Lian Li's New PC-T70 Test Bench

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 16, 2017 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: Test Bench, T70-1, PC-T70, open air case, Lian Li, acrylic

Lian Li has designed an open air case with an optional acrylic enclosure to help simulate normal case environs or to protect your components if you build a system you want to showcase.  The PC-T70 is primarily designed as a test bench so you can set up a E-ATX, ATX, or Micro-ATX/iTX motherboard and easily swap out components while benchmarking hardware or software.  The problem with test benches is one of temperature; most of us set up our systems in enclosed cases and the temperatures experienced will be different than in a case fully exposed to any wafting breeze.  Lian Li has overcome this with their optional T70-1, a set of acrylic side pieces and top with mounts for fans or radiators which allow you to simulate a closed case environment when you are reporting on running temperatures.

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There is another use for this case which might tempt a different set of users.   The case fully exposes your components which makes this a great base to build an impressive mod on, or simply to show off all of those RGB LEDs you paid good money for.  The acrylic case ensures that your system cannot be permanently killed by a passing feline as well as providing mounting points for an impressive watercooling setup.  You can check out the full PR below the specs and video.

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New PC-T70 Test Bench Simulates Any Case Environment Lian Li’s New Modular Bench Transforms for Both Closed-Air and Open-Air Testing

May 16, 2017, Keelung, Taiwan - Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd is eager to announce the PC-T70 test bench. After productive collaboration, taking feedback from high-end PC hardware reviewers, Lian Li sought to create a test bench that could both provide unhindered access for enthusiasts who want to rapidly swap hardware, and those who like to use their test benches as a workstation. Lian Li’s latest test bench is its most flexible yet – a sleek, minimal platform for easy hardware swapping, with an optional kit that encloses the bench with radiator mounts and an acrylic cover.

Unobstructed Design for Hardware Swapping
After taking feedback from PC hardware reviewers, Lian Li realized that simplicity was key. The PC-T70 has completely free access, with zero barriers hindering the installation of motherboards and other hardware. Users can even remove the back frame for expansion slots and IO cover if they so choose. Six open pass-throughs are positioned around the motherboard tray to route cables down to the PSU and drive mounts on the floor panel.

Simulate Closed-Air Case Environments for Advanced Testing
With the T70-1 upgrade kit, users can add side panels to the open bench, each mounting two 120mm or 140mm fans or a 240mm or 280mm radiator with removable mesh dust filters. It also includes a back panel, mounting an additional 120mm or 140mm exhaust fan and an acrylic canopy secured by magnetic strips to fully enclose the motherboard compartment, simulating a closed-air environment more representative of regular users – a valuable advantage for hardware reviewers. Every panel is modular and easily taken down, so users can rapidly cycle between closed and open-air setups.

A Bench Built for All Form Factors
The PC-T70 mounts E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, and mini ITX motherboards, with eight expansion slots to mount VGA cards as long as 330mm. While enclosed, its CPU cooler clearance is limited to 180mm. The floor panel mounts ATX PSUs as long as 330mm and as many as five 2.5” and one 3.5” drives or one 2.5” and two 3.5” storage drives. Users can also use the floor panel to mount a 360mm radiator, reservoirs, and pumps for custom water cooling loops.

Price and Availability
The PC-T70, including the T70-1 option kit is now available at Newegg for $189.99.
Also available in white.

Source: Lian Li
Author:
Manufacturer: Open Benchtable

Overview

Open-air chassis have always been an odd segment of the PC hardware market. While the ability to quickly swap out components is a major benefit to hardware reviewers like us, overclockers, and other people who are working to quickly validate lots of components, they are the antithesis of what most users are looking for from their computers. 

While we've seen some attempts at bringing the open test bed concepts to a more general audience including the Antec Skeleton and the Thermaltake Core P5 and P3, test bench products are often very low volume and are targeting a specific niche market. Due to the low volume nature, test benches are usually pretty low build quality, expensive, and don't seem to be fully formed concepts.

Today, we are taking a look at a product which aims to change all of this, the Open Benchtable.

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From first glance, you might be hard-pressed to tell that the BC1 is meant to be used with computer hardware. One of the unique design aspects of the BC1 is the ability for it to pack completely flat, in a way that may be familiar to you if you've ever had an experience assembling furniture from Ikea. 

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Everything has a place and there's a place for everything on the BC1. Included hardware such as thumbscrews, brackets, standoffs, and even the feet for the actual testbench slot into the single piece of aluminum and store securely into an 8mm thick package. This, along with the completely toolless design mean that the BC1 can quickly be assembled, used, and torn down.

