It can be pretty easy to run out of superlatives when you're talking about a case as perfectly designed as Lian Li's new X1000. Drawing on the same super tower design of its even more expensive cousin, the X2000, the X1000 strips back some of the features, but loses none of the charm and utility.
We wrote in our review of the X2000 that the side-mounted external drive bays split the office, but there's nothing to cause such contention this time around. The X1000 boast the usual drive orientation, placing three external drive bays on the front fascia, above three 140mm fans protected by mesh and removable filters. No cat hair or dustbunnies cluttering up this case! The entire exterior is brushed aluminium, and about the only thing we can see of the semi-matte finish is that it picks up finger prints like John Romero picks up gamer chicks. The case's rear houses another two 140mm fans, exhausting warm air, as well as eight expansion slots, grometting watercooling ducts and a fan controller switch.
About the only thing we continue not to look is Lian Li's choice of a dinky little cover for its IO ports. Surrounded by such lush design, this annoyance stands out like a sore thumb.
But it's easily forgotten once you remove the side panels, which are fastened with a clever system of spring loaded screws - no more losing thumbscrews.
Inside, the case is split into three discrete chambers to improve cooling and airflow. At the bottom rests a vibration dampened bay for the PSU, as well as internal drive bays. The middle section is the main chamber, with removable mobo plate, expansion card bracket (a boon for larger and longer cards), while the top chamber houses more internal drive bays, and the external 5.25in bays. Every mount is tool-less and vibration dampened, and the case also includes the best and most reliable tool-less latching systems we've ever seen for expansion cards. There are even brackets for 2.5in drives, perfect for those making the move to SSD storage. And every surface is finely machines, perfectly finished, and ready to take whatever punishment you can dish out.
To say that we're once again in love with Lian Li is an understatement. The X2000 is a great case, but so expensive as to put it out of most people's reach. At $500-odd, the X1000 is the case any serious upgrader would want to build there next PC in. It's certainly what we want to use in our next rig.