A Case for the Exotic:
Perhaps best known for their work with aluminum PC cases Lian Li has recently released the PC-888 which is the focus of this review. Lian Li has a wide range of media center cases, small, medium, and full tower cases in addition to a line of power supplies. With more than 20 years manufacturing cases for the PC market Lian Li has more than enough experience in what works and how to engineer it. We will be taking a look at their latest creation to see if their engineering and experience has been put to good use.
The market for aluminum cases is littered with good and bad examples, some that are more functional, and some much less. The best in this market has always been delivered to consumers from Lian Li. Classic examples of Lian Li's craftsmanship can be seen in earlier cases such as their PC-60 which made aluminum cases affordable to consumers for the first time. Lets have a little background on aluminum cases first though:
Aluminum as a primary material for use in PC cases first made its appearance a long time ago when heat first became an issue. Aluminum was an ideal choice over the industry standard which is steel for several reasons.
- Much Lighter Weight
- Great Heat Conductivity
- Easier to Form
- Easily Availability
As for consumers, the lighter weight and greater heat conductivity meant your desktop became much more portable without having to carry around a 50lb PC and you received the benefits of a cooler case. Not to mention that the Aluminum cases simply looked quite a bit nicer. Don't believe me? Walk into your nearest high end audio retailer and see if the amplifiers and tuners do not have aluminum face panels if not entirely constructed from aluminum. Brushed aluminum has become industry standard for media center PC's as well as nearly all high end cases. So the question remains "Why Lian Li since there are cheaper options in the market?"
The answer is simple: QUALITY.
All you have to do is take one look at any Lian Li product, install a system into it, and you will be a believer. Better yet if you have experience installing systems into other cases the effect is many times greater. We have tested several Lian Li products and what you find in other aluminum, lower, and even some high end products will not be found in a Lian Li case.
There are no misaligned holes, no almost but not quite fitting parts, no rough edges, overall no poorly designed layout. So lets take a look at the proof of concept prototype design of the PC-888 computer case. In our opinion the PC-888 would find itself better titled a work of art in the computing industry than a computer case. With a retail price tag that may shock at ~$1000 the PC-888 does not come cheap, but what it provides for the price cannot be found in any other case on the market.
A look at purpose driven art. . .