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Once you start to assemble the BC1, one of the most striking features is the build quality. Where we normally see test benches made from lower quality materials like acrylic or bent sheet metal, the BC1 is made of a single slab of anodized heavy-duty AL5052 aluminum. It's difficult for me to imagine a user managing to break this test bench in any way, aside from potentially chipping anodization, without actively trying to do so.

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The first step to assembling the BC1 is to remove the feet from the middle section of the test bench. Simply remove 4 thumbscrews, and you can remove the feet from the main assembly.

Continue reading our review of the OBT Open Benchtable!

Manufacturer: Primochill

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Primochill

The Praxis WetBench open-air test bench is the newest version Primochill's test bench line of cases. The updated version of the WetBench features a dual steel and acrylic-based design, offering a stronger base than the original. The acrylic accents give the test bench a unique and compelling aesthetic, offered in over 20 different configurations. The open design and quick remove panels allow for easy access to the motherboard and PCIe cards without the hassle of removing case panels and mounting screws associated with a typical case motherboard change out. With a starting MSRP of $184.99, the Praxis WetBench is competitively priced when compared with other test bench solutions.

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Courtesy of Primochill

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Courtesy of Primochill

Like its predecessor, the Praxis WetBench is unique in its design - built to support custom water cooling solutions from the ground up and re-engineered with a stronger structure for added support. Primochill designed the Praxis for mounting of the water cooling kit's radiator to the back panel with support of up to a 280mm or 360mm radiator (or 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm fans). The back panel is designed to allow for radiator mounting to the inside or outside of the panel surface.

Continue reading our review of the Primochill Praxis WetBench kit!

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

New Components, New Approach

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After 20 or so enclosure reviews over the past year and a half and some pretty inconsistent test hardware along the way, I decided to adopt a standardized test bench for all reviews going forward. Makes sense, right? Turns out choosing the best components for a cases and cooling test system was a lot more difficult than I expected going in, as special consideration had to be made for everything from form-factor to noise and heat levels.

Along with the new components I will also be changing the approach to future reviews by expanding the scope of CPU cooler testing. After some debate as to the type of CPU cooler to employ I decided that a better test of an enclosure would be to use both closed-loop liquid and air cooling for every review, and provide thermal and noise results for each. For CPU cooler reviews themselves I'll be adding a "real-world" load result to the charts to offer a more realistic scenario, running a standard desktop application (in this case a video encoder) in addition to the torture-test result using Prime95.

But what about this new build? It isn't completely done but here's a quick look at the components I ended up with so far along with the rationale for each selection.

CPU – Intel Core i5-6600K ($249, Amazon.com)

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The introduction of Intel’s 6th generation Skylake processors provided the excuse opportunity for an upgrade after using an AMD FX-6300 system for the last couple of enclosure reviews, and after toying with the idea of the new i7-6700K, and immediately realizing this was likely overkill and (more importantly) completely unavailable for purchase at the time, I went with the more "reasonable" option with the i5. There has long been a debate as to the need for hyper-threading for gaming (though this may be changing with the introduction of DX12) but in any case this is still a very powerful processor and when stressed should produce a challenging enough thermal load to adequately test both CPU coolers and enclosures going forward.

GPU – XFX Double Dissipation Radeon R9 290X ($347, Amazon.com)

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This was by far the most difficult selection. I don’t think of my own use when choosing a card for a test system like this, as it must meet a set of criteria to be a good fit for enclosure benchmarks. If I choose a card that runs very cool and with minimal noise, GPU benchmarks will be far less significant as the card won’t adequately challenge the design and thermal characteristics of the enclosure. There are certainly options that run at greater temperatures and higher noise (a reference R9 290X for example), but I didn’t want a blower-style cooler with the GPU. Why? More and more GPUs are released with some sort of large multi-fan design rather than a blower, and for enclosure testing I want to know how the case handles the extra warm air.

Noise was an important consideration, as levels from an enclosure of course vary based on the installed components. With noise measurements a GPU cooler that has very low output at idle (or zero, as some recent cooler designs permit) will allow system idle levels to fall more on case fans and airflow than a GPU that might drown them out. (This would also allow a better benchmark of CPU cooler noise - particularly with self-contained liquid coolers and audible pump noise.) And while I wanted very quiet performance at idle, at load there must be sufficient noise to measure the performance of the enclosure in this regard, though of course nothing will truly tax a design quite like a loud blower. I hope I've found a good balance here.

