Lian Li, the chassis’ industries own masters of aluminium chassis design, are back once again. Lian Li have a rock solid reputation for exceptional build quality and design, just look at some of the other Lian Li chassis’ reviews we’ve done here at eTeknix for example; DK-01 Desk, PC-T80 Test Bench, PC-V359 Cube, PC-A79 Full Tower, PC-Q30 Mini-ITX, PC-CK101 Train, PC-TU100 Mini-ITX, PC-90, PC-B12 and PC-7HX! Time and time again Lian Li have won awards from us here at eTeknix, as well as from many other sources all around the world. So with that in mind, I’ve got pretty high expectations of the new Lian Li chassis, the PC-X510 WX and with a retail price close to £350, it looks set to be something pretty special.
Lian Li released the following product tour video, although it’s certainly not the best in terms of presentation, so don’t feel bad if you start to skip through some of it. However, it does give us a nice look at the overall size of this chassis, and it’s certainly quite tall for a “mid-tower”.
It’s very well equipped, with a decent amount of storage bays for 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives, with the obvious omission of 5.25″ drive bays, although that’s hardly uncommon these days.
The reason for the super tall design? The X510 uses multiple chambers to better control heat and airflow. There’s a smaller section at the base for the PSU, which is semi-connected to the main chamber for the motherboard while there is also a separate chamber at the top just for storage drives.
Built from vast amounts of black brushed aluminium and finished with tempered glass on the left side panel, the X510 certainly looks impressive. As well as clocking in at a massive 620mm high, a consequence of that chambered design, but on the plus side, it’s not very long, so shouldn’t take up too much floor space.
The glass panel is held in place by thumb screws, should you need to remove it for any reason, although the only one I can think of is so that you can give it a good clean.
There’s a few cut-outs on the aluminium panel, behind which you’ll find a dust filter, giving ample airflow to the front fans without spoiling the clean looks of the front panel.
The right side panel is another massive slab of black brushed aluminium and it’s far prettier than my pictures could ever capture. There’s also more ventilation here, giving even more airflow to the front mounted cooling; you can also see the fans through the mesh if you look carefully.
The front panel looks stunning, with a curved top edge that gives it a more flowing and sleeker design, with only a small Lian Li logo towards the bottom for branding.
A closer look at the top right corner, you’ll also find two small LED lights set into the aluminium; these are for power and HDD activity.
Around the back, we get a good indication of just how tall this chassis really is, looking about 50% taller than your average mid-tower design.
At the top, there’s a single 120mm fan exhaust for the storage bay compartment, as well as the master control dial for the built-in fan speed controller.
Further down, we have yet another 120mm fan exhaust, which features a cut-out and grommet system below it that’ll be great for some water cooling configurations.
Eight expansion slots, each fitted with a reusable and ventilated cover.
Finally, we have the PSU mounting plate, which comes fitted with thumbscrews, allowing for quick and easy installation and removal of the power supply.
The top panel is nice and sleek too, and comes with dual 120mm fan mounts, although they’re fitted with aluminium covers which will help reduce noise from the system if you’re not using the mounts.
Towards the front, a slide back cover that hides the main I/O, as well as a gorgeous mechanical button for the master power control.
Slide it back and you’ll find four USB 3.0 ports, although an adaptor is included to convert them to USB 2.0 if your motherboard can’t support all four as USB 3.0.
On the base, you’ll find four large feet that give great ground clearance to the PSU air intake, which comes fitted with a washable dust filter that can be slid out to the side of the chassis for easy maintenance.
Even the feet are aluminium, with a lovely finish to them and firm rubber grips on the base to prevent is sliding around on harder floor surfaces.
The side panels of the X510 pop right off, without the need for tools. This is great for those who need to regularly access the interior of the chassis for maintenance, swapping drives and more. As you can see, the interior is pretty spacious, and there’s a very large cut-out behind the motherboard to assist with mounting a CPU cooler, as well as a series of grommets around the edges to help with cable management.
The PSU is mounted in the base of the chassis and there’s a lot of space, suited to both larger PSUs as well as providing extra space for excess cables, something that will greatly benefit those using a non-modular unit.
There’s a sort of shroud over the PSU, which helps keep the build looking neat and tidy, but it also provides room for a couple more cable routing grommets, perfectly located for the USB headers of your motherboard. There’s also a range of slot-in mounting holes, which can be used to mount two 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives; this can be done using the included screws and rubber grommets that allow you to slot the drives onto the mountings.
Cooling is a serious thing for this chassis, with a towering wall of 3 x 120mm fans, which come mounted on a single removable bracket that is held in place by two thumb screws, allowing for quick and easy maintenance of each.
You can easily lift the whole thing out, allowing you to do what you need to do with the fans.
All three fans are high-end Jamicon sleeve bearing 12V models.
The fan blades are removable too, making cleaning them a much easier task.
There’s yet another Jamico 120mm fan in the back, and a further one in the top HDD compartment of the chassis; that’s five in total.
The expansion slots are plentiful, giving you more than enough bays for multiple expansion cards, crossfire and SLI configurations as you require them. Each bay is equipped with a removable cover, as well as easily accessible thumb screws.
The top compartments 120mm fan, and you’ll notice now that all five of the pre-installed fans comes with a removable fan guard, which is perfect for preventing any loose cables from getting jammed into the blades.
