(Image: © Tom's Hardware)
Lian Li’s Lancool II Mesh Performance is a superbly easy-to-use chassis that’s practical, performs as it should, and doesn’t cost a fortune. We would certainly shortlist this one.
- Excellent thermal performance
- Thoughtful interior
- Ingenious cable management
- Three included fans with controller
- No RGB (a pro, for some)
- Exterior design is a bit boring
- USB-C costs $15 extra
Lian Li used to be known as that one manufacturer that only built all-aluminum cases, which felt wonderfully premium but also landed heavy on our wallets. Then, a while back, the company started using painted steel to cut costs and appeal to a mainstream audience, a philosophy from which the original Lancool II was birthed.
Now Lian Li is launching the Lancool II Mesh, of which we have the Performance variant at hand. This chassis is a new variant of the original Lancool II, which we awarded 4.5 stars but was a little lacking in the performance department. With a new mesh front, performance is a problem of the past.
Packing three PWM fans, a thoughtful interior, and great looks despite the lack of RGB, you would expect a price fitting the Lian Li of old, but this chassis is remarkably affordable at just $90. Of course, the real question is, will it climb the ranks to a spot on our best PC cases list? You should definitely read on for the full details, but spoiler alert: Oh yes, it does.
Lian Li Lancool II Mesh Specifications
|Motherboard Support||Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX (280 mm)|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||18.8 x 9.0 x 19.5 inches (478 x 229 x 494 mm)|
|Max GPU Length||15.1 inches (384 mm)|
|CPU Cooler Height||6.9 inches (176 mm)|
|Max PSU Length||8.3 inches (210 mm)|
|Internal Bays||3x 3.5-inch, 4x 2.5-inch|
|Front I/O||2x USB 3.0, Optional USB-C, 3.5 mm Audio/Mic Combo|
|Other||2x Tempered Glass Panel, Fan Controller|
|Front Fans||2x 140 mm (Up to 2x 140mm, 3x 120mm)|
|Rear Fans||1x 120mm (Up to 1x 120mm)|
|Top Fans||None (Up to 2x 140mm)|
|Bottom Fans||Up to 2x 120 mm on PSU shroud|
Features of Lian Li Lancool II Mesh
Lian Li’s Lancool II Mesh Performance comes with, you guessed it, a mesh front panel that is easy to remove by tugging it at the bottom. The front doesn’t feature any fancy design elements aside from the Lian Li logo at the bottom, but if you were to install RGB fans in the front, or opt for the RGB variant, you would get a cool effect seeing the RGB-lit fans through the mesh. This RGB variant costs the same $90 and comes with three RGB fans, but they’ll be 120 mm in size and you’ll miss out on the fan controller and PWM control. A white RGB variant can also be had for $95.
Both sides of the chassis have tempered glass panels, which is typically a controversial decision. We’re not often fans of tempered glass on the cable-side of a chassis as it reveals your handywork (or lack thereof), but Lian Li has placed covers over the cables to hide all the mess.
The glass panels both swivel out backwards like suicide doors, but to move them you’ll first have to unlatch the PSU cover hatches. All four swiveling panels hold themselves closed firmly with magnets, so opening your system is dead simple. Once open, you can simply lift the glass panels out of their hinges to ease assembly or maintenance.
IO at the top of the chassis consists of two USB 3.0 ports, a mic / headphone combo jack, power and reset switches, and a three-speed fan controller with an Auto-mode. There is a spot for an optional USB Type-C port, but to add the port, you’ll have to pay $15 for the accessory, so you’ll have to ask yourself whether you really need it. For the majority of us that don’t, it’s a nice way of reducing the price of the Lancool II Mesh, and you’ll always be able to add it later anyway.
nternally, the Lancool II Mesh surprised us with a highly thoughtful layout, making it easy to accommodate all sorts of hardware combinations. The main motherboard compartment doesn’t bring any surprises, and there is room to install two 2.5-inch drives behind the motherboard tray along with three 3.5-inch drives in the HDD caddy under the PSU shroud. An accessory is available to make the HDD caddies hot-swappable, sparing you from having to open the other side to plug in cables. We wouldn’t buy it unless you’re swapping drives on an almost-daily basis though as it’s super easy to open the other side to plug or unplug drives.
You can mount two more 2.5-inch drives on the inside of the right-side PSU latch.
To cool your system, Lian Li ships the Performance variant of this case with one rear 120 mm fan and two 140 mm spinners at the front intake. At this price, those are wildly lavish inclusions, especially if you consider that these are PWM fans and a 3-speed fan controller comes included, too.
There is no filter at the front of the case, which will help airflow. This will generate more dust in the system, but that’s a compromise you’ll have to be willing to make for the performance benefits – besides, the panels open extremely easily for cleaning.
The PSU intake does get a fine mesh air filter that slides out the back, which is nice as the bottom would be much more difficult to access for regular cleaning.
At the top of the chassis you can mount up to two 140 mm fans or a 240 mm radiator, with the front supporting up to 280 mm and 360 mm radiators. You’ll run into the PSU shroud, but it has a segment that’s easily removable to make room. Thoughtful!
CPU coolers can be up to 176 mm (6.9 inches) tall and GPUs up to 384 mm (15.1 inches) long.