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This review is from: LIAN LI PC-D8000 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Pros: Typically excellent Lian Li construction. Expansive slide out mobo tray. Dual PSU capable. Classic elegant look and profile. Very good (but not excellent) cable routing capabilities. Room for significant number of drives beyond the built in 20 3.5" slots. I am using two of these cases for storage servers - one with an ASUS P9X79 WS mobo and the other using an EVGA X79 SLI mobo. Both setups use two (each) areca 24 port RAID cards, and 48 drives. There is no other case available that I know of that can do this at this cost.
Cons: Yes, it is expensive (unless on sale) and it has no fans. You will need a LOT of fans, and should consider a fan controller for one of the front bays. For this price, it should be completely powder coated. I painted both of mine, and it was a job-and-a-half. But like most higher end Lian Li cases, it uses very few rivets, and it can be almost completely disassembled. It is difficult to fasten hard drives in the 20 built in slots, making swapping difficult. I ended up spending about $300 additional on cages, fans, cabling and a fan controller for each case.
Most importantly are the CPU cooling problems. For a case this size, you would not expect this, but you only have 140mm of height clearance for a HSF. I am using a Cooler Master GeminiiS524, and a Noctua NH-L12. These both fit, and allow you to pull the mobo tray out. I like downdraft coolers for keeping the mobo cool (and I'm using Mushkin Red Line low profile) but this case has a bracing plate above the mobo tray that will block airflow to any taller cooler. You also have to pay close attention with any mobo so that a downdraft cooler does not overlap the first PCIe slot.
I had in stock an Antec Kuhler 620 that would have been ideal, but once mounted to the mobo tray 120mm fan cutout, the tray could not be installed, as the radiator overhangs the side and top of the tray by a few millimeters. I have not found a 120mm liquid all-in-one cooler that would not have this problem. In my humble experience, this is what makes Lian Li so maddening - so close to perfect, but always a fatal flaw or two.
Other Thoughts: I am running the mobo, 24 drives on one areca card, and some fans from a Seasonic 750. I am running the other 24 drives and most of the fans on a second Seasonic 460. I utilize staggered spinup in the areca BIOS to avoid strain on the drives and PSUs during start up. I used 7 of the excellent and low cost Xigmatek CCA-EMFCB-U01 4-in-3 hard drive cages (N82E16817996019). I used one to house 4 drives in 3 of the front 5.25 slots (perfect fit without modding). I used modders mesh to construct frames for 6 more of the cages for the other 24 drives, which fit easily in the space next to/above the mobo and behind the front slots.
Despite its flaws, I love the case, and recommend it. It just requires a lot of TLC.
Pros: Well designed layout with good port access and tons of goodies. Wireless AC runs fast with ASUS RT-AC66U. Mini SATA on underside, not blocking upper layout or CPU HSF backplates with enough clearance for adequate cooling. Well shielded Realtek ALC1150 with basic but OK TI NE5532 op amps support 600 ohm phones (drives Beyerdynamics 880 and 990 600 ohm cans with aplomb, although not as well as a dedicated external amp). Excellent BIOS with a clear advancement in features over the previous Z77 generations - no problem recognizing GSkill Ares 2133 CAS9 sticks. Easily auto overclocked a 4770K to 4.3, then 4.5; a few tweaks created very stable OC. No Virtu license included, holding down the price. Excellent CPU socket placement. Super easy RAID setup in BIOS.
Cons: Just a few minor nit picks: 8 pin EPS near backplane and under most heatsinks is inconvenient, but still not too bad, especially considering everything crammed onto this board. Power regulation not up to ASUS P8Z77I standards, but still quite good, especially for price, so not for extreme ITX overclocks. But this is balanced out against the full array of features, so not really a con.
No Virtu, but Virtu is now marketing itself as a licensable annual software package, and the current pricing model is unattractive. I did try the trial version, and while it did improve rendering performance somewhat, it was not worth the up to $80 per year cost. Try the trial yourself and see if it makes sense to you. Virtu was heavily funded by Intel Capital, and was given away widely on Z77 boards, but will be an expensive add-in going forward. Had no problems installing and running the trial.
However, several questions emailed to ASRock support during initial setup were never answered (got board on June 5th and emailed June 6th). GIYF.
Other Thoughts: This will be the board to beat for the Z87 ITX market, and you really can't go wrong owning it. The ASUS Z87I and ROG Impact will be faster and equally loaded with better power regulation, but a lot more expensive. The Gigabyte and MSI boards won't be as overclockable (they both are being shown as only having a 4 pin EPS connection) and won't have all of the ASRock's features.
Haswell may not be a great upgrade for gamers, but I am using this board for both a CAD rendering system and for concealable video surveillance servers. The 4770K with this board is significantly more effective than the Z77 platform for these uses. Haswell may only be 8-10% faster in general, but rendering performance is vastly improved, and this board does a good job in harnessing that power.
System: 4770K with Prolimatech Samuel 17 (fits great, as usual - also used CM GeminiiM4 and Vortex without any problems); GSkill Ares 2133 CAS9 (also tried Mushkin 1600 CAS7 with nearly same performance); ASUS GTX 670 Mini, Silverstone SFF 450 watt (also use FSP), modded Lian Li PC-Q07, two Samsung 830 RAID 0, WD Black 2TB.
This review is from: Prolimatech PRO-SAM17 Samuel 17 CPU Cooler
Pros: My go-to ITX cooler! I have fit this on many ITX boards, including the Zotac Z68, Gigabyte H55N, Asus and ASRock A75s, Asus and ASRock Z77 and H77s, all without RAM or PCIe conflict. Excellent backplate mounting system. Despite low profile, still easy to make CPU fan connection and 4/8 pin EPS connection. 6 heatpipes and 410 grams without fan can handle A83870K at 3.5 GHz at 62 degrees at load! Laughs at 3770K! Oversized downdraft cooling solves chipset overheating problems (see the Zotac Z68 ITX reviews on the web). Can be installed in all four directions depending on your board. Highly recommended!
Cons: More expensive than others, but worth it. Must purchase fan separately, but that gives you more control and allows you to tailor your build to its intended purpose, so not really a con to me. Consider the excellent 120x120x12 mm fans from Scythe for tight cases.
Other Thoughts: Must use standard heat sink RAM - G. Skill Ares is the new ITX standard! My Ares sticks have worked with all of the above boards with easy XMP adjustment to rated speeds, and zero DOAs! May need to install RAM before the SAM 17.
ITX is back in force with the Z77/Ivy Bridge / Ares / SAM 17 team!!!
Note - I only use ITX cases with a direct CPU vent (I like the Inwin BP671 a lot) and avoid cases with the PSU mounted over the CPU. With the BP671 I make a quick fan shroud from plastic strips to direct air from the vent into the CPU fan (attaching to CPU fan), and cover the remaining opening of the vent with black tape from the inside, so all air is flowing over the CPU fan. It's just fluid dynamics, baby!