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Lian-Li PC-7 vs. CoolerMaster Centurion 5, advice needed

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:04 am
by dsc
Hi everyone

I'm a newbie here so if I do any stupid mistakes or so please forgive me:)

I've read a bunch of posts, articles and reviews here and all over the internet but still can't make my decision on what case to buy. I want (like everyone else) a case which has good air flow and is quiet. I've narrowed my list to two cases (which are available in my country):

- CoolerMaster Centurion 5 ... turion%205

It's is 95% steel so it is quite heavy but I don't plan to cary my case anywhere so it's not really an issue. It has a light frontal panel which makes the air move easily but it will also let some noise out, which can be a problem. It comes with two not so great fans so I would have to probably change them. The front fan is only 80mm plus it's a bit covered with the control panel so it's not 100% effective. Otherwise the case looks great and is pretty cheap. Plus it is tools-free.

- Lian-Li PC-7 (they have a crappy internet site)

All Alu so it's light and it's thermal abbilities should be better than steel. It comes with two quiet 120mm fans which is great. It's easy to mount your PSU and all the inside elements are removable. It has a grill on the upper side which is also nice. Only the area around the fan is full of holes so it shouldn't let out a lot of noise. It's more expensive than the Centurion 5.

Both of those cases look great but I can't really decide which one to buy. If anyone could help me, or has one of those cases and can write smth about them I would be really grateful.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:43 am
by disphenoidal
I own a Centurion 5, mostly because I think it's one of the best looking cases you can get and can be had for a reasonable price. The (essentially) open front panel limits your options a little bit; for example, you can't try things like creating positive pressure inside the case. If you had your eye on a fanless PSU, I don't think this would be the case for that, as I see no obvious way to pull air through the PSU. For more conventional cooling, I think this case works well, as the intake area is huge. You could very easily run a low airflow PSU. I don't think the included fans are that bad, but I run mine at 5V, where it doesn't make much difference what fans you use. Also, there's no (obvious) way to decouple hard drives from your case. If your components are easy to cool with a little air, this case will work well, I think. If you need more airflow and want your case to provide more damping, I'm not sure this case is ideal. For my system it works. Let us know what components you have, too.

PS. I'm tired of everyone saying aluminum cases help cooling. Yes, aluminum conducts heat better than steel. But there's a big airspace between the case and your components, so effectively 0 heat is being transferred from the components to the case. That's like saying an aluminum thermos bottle radiates more heat than a steel one.

PPS. Sorry for the long post and going a little crazy there...


Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:01 pm
by dsc
Hi disphenoidal

First of all thanks for your reply, it is really helpful:)

I agree that the intake area is huge, plus it has a dust filter which will keep all those nasty things outside. Here's what I plan to put in my new case:

AMD Athlon 64 3500+
Asus A8N-SLI Premium
Kingston HyperX DDR 2x512mb
GeForce 7600 GT Asus Silent
PSU Topower TOP-526 P6 420
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro

Well that's all the items that will affect the temps inside the case, so I didn't include any dvd drives and other stuff.

That Arctic cooler moves the air in the back fan direction so it should work well with a 120mm fan on the back (both cases have that).
The PSU is pretty silent and works well with taking out the hot air from the case so it should help to cool down the inner elements.
The thing I'm worried about is the 7600GT Silent whit it's passive cooling. It can get quite hot (around 70*C) so a lot of airflow in the case would be needed (air moving from front to back). So a 120mm fan on the front is a better idea (you can't use anything bigger than 80mm on the front in the Centurion 5 case, so LianLi is a winner here).
Lian Li also has a grill in the upper part of the case which should also help to get rid of hot air (as hot air moves up).

disphenoidal: can you write smth about the noise leakage through the front panel? Is it really that noisy? if not I might go with Centurion 5 and only change the fans to cool the inner space better.


Re: re

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:42 pm
by disphenoidal
The front panel definately does let some noise out. One thing I've noticed is it seems like the noise it gives off is pretty directional. So if you point the front panel away from yourself, it seems quieter. Unfortunately I don't have any way of measuring this, it's just something I've noticed. I'm afraid I don't really have another comparable case to compare it too, either.

I'm trying to think which case would work better with a passive VGA. My VGA is passive too, but it's only a Radeon 9550, not very demanding. I think the Lian Li has the advantage of creating a more direct stream of air from front to back, and the larger front fan helps. It channels the air more effectively. That makes me think it would work better with the passive VGA.

I feel like the Cooler Master is able to pull in more air and cooler air, but doesn't really move it from bottom-front to top-rear like you need. However, it probably would result in lower CPU and especially PSU temps, since air wouldn't be heated by the VGA before being exhausted out the PSU and rear fan.

So from my guesses about airflow--which I have no real training in--I think the Lian Li would be better for you. That's just my guess. But I still think the Cooler Master looks better.


Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:23 pm
by dsc
Hi again

It's really hard to choose. I like the Centurion, if only it came with a bigger front fan I would but it right away. I heard that those fans it comes with aren't so great when it comes to moving air, but I can always buy a new front fan for around 10$ and the problem should be solved I guess. Damn it why is it so hard to choose:)


Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:19 am
by ultraboy
I have both LianLi PC-7 (non-Plus version with 80 mm fans) and Centurion 5, and I like both of them. Centurion 5 is easier to cool in general due to very open front, but it's not too difficult to cool LianLi PC-7 with some mod - IMO it'll even give a better directional air flow due to intake coming in only at lower front.