There a two-tier hard drive tray in the top compartment, with key-hole slots for quick mounting and release of your drives. There’s support for both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives and the whole unit can be removed using the thumb screws for easy access and maintenance.
There’s ventilation at the front, allowing airflow from the filtered intakes on the edges of the front panel of the chassis, and remember that this section has its own exhaust fan, so cooling for your drives should be very good.
Behind the motherboard, a staggering amount of space for cable management, giving you easy access to any of the routing grommets, the hard drive bay and more.
Tucked away at the top rear of the chassis, a small PCB with four fan headers. This PCB is powered by a Molex adapter and allows you to use the fan speed control dial on the back of the chassis.
There are a few cables from the front I/O, including those two thick USB 3.0 cables, but there’s a nice cable clip helping keep things neat and tidy.
Finally, here are the two side panels, which you can clearly see are quite unique in shape. Each is cut to allow airflow to the side ventilation and there’s a small lip at the back, which allows a good grip point for removing the panels from the chassis.
Working with the X510 was a much easier task than I had anticipated, the super tall height does make it seems a little overwhelming, but at the end of the day, this really is just a mid tower, it just has an extra compartment on the top. The motherboard fit with easy, especially since the stand-offs were pre-installed and there’s a huge CPU cooler mounting cut-out to work with.
Hard drive installation is easy enough, of course, you can use all those bays up top if you need them, but there’s some great little bays here that are perfect for showing off a drive or two through the side panel window.
Cable routing to the graphics cards wasn’t ideal, but there’s still more than enough options on where to route the cables here. What is incredible, is just how closer the graphics cards are to the fans.
By close, I mean they’re literally touching the fan guards. At least we know that you can fit a Sapphire R9 270X Tri-X Toxic, and don’t be fooled, these are seriously big graphics cards.
There’s easily room for a multi-GPU configuration here as you can see, and having that wall of 3 x 120mm cards blowing right into the back of them is going to do wonders for your system temperatures, especially with all your hard drives tucked in the top section, where their heat won’t be adding to the ambient air temperature around your CPU and GPU.
There’s a huge amount of space for a large air cooler and more than enough room for a thick 120mm AIO in the back.
Overall, cable routing is neat and tidy. A few more routing grommets would be nice, but aren’t essential.
The side panel window is fantastic, it shows off all the parts you would love to show off the most. The GPUs are prominently displayed, as is the CPU cooler and motherboard, and the bottom drive mounts. All the, shall we say more garish hardware such as additional hard drives and the PSU are tucked out of the way.
Being a Lian Li chassis, constructed from vast amounts of high-grade black brushed aluminium, with a tempered glass side panel, this X510 was never going to be cheap. The RRP is $399 in the US and I’ve seen prices in the UK hovering around £299. Not cheap, but when you want something with this standard of build quality, expect to pay a premium price for it.
The Lian Li PC-X510 certainly isn’t for everyone, for starters, there’s only a small part of the system building market who even have a budget that can afford something of this calibre, but when you look at the Lian-Li range, it’s clear that their main focus is the professional market. Sure, this chassis would make a great start to any system for a typical consumer, but this chassis is clearly better suited to those investing in a power workstation build.
Fitting this chassis with a bank of RAID hard drives in the top compartment, as well as that powerful built-in air cooling configuration, while also benefiting from the powerful fan controller on the back, you’re on your way to building a great rendering system. The cooling potential here is perfect for a system that needs to run 24/7 at high loads, helping you maintain stable system performance and temperatures. There’s room for a high-end PSU, large air coolers on the CPU and there’s clearly no shortage of water cooling potential either. If cooling for the hard drives does prove too demanding, you can open up the top of the chassis and add an additional 2 x 120mm fans to help shift heat from the system.
Maintenance of the PC-X510 is super easy. The side panels are locked tightly in place, but can be pulled off without the use of tools, allowing you to get into the interior to maintain your components, the front fans can be removed using a pair of thumb screws, and even the fan blades pop out, allowing you to give them a really good clean. Not that the fans should get dirty quickly, as there are two full height magnetic dust filters on the front/side intakes, and there’s a slide out dust filter for the PSU, so airflow should remain nice and clean overall.
Everything else just sweetens the deal for this chassis, with four high-speed USB 3.0 ports on the front panel, as well as a slide-over cover to help keep them clean also; there are adaptors included to convert to USB 2.0 should you need them. The tempered glass side panel window looks stunning while also offering more durability and sound dampening properties vs a perspex panel. All of the fans are of a very high standard, come with fan grill protectors fitted and benefit from the fan controller. There’s a PSU shroud, excellent cable routing and so much more. In short, you wouldn’t expect anything less than premium quality throughout from Lian Li and the PC-X510 doesn’t disappoint one bit.
- Class-leading build quality
- Lightweight and durable aluminium design
- Incredible black-brushed aluminium and tempered glass finish
- Multi-chamber cooling design
- Five high-quality fans pre-installed
- Built-in fan controller
- Excellent cable routing
- Quite tall for a mid-tower
- The high price may put many off, but is a consequence of high-grade building materials and precision engineering
“Picking the right chassis for a high-end rendering workstation can be tricky, but the PC-X510 ticks all the right boxes for excellent cooling, storage capabilities, high-end hardware compatibility and at the same time, it doesn’t make any compromises on style or practicality.”
Thank you Lian Li for providing us with this sample.