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Lian Li PC-X2000FN Chassis Review (w/ dual Xeon)

Lian Li’s X2000 chassis has been one of my favourite technology products of all time. It takes the top spot in my ‘all time chassis’ designs. Obviously some people will disagree with my personal taste, but I have many reasons for justifying this opinion.

I have owned all of the X2000 iterations, and still have all versions of this case in our lab. The X2000F which I reviewed in March last year has been used almost every week and has completed roughly 30 system rebuilds over the last 18 months. Not a single part of the case has snapped, came loose, or ‘dropped off’ with heavy use. This is rare, believe me.

The build quality is without reproach, all of the edges are smoothed and the sleek smooth aluminum is the highest grade. Lian Li have received some criticism in recent years, with a select audience claiming they are retreading old ground and their designs are nothing out of ordinary.

I couldn’t argue more on this point.

Firstly, the X2000FN has been excruciatingly engineered both inside and out. Every part of the design appears to have underwent careful analysis by people who actually build systems. They don’t just add silly lighting gimmicks or unnecessary, gaudy plastic panels to attract the eye of an experienced user. Their focus is on high quality materials and useful features.

Their tool-less expansion bay locking system is inspired. Since Lian Li pioneered it many companies have copied it, often with disastrous results.

The Lian Li version is still the best, as they have constructed the locking mechanism from heavy duty materials. When you secure a heavy graphics card with the metal levers, you feel confident that it will be held in place without breaking next time you replace the graphics card. The last Thermaltake case I reviewed had a similar locking system, but incorporated low grade plastic. Three of the locking levers snapped within the third system build.

Lian Li have always adopted high grade, low noise fans in their cases. The X2000FN ships with three 140mm fans in the front of the case as intake and another 140mm and 120mm fan in the rear, configured as exhaust. The 120mm exhaust fan has been sized intentionally so it can be easily substituted with a fan/radiator from the array of ‘all in one’ liquid coolers available today from Corsair, Antec and Coolit. Additionally all of these fans can be speed adjusted via the control PCB and dedicated rear panel.

Lian Li have designed the X2000FN to utilise three separate ‘zones’. The clever, removable dust filtering system sucks in air from the front/side of the case, without ruining the monolithic appearance of the case with various fan mounts and mesh panels.

The X2000FN also offers a variety of choices to the user. You can remove almost all of the internal bays and panels, to expose as much physical space as possible. As we highlighted today, you can easily build a system using a very large motherboard with multiple processors and radiators. The new graphics card holder will also be a useful addition for some of the audience.

We installed the EEB form factor ASUS Z9PED8 motherboard which measures 30.5cm by 33 cm. We also installed two Corsair liquid coolers and a GTX690 to round out the system build. There was still plenty of space to work inside the case and when it came to complete the build the X2000FN didn’t throw up any fitting issues or engineering concerns.

The ‘FN’ is the latest, and best revision of the X2000 series. The new side panels are locked into place with metal holder ‘pins’ which require no tools for removal. Just to be thorough however, the company have added a single thumbscrew to the reverse side of the case, just for extra strength when moving the case.

As far as I am concerned, this is the perfect case. The only problem is the asking price, which will be around £400. Overclockers are stocking the previous version for £399.98 inc vat.

If you are building a high end enthusiast gaming or Xeon Workstation system, then this definitely needs serious consideration.

Pros:

  • Beautiful build quality.
  • over engineered.
  • high grade aluminum used throughout.
  • quiet.
  • high level of airflow.
  • variable fan speeds.
  • five high grade fans supplied.
  • expansion bay locking mechanism is the market leader.
  • the ‘narrow’ chassis design takes up less floor space, its very tall.
  • almost all of the internal zones have removable sections.
  • The last X2000 has been in our labs for 18 months, 30 system builds. It still looks new and nothing has broken.

Cons:

  • You need to dig deep into your wallet for this one.

Kitguru says: The X2000FN is my favourite case of all time.

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Rating: 10.0.

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