In both cases, I've made PSU air duct using top 2 front bays (easier on Centurion 5), and I've taken out front fans in both cases. Oh..and I also change exhaust fans to Yate Loon 120 mm. orange fans too.

In short, both are good case. Centurion 5 is easier to work with out of the box while Lian Li PC-7 need some mod to maximize airflow. :wink:

Of course, a quiet PC need to start from having quiet components. If you already have that, then noise leak will be minimal. :D


Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:17 am
by dsc
Hi ultraboy

It's great to see that you have both of those cases:) I wanted to ask you this question:

How are those cases when it comes to vibrations created by the HDD. The Centurion 5 has a nonremovable HDD tray, plus it is tool-less so I guess the vibrations can get carried from the HDD tray to the whole case. Lian on the other hand has a removable HDD tray so it can be protected from carrying the vibrations to the whole case. Cause you have both of those cases I would like to ask for your opinion on this matter. (the Centurion 5 is heavy because it's steel, so this should be a good thing when it comes to vibrations)

The only source of noise inside the case would be the CPU cooler, which is said to be pretty silent so I guess that have a mesh front would be that bad.

The only thing I'm worried about are HDD vibrations, if it's not a big problem inside the Centurion 5 I would definately buy it:)


Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:52 pm
by ultraboy
Lian-Li PC-7 Hdd cage is made of thicker alu sheet and is held by 2 screws (and a kind of slot lock) on to case floor without touching any other part of the case. So I think vibration is well under controlled. My 2 Seagate Hdds do not vibrate much so this has never been a real concern to me.

What I like about this Hdd cage is that it hold Hdds length-wise, and the cage itself act as a nice heatsink for both Hdds. :D

As you said, Centurion 5 use tool-less which I find hold the Hdd quite tight. So I don't think vibration is a big issue here as the cage structure is also solidly built. However, I must say I've used this setting only in a limited period just to test it out. My final setup is having both Hdds suspended in the 5-inch bays. :lol: :lol:


Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:51 pm
by disphenoidal
Sweet suspension job, ultraboy. I imagine that if you suspended your drives like that, HD noise would be minimal with either case. The Lian Li might be slightly quieter because the drives are covered, but you'll have to ask ultraboy about that, he's got a better suspension job than me so I can't really tell you much. :) Also, make sure you get black drive faceplates too! I have a friend with a Centurion 5 and 3 white drives, it looks like a zebra. :P

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:27 pm
by shimq1
Ultraboy, can you post more pictures of your Centurion 5? :D
I just got one a couple of weeks ago and I'm trying to get ideas on how to make it better.

Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:45 am
by ultraboy
Hey..thanks for the compliment.

Here're some more pic of my set up in Centurion 5, sorry for poor quality - it was already very late at night when I took it. :oops:


This is PSU air channel made of clear acrylic, you can see the cables that go to suspended HDD. My CPU HS is Thermalright SI-97, it would have been better if you use HSF that has air flowing in-line with exhaust. Btw, do not buy that AC Ryan's loud..but my 7 yrs. old son insists on keeping it.


Here's the general inside view of the case. VGA is R9800@Pro with Zalman 80D. When I originally assembled the ZM80D for my system(in the Lian-Li PC-7 case), I put an analog temp sensor on the back side of the card and had it connected to my T-balancer which controlled that fan you see here. As I moved this 'VGA set' to my son's system, I decided to connect that temp sensor to a simple thermometer rather than pulling it out. :)


The last pic shows 2xfanmate2, for CPU and VGA fans. Once adjusted, I keep these 2 fans at that constant voltage all the time. What I do to increase/decrease airflow between idle and load is to use Speedfan to control the exhaust fan (orange Yate Loon). Just use CPU fan header on MB to connect your exhaust fan - then you're good to go. :D


Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:27 am
by dsc

ultraboy you are very helpful with all those pictures mate:) a big thanks goes to you!!

I like the fact that in case of the LianLi you get two 120mm fans, which can run slower and still give a lot of air. The Centurion 5 only has a 80mm fan in front, but if you add another 80mm fan on the side plate it should also work well. I'm going to install this CPU cooler: ... ta=2&disc=

which moves air from the memory slots into the back of the case where the back 120mm fan is installed, so it should cool quite well. Because I plan to add a passive 7600GT (which cen get pretty hot, to around 70*C) I'm thinking about adding the side fan to cool the graphics card.

Centurion 5 has a lot of 5" bays so I also plan to suspend my HDD there, should be pretty easy to do that.

My decision really depends on the availability of these cases. I already ordered the Centurion 5, although I'm not sure if it's in stock, cause it's Easter and everything is closed till April 18th. If the Centurion 5 is out of stock I will order the Lian Li. In my opinion both of those cases are great, so it's hard to choose a winner here.

disphenoidal: I'm buying a black version dvd drive so front plates shouldn't be a problem:)

And thanks for your replies guys:) I'm really grateful.


Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:00 pm
by disphenoidal
Sounds good. I think ultimately you'd be happy with either of these cases. Enjoy your new system!


Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:11 am
by dsc
Thanks a lot disphenoidal:)

This will be my first system build on my own. I hope not to screw anything up :)