Completed Build, Performance, and Conclusion
The build process was smooth – once I had an appropriately sized power supply, that is – and the finished result looks pretty good without much effort. There ended up being enough room beneath the graphics card for slim 2.5-inch drives, but I still prefer the idea of leaving as much open air around the GPU as possible.
Flat, ribbon-style cables from my power supply made keeping things neat very easy, and there was room for slightly chunkier PSU cabling. There is about an inch of clearance behind the motherboard tray, which also helps accommodate the power extension cable attached at the rear of the enclosure. (As usual, an extension cable for motherboard CPU power is a must unless your PSU cables are very long.)
Temperatures and Noise
|Processor||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|Motherboard||EVGA Z170 Stinger (mITX Intel Z170)|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon R9 290X (Reference)|
|Storage||OCZ Vertex 460 120GB SSD|
|Power Supply||SilverStone Strider ST55F-G 550 W Modular PSU|
|OS||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
Given the vented design I was expecting pretty good temps from the PC-Q17 WX, though I didn't anticipate low noise levels from this build for the same reason.
No, there is not any comparison to other enclosures in the chart above as I have not tested this exact mix of components before, but the numbers are very good nonetheless. (For a very rough idea of comparable performance you may review the results from a previous mini-ITX case review.) As I suspected, the PC-Q17 WX had sufficient airflow to keep my system nice and cool, though I heard everything while it was running on the desk next to me.
Noise levels are going to be almost entirely dependent on your component selections, as the vented design (especially the top panel) and lack of any insulation won’t dampen the sound from loud fans. For the most part this is a quiet build, with a low-noise Noctua CPU cooler and the larger, slower fan from my SFX-L power supply; but the reference (blower) R9 290X graphics card is only quiet at idle.
Load noise from the CPU was not louder than the 32.1 dBA PSU fan in the front of the case (hence the identical result), but GPU load noise was another matter. The reference blower-style cooler with the Radeon R9 290X is very loud, and my 53.5 dBA (!) reading came with the fan peaking at 68% under load using the Unigine Valley benchmark.
Lian Li makes very high quality cases, and the PC-Q17 WX is no exception. It has interesting styling with its ASUS ROG collaboration, and looks every bit a gaming case. It had no trouble housing a competent gaming system with a full-length GPU, and does so with a compact footprint, and excellent cooling capability from its vented design. This design won't reduce the noise levels of your components, however, so don't expect a quiet build without the right mix of fans and quiet GPU.
The price ($189.99 is the lowest price I can find in the U.S.) reflects the premium - and all-aluminum - nature of the PC-Q17 WX, but I would have liked to see tempered glass for the side panel window at this level. Be sure to use a compact, fixed-cable ATX power supply (or better yet an SFX or SFX-L model) to maximize component space, and the build process will be easy. I really liked the look of the finished build, and the PC-Q17 WX looks really sharp on a desk, and does a nice job of showcasing your build efforts.
- Premium all-aluminum construction
- Room for full-sized components
- Excellent cooling from vented design
- Easy component access from push-pin style side panels
- Great attention to detail (cushioned drive mounts, cable routing space, etc.)
- Limited storage space with some component choices
- Would like to see a tempered glass window at this price
In the end I came away very impressed with Lian Li's PC-Q17 WX enclosure, and with the right mix of components it makes a very attractive home for a mini-ITX system.