Product: Lian Li Pitstop PC-T60A DIY Test Bench
Price: £TF (silver and black versions approx $99.99, red version approx $129.99)
Now, as the saying goes, for something completely different. If you are into or just getting started along the murky path of overclocking, sooner or later the PC case you build everything into just starts to get in the way, then you have the option of using the motherboard box as a support or invest in a proper test bench. The well-known maker of high quality PC cases Lian Li has just launched the Pitstop PC-T60A DIY test bench, which as the name suggests comes in pieces for you to re-assemble.
Compatible with both full-size and micro ATX motherboards (Lian Li also makes a version for mini ITX boards, the PC-7T), the Pitstop PC-T60 comes in a smallish (370 by 115 by 365mm wxhxd) box complete with a carry handle and weighing in at just 1.8kg, its not going to break your arm carrying it out of the shop.
Once you open the box you are confronted by the bits and bobs you need to construct it – think Ikea, but in this instance the box contents are up to the high levels of quality control that Lian Li is all about and every panel is wrapped in plastic to avoid damage.
All the parts are made from good quality 1.25 or 2mm thick aluminium and there is currently a choice of three finishes; brushed aluminium (our review sample), or anodised black (T60B), or red (T60R).
Most of the major components have to be screwed together giving the Pitstop PC-T60A additional strength and stability. Any optical drive you use has to be fixed into the two 5.25-inch bays with screws, which makes sense as you’re hardly likely to change these on a regular basis, while the 3.5-inch hard drive cage and mounts use thumbscrews.
Unlike many other test benches’s Lian Li has supplied a standard PCI backplane with the Pitstop PC-T60A and this is a really sturdy structure with eight slots. As it’s attached to the motherboard plate with screws, it will support large, heavy graphics cards without any problems.
The power supply mounting rails have rubber pads to help reduce vibration and similarly the hard drive cage has rubber anti-vibration mounts for three 3.5-inch drives. These aren't the only storage options as you can fit a bracket under the motherboard tray that can hold two 2.5-inch drives
The mounting plate for the motherboard has a large hole cut out of it so installing a large third party cooler shouldn’t present too much of a problem although for very tall coolers you may find you have to leave of the carrying handle, no great loss if you are not intending to carry the Pitstop T-60A around.
A couple of things that are available as separate options that would be nice to see in the box are a dual-fan mount (T60-1) which can accommodate two 120mm or two 140mm cooling fans. Without this there are no fan supports on the Pitstop T-60. There's a front I/O plate (PW-IE5H550) that houses two USB 3.0 ports, two audio ports supporting HD Audio/AC97 and a single e-SATA port.
The instruction leaflet is very good with loads of images, each labelled with concise and easy-to-follow text and a nice touch is the illustrated parts list for the major structures as well as a guide to all the fixings.
Although aimed at a niche market, Lian Li’s Pitstop PC-T60A is a well thought out test bench using high quality materials throughout. The instructions make it easy to assemble even if you’re not gifted with DIY skills. Once built, it’s certainly one of the best of its kind available currently.