Lian Li PC-V359 Micro-ATX Case Review

The Lian Li PC-V359 is a micro-ATX cube style case, utilizing a dual compartment design which separates the motherboard and graphics card from the power supply and hard drives.  It is available in four models, Black (V359WX), Black and Red (V359WRX), Champagne/Gold (V359WG) and Silver (V359WA).  While they should be available now, they are in limited supply so it can be difficult to track one down, if you are lucky to find one, expect to pay around $179.99 plus shipping and includes a 1 year warranty. Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Full-View With the PC-V359 you are getting a cube style chassis that supports Micro-ATX motherboards, video cards up to 320mm (12.6in) in length, three 3.5" hard drives, one 2.5" hard drive, and a slim optical device.  For cooling, you get two 120mm fans, one exhaust and one intake.  It can support two additional 120mm fans on either side panel, or you can install liquid cooling, a 120mm radiator is supported in the back or up to a 240mm radiator on either of the two sides. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-MB-Tray One of  the issues involved in building a system inside a Micro-ATX case is the amount of space to work in.  Lian Li has taken care of this, by allowing the top, side and front panels to be removed allowing for access to the interior from three sides (and the top) unobstructed.  Technically, the back panel could be removed as well, there are just a few additional steps necessary to remove it.  With the panels removed, we can also see that Lian Li has used the cube design to separate the components for better cooling. [youtube][/youtube] The overall dimensions of the PC-V359 is 13.4in x 12.6in x 13.4in (WxHxD), and is made out of aluminum.  While steel is generally a stronger metal, the way this case is built, it should last many years without any issues.  The added benefit of being made out of aluminum rather than steel is the difference in weight.  The PC-V359 comes in just over 9lbs!    I've had similar cases made out of steel that come in around 13lbs, and while 4lbs doesn't seem like much if you take a system to lan parties regularly, any weight you can cut out is usually welcomed. Features and Specifications:
 Lian Li PC-V359 Micro-ATX Specifications
Model PC-V359
 Case Type Mid Tower Chassis
Dimensions 340mm x 320mm x 340mm (W x H x D)
Color BlackSilverRed-BlackChampagne Gold
Top Cover 5mm Acrylic
Front Bezel Material Aluminum (Transparent)
Side Panel Aluminum
Body Material Aluminum
Net Weight 4.1kg
5.25" Drive Bay (External) Slim ODD x 1
3.5" Drive Bay (External) None
HDD Bay 3.5" HDD x32.5" HDD x1
Expansion Slot 4
Motherboard Micro-ATX
System Fan (Front) 120mm Fan x1
System Fan (Rear) 120mm Fan x1
System Fan (Side) Left: 120mm Fan x2 (Optional)Right: 120mm Fan x2 (Optional)
I/O Ports USB 3.0 x2HD Audio
Maximum Compatibility VGA Card Length:  320mmPSU Length: 320mmCPU Cooler Height: 160mm240mm Radiator
PSU ATX PSU (Optional)
Warranty  1 Year
Before taking a close look at Lian Li's PC-V359 Micro-ATX case, let's check out the packaging and accessories.

Lian Li PC-V359 Packaging

Lian-Li-PC-V359-Packaging-Box-Front Keeping things simple, Lian Li has gone with a flashy box for the PC-V359.  Which isn't a big deal since they are mostly sold online.  The front and back of the box are identical, providing the model number, and a small view of t he case. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Packaging-Box-Side Like the front and back, the two sides are identical as well, here more information is provides such as the specific model inside the box, which Lian Li only listed the Silver and Black models.  In addition, a few of the specifications are listed just so anybody that happens to find it locally will know what the case is capable of. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Packaging-Internal Inside the box, Lian Li has packaged the PC-V359WA using four corner situated Styrofoam blocks.  The case is stored inside a plastic bag to keep any potential moisture away from the case. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Packaging-Accessories Like most companies, Lian Li includes a number of accessories to complete a full system build into their case.   To complete the build, they have included a little speaker, four rubber washers for 2.5" drives, along with the appropriate four screws, a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 header adapter, 2-pin to Molex fan power adapter, and a large number of additional screws.  These screws consist of 13 hard drive screws, 9 motherboard stand-off screws, 5 power supply screws and 5 slim optical drive screws. The accessory pack also includes a multi-language, well detailed installation manual. Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Full-View-Protected While most case manufacturers include plastic cling to protect side panel windows, Lian Li has kept the heavy duty paper protection on both sides of the top panel.  The front window uses the paper protection on the inside and the common plastic cling on the outside.

