The very top of the PC-888’s tower is also well featured, with one of the largest arrays of front panel connectivity we’ve seen for a while. While one side houses the usual suspects of eSATA, FireWire 400, quad USB 2.0, microphone and headphone ports, the other is home to a multi-format card reader with support for every major format, as well as a fifth USB port. While the card reader is a fairly inexpensive addition (similar readers can be picked up for less than £20), the fact that it’s fully integrated into the PC-888’s design is a great little feature.
The front panel housing atop the PC-888 is also where you’ll find the case’s power and reset buttons, along with a precision cut Lian Li logo. The power button and Lian Li logo are both subtly backlit with blue LEDs, and when powered look great, although the “spike” and accompanying housing atop the case are purely decorative (and shouldn’t be used as a carry handle).
While the PC-888 does have something of a unique design insofar as its shape, it does borrow plenty of elements from Lian Li’s ultra-high end chassis, the Lian Li Tyr PC-X2000
. It’s tall, thin and its side panels especially are very large, rising the full height of the chassis. However, here Lian Li has decided to include a large Perspex window to show off the PC-888’s internals, with the huge sheet of smoothed Perspex fitted into the left hand panel using Allen key screws.
Click to enlarge
The smoothly finished and well fitted window is just another example of Lian Li really pushing for some superb build quality with the PC-888, something that its recent cases have started to lack in comparison to competition from Cooler Master and Akasa. From the exterior at least, it certainly seems that Lian Li has recaptured some of the excellent build quality the company once was synonymous with – the chassis is very solid and beautifully finished.
Deeper into the Blue
Opening up the PC-888 is very easy, with each side panel secured using a single thumbscrew attached to a sliding rail used to lock the panel in place. However, refitting the side panels is pretty darn tricky, as there’s just one “slot” in the PC-888’s base to line the panel up with, and we frequently found ourselves manhandling the panel back into place rather than it easily sliding into position.
Taking a look inside the PC-888 though reveals the gorgeous blue anodised aluminium interior, with absolutely every internal surface getting the funky blue treatment and it looks fantastic. All too often chassis manufacturers (Lian Li included) produce a chassis that looks great from the outside, but within are all grey and poorly finished – it’s great to see that Lian Li hasn’t skimped.
Click to enlarge
The layout of the interior is very similar to the PC-X2000's guts, which we looked at last summer, using a chambered system to divide the different thermally demanding components. The roof of the case houses the PSU and optical drives (including a dedicated rear mounted ventilation grill to ensure decent airflow), with the hard disks mounted below in two suspended drive cages and then beneath them the main compartment for core hardware.
However, while this system worked well in the extra tall PC-X2000, it doesn’t work so well in the smaller curved shell of the PC-888, making it fairly tight on space. There really isn’t a lot of room to move around inside and while there is a removable motherboard tray to help make things easier (also made of that wonderful blue anodised aluminium), it’s removed from the rear, a feature taken from the Lian LI PC-9
(and before that the Lancool K7 Metal Boned
) which means that fitting larger CPU coolers will still require you to fiddle around inside the case – precisely what a removable motherboard tray should avoid.