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Twenty Screws Too Many
We counted. Twenty.
That's the number of screws we had to remove - mind you, these are proper screws, not thumb screws - before we can install an optical drive to the 5.25-inch drive bay. You would probably require to meddle with just as many screws for future maintenance needs too.
In our modern times where even a couple more mouse clicks can be one too many, the sheer number of screws on this Lian Li casing is simply unacceptable. Other manufacturers have gone completely tool-free and even when they don't, we can't remember the last time we were faced with twenty screws.
We can understand some of the reasons why. Using directly screwed on side panels require less space, especially for a mini tower chassis. Also, one of the side panels effectively doubles as a removable motherboard tray. Perhaps Lian Li knows that its users will not be upgrading their hardware that often that this will become a problem.
For us however, it made the installation more of a hassle than it should, potentially overshadowing the merits of this case. Users looking to troubleshoot or perform maintenance in the future stand to face a daunting number of screws as well. On the other hand, Lian Li has done a pretty good job with the removable drive cages and the allowance for longer graphics cards. One can fit a full size power supply unit inside the V354, with the only downside being the proximity between the PSU and your expansion cards. As a result, we recommend space saving features like a modular power supply and modest-sized CPU coolers.
Overall, the aluminum V354 is handy enough for LAN gamers and yet possess the class to be in the living room. Unless you're the kind that constantly change their computer hardware, in which case, we hope you have an electric screwdriver handy.
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