PC-V359 External Impressions

Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Full-View With the protective materials removed we can take a good look at what makes the PC-V359 special.   The entire top panel is lightly tinted and is held in place with four large thumbscrews.  The corners stand out from the case, these provide support for the panels and the top.  Overall, there isn't anything flashy on the PC-V359, anything flashy will come from the components you decide to install inside the case.  Being a cube case that is designed to support Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX boards it's not very large, most of the size comes from the stacked compartmentalized layout; it measures 13.4in x 12.6in x 13.4in (WxHxD). Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Front Taking a quick look at the front panel we find that the majority of it is plain, with a high quality brushed aluminum finish.  At the top is a large window, that measures 9in x 3.25in (LxH), this should provide a nice view of the CPU cooler and video card.  Along the right edge of the front panel is the standard power button and front I/O cluster.  The front I/O cluster includes microphone, headphone, and two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports.  At the bottom right corner is an area for a slim-line optical drive. Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Side The two sides of the case are identical, at the top are several vents that can be used for additional cooling.  In the lower right corner is another vent that is used to provide airflow to an internal intake fan to cool the hard drives. Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Back Turning our attention to the back of the case we can begin to see the split level design of the PC-V359.  On the top level, we have two water cooling holes that are protected with rubber grommets, and a 120mm exhaust fan.  A sliding bracket keeps the expansion slot covers in place, and a standard motherboard I/O port is below the exhaust fan.  On the bottom level we find the power supply and a large vented area. Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Bottom On the bottom of the case there are four feet to raise the case off the surface.  There is also a small removable filter for the power supply, this filter measures 5.5in x 5.5in. Lian-Li-PC-V359-External-Bottom-Filter The filter is removable, however there is no way to slide it out without lifting the case to get access to the filter.  

PC-V359 Internal Impressions

Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-MB-Tray With the front and side panels removed we can see the interior of the case and the beginning of the compartmentalized design of the cube case.  The top layer supports the motherboard components and exhaust fan, while the bottom includes the power supply, hard drives, slim-line optical drive and front intake fan.  The motherboard tray has the standoffs pre-installed for us, to make installation easy.  There are two holes in the tray, one provides access to the back of the CPU for installing coolers, and the other is for the auxiliary power cable.  The motherboard tray can be removed by five little screws, three on the back panel, and two on the front corners. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-Corner-Posts The top panel is held in place with large thumbscrews that screw into each of the four corner posts.  Each of the posts also includes grooves for the side panels to slide into. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-Back-Panel Nothing really surprising on the back panel, it is exactly what we expected to find after looking at the back panel from the outside.  With that being said, the one surprise is that Lian Li took the extra time to install a fan blade guard on the exhaust fan.  This used to be fairly standard practice, however most manufacturers don't do it anymore.  The exhaust fan is a Jamicon KF1225S1LSBR and has a noise level of 27.4dBA, with an air flow of 54.05CFM at 1500RPM. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-Side-Panel Those large side vents we saw from the outside has two filters installed.  They are installed with push-pin type clips, that will need to removed should you decide to install fans or a liquid cooling radiator on the side panels. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-Left-View On the right side of the bottom layer is a front intake fan, that pulls air from the side panel and blows it towards the back of the case towards the hard drive cage.  At the back of the bottom layer is the hard drive cage that can be removed to install your hard drives.  This cage will support three 3.5" drives and one 2.5" drive.  The 3.5" drives are protected with anti-vibration washers, and the 2.5" drive will be installed with similar rubber washers.  The front intake fan is the same as the rear exhaust, a Jamicon KF1225S1LSBR.  Lian Li has also included an intake filter on the fan, however in order to clean it, you will need to remove the entire fan cover by four tiny screws (two on each side), this is easiest with the fan assembly removed by the two thumbscrews. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-Right-View Taking a look at the right side of the chassis, we see the slim optical device bay at the front of the chassis, and the power supply location at the back of the chassis.  As we saw from the external view, there is an air intake for the power supply in the bottom of the chassis.  Lian Li has also installed two stands for the power supply, which includes anti-vibration strips to reduce any noise caused by the power supply fan. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Internal-HD-Cage The hard drive cage is held in place with two thumbscrews, and then it slides out of the chassis. The cage will  hold three 3.5" drives and one 2.5" drive on the top.

