System Build, Performance, and Conclusion

The PC-Q33 is remarkably easy to build in for a small system, and really for any system regardless of size. Once open there is nothing in the way of the build process, and the PC-Q33 is exactly as open and easy to build in as these photos indicate.

Installing the motherboard and main components will be easy with this much room

Getting right into it I mounted my mini-ITX motherboard using the preinstalled standoffs and started adding components. While I only used the stock Intel cooler for testing there’s a ton of space for a huge CPU cooler in here, considering all of the extra room available in this upper part of the enclosure.

But as much space as there is for a large CPU cooler, there really isn’t going to be room for a very long graphics card.

Pushing the limits of the PC-Q33’s GPU support

While my ASUS R7 260X card technically fit, this represents the longest card that still allows the front panel to close. My card was actually resting lightly against the front of the enclosure, so I didn’t complete my build with this card. The “mini” versions of some GPUs (such as the recently released GTX 960 Mini) would fit perfectly, and there are plenty of smaller R7 series AMD graphics cards as well. The only smaller card I had on hand was a reference GTX 750 Ti, so that went into our build.

As an aside, I didn’t start out to make this a “budget” build, and the PC-Q33 certainly supports higher-end components within the shorter GPU limitation. Based on the mini-ITX components on hand it just ended up that way, and a setup like this with an H81 motherboard, Pentium G3258 processor, and GTX 750 Ti graphics card still makes a great 1080p gamer (or at least did until quad-core CPU’s became a requirement for many new release PC games, but I’ll have a lot more to say on that in a future article).


A standard 3.5” drive caddy is positioned on the bottom of the case, and is removed easily with 3 thumbscrews. This supports a pair of 3.5” drives, as well as an SSD mounted to the bottom with the included screws.

Need more storage space? Look no further than that folding case front, which features multiple 3.5” and 2.5” mounting points for drives. Attaching them is extremely easy using a system that I’d like to see more cases use.

Four rubber guides are screwed to the bottom of each drive, and then the drive slides into place and remains secure with the case closed.

Using the additional drive bays can further reduce space for a GPU

The mounts prevent vibration, and though firmly in place once installed they are still very easy to remove if desired by simply pulling them back out along the track in the front panel.

Finished Build

Managing cable mess is going to require some finesse unless you’re using a short, flat cable set like I am (the SilverStone PP05-E short cable kit, $30 on Amazon). I could have used more finesse, but the sample PC-Q33 was not the windowed version so I left it as is. The stacked component layout prevents cables from inhibiting airflow, and thanks to the hinged design getting to components is still very easy.

The front panel connections at first seemed like they would be an issue considering the hinged design, but it didn’t end up that way at all. There was plenty of slack to allow the front connectors to be remain in place on the motherboard with case fully open, and keeping the cables in place when closing the case was simple as both sides are open during the process. I simply held the cables in place in the lower section when swinging the front back up, and the final build looked fairly tidy without any effort.

With the system completed I ran some quick benchmarks with the admittedly low-end hardware I had installed for this build. It will still give you an idea of what the case can do, but going in I already knew one important thing from my own experience: with perforated side panels this case would provide excellent cooling and poor noise dampening. Truly, you’ll get exactly what you put into it if you’re looking for a quiet enclosure. Louder fans will be, well, loud. There’s nothing preventing you from hearing just about everything, but the solid front and top make it a little quieter than an open-air setup would be.

Temperatures and Noise

CPU temps were measured using RealTemp software, and I use Prime95 to create CPU load temps (which is the very worst-case scenario for heat). The Unigine Valley benchmark was used for GPU load testing. Room temperature was 18 C for all testing, and the noise floor in the room was 34 dB.

Please note, there is no comparative data for this one-off build (I have not done any other enclosure builds with a GTX 750 Ti), but these are the actual results for the components as installed. To sum up the following charts, you won't have any thermal issues with this enclosure, and it does very little to dampen the sound of your components. With enclosures like this with fully ventilated side panels you will have this tradeoff, but it's a good one if you choose quiet components since they have nearly the same advantage of an open-air setup.


The Lian Li PC-Q33 is a well made, thoughtfully designed enclosure that fits the bill for a premium mini-ITX build. The only caveat is limited GPU length, but many several shorter graphics options – including a few specifically catering to the small form-factor market – are available to help mitigate the space limitation. There is ample room for storage and room for the biggest air coolers and 120mm AIO liquid coolers, and even bigger ATX power supplies are supported. The overall fit and finish is very high, and I was surprised at how low the relative price is considering this is a premium aluminum enclosure.

Bottom line: A well made, thoughtfully designed enclosure that's worth the $95 to $105 price tag for a premium mini-ITX build.


  • High quality materials and construction
  • Hinged design makes working inside case very easy
  • Full size ATX PSU support
  • Excellent storage support for a small enclosure


  • Limited room for graphics cards

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