Continue reading our look at the cases and cooling test system build!

Lian Li Releases PC-V33 Small Footprint ATX Cube Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 3, 2015 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: Test Bench, PC-V33, Lian Li, enclosure, atx case, aluminum case

Lian Li has announced a new enclosure along the lines of the PC-Q33 (a mini-ITX enclosure we reviewed here), but this new PC-V33 houses a full ATX motherboard inside its cube-like, hinged exterior.

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If you’ve looked into open test benches at all you’ll really appreciate the design of the PC-V33, which essentially takes that idea and adds a cover that conveniently folds down on a hinge, exposing all components. This is a very unconventional design, and one I really appreciated when reviewing the mini-ITX version. So what’s new besides the larger size and support for ATX motherboards?

Here’s a quick rundown of the enclosure’s features:

  • Unique flip-open canopy, opens to test bench style ease of access
  • Full ATX size build in compact mid-tower case
  • Full sized PSU and GPU card supported
  • Up to 240mm internal radiator support
  • Redesigned rear vents with increased air flow
  • New shock-absorbing drive cage
  • Easy-open side doors with no screws and toolless design throughout
  • Black or silver full aluminum or add a tempered glass side wall

In addition to supporting full-sized components and 240mm radiators, there is also support for tower air coolers up to 190mm high, and the case also features a rubber-damped hard drive cage (and drives have their own 120mm exhaust fan). How much space will the PC-V33 take up on your desk? Dimensions are (WxHxD) 13.15" x 13.86" x 15.35", which are on par with an open test bench case.

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The MSRP of the standard version is $199 and the version with a glass side panel is $229. The PC-V33 will available in early September.

Source: Lian Li
Manufacturer: Primochill

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Primochill

The Wet Bench open-air test bench is Primochill's premier case offering. This acrylic-based enclosure features an innovative design allowing for easy access to the motherboard and PCIe cards without the hassle of removing case panels and mounting screws associated with a typical case motherboard change out. With a starting MSRP of $139.95, the Wet Bench is priced competitively in light of the configurability and features offered with the case.

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Courtesy of Primochill

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Courtesy of Primochill

The Wet Bench is unique in its design - Primochill built it to support custom water cooling solutions from the ground up. The base kit supports mounting the water cooling kit's radiator to the back plate, up to a 360mm size (supporting 3x120mm fans). Primochill also offers an optional backplate with support for up to a 480mm radiator (supporting up to 4x120mm fans).

Continue reading our review of the Primochill Wet Bench kit!

Author:
Manufacturer: Puget Systems

Clearly a contender

Open air cases are a pretty niche market. The number of DIY users that are interested or willing to have their components fully exposed need to have some specific goals in mind. You could be a full time overclocker, looking for easy access to the CPU socket for LN2 or to hit that BIOS reset button. You could also be an enthusiast that is always swapping out components so the ability to bypass getting under a desk and removing a door makes things faster. Or you could just be a show off and want to be certain your friends and family see the gear you have purchased to power your PC gaming.

Just don't be someone with curious cats. 

Puget Systems is a high end system builder based in the north west United States and though they don't plan on making a living selling these open air cases, called the Puget Systems EATX V1 Test Bench, they decided if they were making it, they might as well sell it too. Used primarily for the company's own internal testing and evaluation, the open air test bench is an acrylic structure that holds the power supply and storage on a bottom level along with the motherboard and other components up top, totally open to the elements.

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It is expensive though, at $170.

The stand out features include support for a 120mm or even 240mm water cooler mount, triple GPU support and of course, as the name implies, the capability to hold EATX motherboards. Check out the full video review above and if you just want to see some more photos, click the link below!

Continue to see some more photos of the Puget Systems Test Bench EATX Version 1!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

The HAF XB mid tower case is the newest member of the Cooler Master HAF line of cases. Touted as a LAN box, this cube-shaped case has both looks and features that appeal to any enthusiasts. We decided to put the HAF XB on our test bench to validate these claims. At a base price of $99.99, the HAF XB is a bargain for the features you are getting.

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooler Master designed the HAF XB with a scratch-resistance, flat-black colored coating applied to all surfaces. Both side panels have integrated hand-holds for easy lifting and transport to your event and the front and top panels contain non-impeding mesh grills allowing for optimal airflow across your vital system components. Integrated into the case's front panel are power and reset buttons, power indicator LEDs, audio input and output port, USB 3.0 device ports, two 5.25" device bays, and two hot-swappable hard drive bays.

Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master HAF XB case!