PC-V359 Hardware Installation

Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-Top Overall, the installation goes pretty easy with no major surprises.  With everything installed properly, we can replace the three panels and the top.  The view through the top acrylic panel is very nice and provides a full view of the motherboard and video card.  With the power supply and hard drives on the bottom layer, they are fully hidden from view. For my process, I installed the power supply first, here I encountered the first small surprise.  While there is a small hole on the motherboard tray for the auxiliary power cable, it will need to be fed through the hole before the power supply is installed as there is not enough space between the power supply and the motherboard tray to fit the power connector. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-SSD Attach the anti-vibration rubber washers to the bottom of the drive with the large part of the washer against the drive.  This will allow the drive to slide into place on top of the hard drive cage. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-HD-Cage Installing 3.5" hard drives into the cage is a little difficult as there are no rails to support the hard drive while it is secured to the cage.  Granted, this is not a case breaking issue, just a little gotcha to be aware of.  The drives easily go into place and the anti-vibration grommets will reduce noise from the drives spinning.  The 2.5" drive on the top of the cage easily slides into place and feels secure with just the rubber feet. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-MB-Tray With everything installed, the cables are easily hidden below the tray.  The test system installed uses a Mini-ITX motherboard, so we are able to use the hole in the motherboard tray.  A standard Micro-ATX board would go to the edge of the motherboard tray, and we would use the space at the end of the tray to route cables.  A Zalman LQ310 AIO Liquid Cooler is installed replacing the rear exhaust fan.  If a push/pull fan configuration was desired, another fan could be installed outside the case, or the radiator could.  The rubber grommets on the back panel are split, which would allow the routing of the tubes through the exhaust hole and into the liquid cooling holes. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-Side Taking a look at the left side of the case, we can see the Gigabyte HD7870 video card, which is 10.25" and there is still a little room for longer cards; the PC-V359 supports video cards up to 12.6".  On the bottom layer the hard drive cage slides into place, however it needed to be properly maneuvered to get it to fit correctly.  I found it easiest to connect the data cables while the cage was outside the case and move it into place all together.  There is no fan guard on the front intake fan so a little caution will be necessary to insure the cables do not come into contact with the blades.  

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-Front Lian Li is well known for making high quality aluminum based cases; the PC-V359WA continues this tradition.  With a micro-ATX case, there are always restrictions on what can be done internally, Lian Li has taken care to make sure that everything can be installed in the case with ease.  Three of the sides and top comes off very easily, once they are off, the posts are a little loose, but that's short lived as they are solid once the panels are back in place.  Cooling options are a little limited, a 120mm radiator on the back panel or a 240mm radiator on either of the two side panels.  You can of course use air cooling, by installing two 120mm fans on each side.  CPU cooler is limited to 160mm height. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-MB-Tray Taking everything into account, probably the biggest disappointment on the PC-V359 has to do with the intake filters.  It is not convenient to pick up the case to clean the bottom power supply intake filter; even worse is the front intake filter.  Remove the side panel, and front panel to get to the intake fan housing, then remove it with screws to clean the intake filter.  It would be really nice if Lian Li had made the filters easier to clean. Lian-Li-PC-V359-Build-HD-Cage Included with the Lian Li is support for three 3.5" hard drives, and one 2.5" hard drive.  The issue is SSD's are becoming much more popular, and this is limited to installing just one.  There are trays available, and some SSD's are coming with the trays to convert them to fit these types of situations.  Otherwise, like the rest of the case, the hard drives are extremely easy to install in the hard drive cage. The Lian Li PC-V359 series is currently available, however they are difficult to find in stock, it can occasionally be found on Amazon for around $179.99 plus shipping for the PC-V359, which includes everything we have discussed here, and a 1 year warranty.  That is a high price for a Micro-ATX case, being made out of aluminum increases the price, and Lian Li is well known for manufacturing high quality cases that last a long time. LR Recommended Award Even with the issues I have with the filters, the Lian Li PC-V359 still receives a "Recommended" award.  It is a great case that offers many features to the user and looks great.  The issues with the filters is the main reason it did not receive the "Highly Recommended" award. Legit Bottom Line:  The Lian Li PC-V359 case series is a great option for a really nice looking cube style case and should be used as a show piece, not hidden away in a cabinet.