Lian Li PC-Q12 Chassis Review



Product: Lian Li PC-Q12
Company: Lian Li
Author: Nicholas Conroy
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: October 9th, 2012

A Closer Look

Rather using a sliding side panel held in place by a thumbscrew, the Q12 uses a set of ball tipped rods that clip into the side of the chassis. The panel clips on with a solid, satisfying snap which is helped by the ridiculously thick aluminum plate used in the panelís construction.

The opposite side panel is a place where Lian Liís design expertise really shines through. To solve the issue of having a removable side panel while still maintaining the small size, Lian Li has come up with the clever solution of making the side panel also be the motherboard tray. So not only do we get an additional access panel but also a removable motherboard tray. With both side panels off we can also really see how simple and straight-forward the construction of the Q12 is. The whole chassis has a really cool handcrafted feel to it.

However we also quickly notice that since the chassis isnít really triangulated at the corners it can flex significantly, particularly with the side panels removed. But Lian Li seems to be aware of this and has made sure that no internal components are secured to more than one surface of the chassis. This is best illustrated by the PSU which is secured to the rear face of the chassis but hovers above the guide rail attached to the bottom. This way even if the chassis does flex none of the bending forces will be transmitted through the installed hardware.

Moving on to storage we find sturdy aluminum bracket with vibration damping rubber mounts and held in place by a single thumb screw. Again, not a complex design but very effective. That said, these are the only drive bays the Q12 has to offer so any movies you plan on watching will have to be on laptop drives or off Netflix. That said, no 5.25Ē bays is not a terrible trade-off considering how many people do not even include an optical drive in their system builds anymore.

Despite its very steep price, the Q12 only features two USB 3.0 ports. We do not see even a hint of audio ports, though really you should be using HDMI for that right? While it may have marred the aesthetics of the front face, an additional pair of USB ports would have been nice to have. The USB ports we do get use external connectors designed to hook into your motherboardís rear ports. To accommodate this Lian Li has added a small cut-out above the PSU to allow the cables to go out in as elegant a manner as possible. On the plus side, should you, for whatever reason, use a motherboard that lacks USB 3.0 support you can still plug these into vanilla USB 2.0 ports.

Besides the PSU fan, the only cooling we see is a single 80mm fan mounted up top. Lian Li sells a custom three speed fan controller that mounts just above the motherboard cutout. Given how expensive the Q12 is I donít see why this couldnít have included this standard.

Finally we come to the PSU itself. When a PSU is included with a chassis it is usually an extremely cheap, outdated unit that should be kept as far away from your hardware as possible. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to properly to test the PSU included with the PC-Q12, which is an FSP300-60GHS from FSP Group. Luckily this model has been tested by far better equipped sites, such as Hardwaresecrets.com, and for the most part appears to be a decent 80-PLUS compliant PSU. It appears to be a generic SFX sized model that is tailored for the specific chassis it is bundled with. In the case of the Q12 it has been modified to only have 4 SATA power plugs, a single Molex, single floppy connector, and a 4 pin CPU connector. While this would not be a very good connector selection normally, it is perfectly suited for this chassis. PCI-e power connectors are completely absent because it simply isnít possible to fit a graphics card into the Q12. However, one of the changes that give us a reason to be cautious was the use of 20AWG wire for most of the cables with some of the motherboard sense wires being as small as 24AWG. Ideally we would not want to see anything smaller than 18AWG on a power supply. The only justification for such small wire is the cramped interior of the chassis and the relatively short cable runs inside the Q12. If this model were absolutely identical to those extensively reviewed on other sites we could tell you to trust in those results. However, this difference in wire size should be a significant caution flag that not everything is the same.

Now that we have seen what it has to offer it is time to pass judgment on the Lian Li PC-Q12!