis with its new PC-Q30 and PC-TU100 cases. Though someone in the marketing department of Lian Li needs to have a word about the less-than-dynamic naming conventions of its new chassis, however funky they might look. The PC-TU100 (I'm going to rename you Kenyon, after my favourite Football Manager player of the moment) is a new addition to Lian Li's TU series of 'briefcase' chassis and is apparently even more compact than the previous compact chassis. Let's take a look.(opens in new tab)
It's got a real flight-case aesthetic, though I'm not sure I agree with Lian Li's take on its “retro '007-esque' design”. Still, it looks rugged and should make for a practical LAN gaming rig.
My only problem at the moment is the somewhat inevitable restrictions on the component choice. Mini-ITX mobos are expected, and come with some serious gaming performance chops these days, but it's the support for only the shortest of graphics cards that makes things tricky.
The Kenyon can only cope with cards up to 190mm in length, and that doesn't cover a lot of good gaming cards. Even the HD 7770 is too long for this case. Though with the diminutive PCB on the reference GTX 760 I hope we'll see some iterations of this card along the lines of Asus' GTX 670 Mini (opens in new tab) .
Where the likes of the beloved Bitfenix Prodigy triumphed was in its ability to cope with traditional components once you'd picked your mini-ITX mobo to go inside it. I had a rather chunky GTX 690 humming away in one Prodigy build.
Lian Li's other chassis, the equally awkwardly-named PC-Q30 (henceforth referred to as Murakami, after my current second favourite FM player) suffers from the same problem. The Murakami though can at least stretch up to 200mm cards, but that still doesn't leave a lot of room. It is, though, a more pleasing chassis to my eyes. I really like the swept-back, presentation-case aesthetic on the Murakami, and I reckon we'll end up seeing a good few of these at trade shows as companies look to show off their new mini-ITX Z87 mobos.(opens in new tab)
Both cases will be available in the UK later this month, with the Kenyon (PC-TU100) retailing at around £73 and the Murakami (PC-Q30) coming in at £94. I don't have prices or availability for the rest of the world yet, but I would expect them to appear around the same time globally.
But like I say, me I'm a sucker for a good mini-ITX machine, and the Murakami at least I can't wait to have sat on my desk. Do either of these float your boats for a miniature gaming build?