Lian Li PC-A51 Review
The PC-A51 comes with a fold out sheet of Multi language instructions which on the whole are good, and made better by the use of clear pictures as opposed to schematic diagrams. The small accessory box contains a mix of requisite screws along with 3 cable toes (why? there are no cable tie points), a buzzer and a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 Adapter.
Lian Li give the maximum PSU length for the PC-A51 as 160mm. So we thought we'd try our 170mm long Cooler Master V1000, just to see how tight things really are. Although the PSU can be fitted without removing the mounting bracket it's actually easier to do it the proper way. It's also a damn sight easier to put the motherboard in first with this case as the cables come very close to the board edge.
How tight is it? As tight as a Nun's nacho that's how tight it is. Appreciating that our PSU is 10mm too long, it does still fit. That said we think even a 160mm long PSU will leave you struggling to attach all your data cables as they are for the greater part obscured not by the PSU itself, but by the cable mass as it exits. We've actually had to mount the PSU inverted as it just wasn't possible to bring the 24 pin cable round the side of the motherboard. So tight was it we doubt knocking 10mm off would have much impact.
Round the back we've got our work cut out for us. Even with this basic build there are quite a few cables to be managed. Thankfully the 27mm of space and the large trough make perfect places to route and stash cables. which is just as well. as the two large cable clips don't provide nearly enough flexibility.
The PSU management hole is as packed as Sasha Grey on a busy day, and not in a good way. There really is way too much crammed into this little aperture. The management clips don't fare much better either, being able to retain the 24 pin cable and the front I/O, everything else has to be strategically cable tied to it. Guess we now know why we have cable ties included in the accessories pack.
Conversely, as not many cables are being routed to the top of the case the upper clip remains relatively unencumbered. Having commented on the cantilever suspension method for the HDDs we thought we'd show you how the cables attach at the rear. Pretty swish we think, and with 90 degree fittings you could make it all look really neat (even if it won't be seen).
Finally everything is in and wired up. The front I/O, USB and Audio cables, connecting as they do at the bottom of the motherboard were particularly challenging as was getting everything through the PSU hole. With airflow in mind we chose to leave out all but one of the HDD mounts and can't help but be mesmerised by how it appears to just float there.