My New Favorite ITX Case – Lian Li TU150
The TU150 by Lian Li is a type of ITX enclosure that I personally love. It’s not too bulky yet it’s not so compact that you have to compromise on cooling performance, component compatibility, and the assembly procedure is super straightforward. Also, the price is right at the $109 USD, which is super competitive for a premium ITX case. I feel like Lian Li really killed it this year with the TU150.
Design & Features
For the price point the aluminum construction is pretty excellent. I love the silver version of this case because it hides all the finger marks, yet it still reveals the grain of the brushed aluminum. If you go with the black version that is at your own risk because all the finger marks will be visible.
We do have a glass side panel that is blacked out at the top to hide the power supply section and top of the motherboard. An interesting fact is that the panels are swappable, if you wish to do so, but I don’t see why you would. Just keep in mind that the glass panel is slightly thicker so the aluminum panel is not flush against the frame. I do love the tool-less approach with pegs in case you want to repaint the exterior chassis or mod it in some way, plus it just keeps the entire exterior super clean.
The I/O consists of dual USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C Gen2 port, power and reset buttons, and the audio jacks. Unfortunately, the power and reset buttons do wobble – like they’re not completely stable in their housing – and that is pretty much the only compromise that I can point out in this entire enclosure, and for the price point that’s not a huge issue.
In terms of other design elements, I do appreciate the angled pieces on the sides to slim down the entire front panel and that mesh to help with airflow. And can we just talk about the brilliant handle up top? Not only does it hide in the low profile position when it’s not extended, but it’s also built into the frame so there’s no worry about like actually supporting the weight of your system. And for an ITX enclosure I love this integration especially because I can bring this to shows and you don’t necessarily need to handle the case by its frame because you have a handle.
Clearance & Cooling
Now size-wise I feel like it fits the perfect middle ground between something that is not too tiny like the Dan case or not too bulky for ITX like the H 210 from NZXT. So I feel like Lian Li has done a pretty good job in keeping things as compact as without compromising on cooling and compatibility. The amount of clearance is fantastic, you have 165 millimeters of clearance for the CPU tower and 320 millimeters for the GPU. It’s not super radiator friendly, you could install a 120 millimeter radiator at the back and that is the only position where water cooling is possible. We do have a dual 120 millimeter fan mounts at the bottom, but that is mainly to install like dual fans for intake to help with GPU cooling. We do have a single 120 millimeter mount at the front, but that is mainly to be used for intake, which is dust covered by the way. Radiator clearance here is not possible because the power supply is right above the fan and there is no possible way to install a radiator there.
So I really appreciate that Lian Li has focused their attention on making sure there’s enough height clearance for a good CPU tower instead of trying to cram in radiator clearance, like a 240mm radiator on the inside like we’ve seen with the Ncase M1 for example. The only negative thing here is that we don’t have any dust filtration at the bottom, which is most likely to be used as an intake for GPU cooling. I mounted my Noctua NH-U12A in there and that is a fantastic cooler because it’s quiet and it cools incredibly well. I don’t even need to install a fan at the back because of the dual fan configuration, so there’s plenty of exhaust.
As for the internals, we have three PCI slots to support those beefy GPUs. Our standard ITX motherboard area with plenty of space above and on the side. For storage we can mount a 3.5″ drive or a 2.5″ drive above the motherboard area, with appropriate cutouts and one 2.5″ drive on the side of the motherboard below your power supply. So the power supply compatibility is for SFX or SFX-L, which is great because they’re not trying to cram an ATX power supply in here. There is enough clearance at the top for a full-sized power supply, but it would totally like blocked off the front intake fan. And I really appreciate this whole effort to make sure that the cooling is sufficient.
Cable Management & Conclusion
As for cable management, this is by far the easiest cable management work for this size. Not only can you route cables behind the motherboard tray, but you can also route cables above the top plate or below the top panel. So for example, I routed my 8-pin CPU cable through there because there’s enough cable length on it, and you can just basically hide things above or behind the motherboard for this super clean interior. For an ITX form factor that is pretty impressive. The fact that this case can only support SFX-L or SFX power supplies means that this whole blackout section at the top hides the power supply, and as long as you’re pretty smart with how you hide the cables on the interior then the entire build will look absolutely seamless in terms of cables without anything sticking out.
And so this quickly became one my favorite ITX enclosures, even though it’s not super compact. I love the entire user-friendly angle mounting hardware, removing the side panels, doing all the cable management work, and having such good cooling compatibility. Some of you might say that there’s plenty of space wasted below the power supply and beside the CPU cooler, and I would say this is just the nature of having plenty of space for the GPU in terms of length. And I don’t mind the width of the chassis because we have such good CPU tower clearance and that is exactly what I would do with an ITX enclosure in this form factor. I don’t care that there’s not plenty of radiator clearance inside. I love the focus on airflow and that is what you get. It feels like this case was made for me even though it’s not super tiny. I love everything about it except for no dust filter at the bottom and the slightly rattling power and the reset buttons.