The current state of the PC market has most enthusiasts building machines that are bigger and faster, but sometimes the answer to your question isn’t bigger. In fact, sometimes having a smaller piece is exactly what you need.
If it’s too big it can just be uncomfortable. Ramming it into any space that fits or jamming it into tight crevices is no way to treat your favorite instrument: your PC. Instead, for those who have come to enjoy the subtler, more discreet chassis, Lian Li introduces the PC-TU100, a mini-ITX case designed to meet most of the needs of day-to-day PC use, but with little ability to turn into a hardcore gaming PC -- though the ability is there. Like a hot date, the only way to ensure that you’re successful is meticulous planning. You can’t half-ass your design and still expect to have success, instead you have to look at every angle, every decision and see the potential. You wouldn’t take that hunk you saw at the library to the Dollar Menu with hopes to impress. Don’t treat your PC-TU100 that way either.
This chassis is small. As in, if you took it to a park people would circle around you murmuring, “aww” and “how cute!” as you hovered over it cautiously, hoping nobody was too rough with it. It’s durable though, made with aluminum and designed so that the sides don’t simply slide or pop off. Instead you’ll have to apply a little force to undress this beauty, grasping the tabs and ejecting the sides to access the beautiful insides. The dimensions, roughly 6.5”x11”x10” (and that’s bloating the numbers a bit), make this look like a pregnant VCR -- you remember those, right?
It’s that mini-ITX design that makes it difficult to supercharge the PC, as it only allows for low-profile GPUs, however those looking for an APU build -- the build tested with the chassis -- will be pleased. By removing the need for a GPU, the stress of cable management is far less. Good thing too, because the limited real estate within makes it one of the more difficult chassis to work with. Stock CPU fans are also your friend here, as you’ve only got about 65mm clearance to play with. For some of you, 65mm may seem like a lot, but without proper cooling you’ll be able to keep your beauty hot all night long -- though that’s what we’re trying to avoid here.
Drive bays are also a concern, but Lian Li has designed a plate at the bottom of the PC-TU100 for two 2.5” drives. Only one was used for testing purposes, but an SSD fit very well, though connecting the SATA cable was a bit uncomfortable. The cable management again being a concern, relying on you to almost force the connectors in, rather than sliding it into place all sensual-like.
What the PC-TU100 lacks for in size, it makes up for in innovation. Concerns over limited drive bay ports can be alleviated with external storage, connected via the USB 3.0 ports. An optical drive can easily fit in the designated slot and, due to the size, it’s all portable. In fact, the included handle makes this perfect for moving data from one location to the next if a laptop isn’t necessary. As a mobile media box, packed full of digital content, you simply need to connect this to a projector and you’ve got a cinema-in-a-box.
Retail price: $110.00
Available in Black or Silver