Other custom Cryo touches include the company’s logo in a blue-backlit clear Perspex plate at the front. Though initially it looks attractive, on closer inspection you may notice that the cardboard logo is poorly cut out and the Perspex edges are quite sharp. Again we would recommend that you ask for it to be left off your build.
There’s also a custom 90mm Xilence side fan for extra cooling, which is very neatly fitted. We wish Cryo had gone for a blue one rather than the red fan used here, though. Unfortunately the fan is still one of the more audible parts of the PC, but hooking it up to one of the motherboard’s fan headers (rather than directly to the PSU as done here) should at least ensure it’s not constantly running at its maximum. Even better news is that disconnecting it entirely still results in a fairly cool system.
In order to accommodate full-size components in its relatively small PC-V351 case, Lian Li has made a few unusual placement choices. Power and reset buttons are located at the front of the machine as usual, but the optical drive and connections have been relocated to the right side. The power button is backlit in an attractive blue, and cleverly the reset button doubles as the hard drive activity light, though it’s backlit in jarring red. The side connectivity is a bit sparse: a FireWire port, two USB ports and the usual headphone plus microphone jacks are all you get.
Thankfully the Nano more than makes up for this by being based on one of the most feature-rich micro-ATX motherboards around: an Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) Maximus III Gene, of which we should incidentally be doing a review soon. Around the back then you get eight USB 2.0 ports (a ninth USB connector is for Asus’ ROG connect feature, which allows you to use a second computer/laptop for overclocking). One each of PS2, FireWire and eSATA are joined by a Gigabit Ethernet socket, while audio is taken care of by an integrated X-Fi SupremeFX sound-chip that provides digital optical and six analogue outputs.
As you might have noticed the only significant absentee here is USB 3.0. We’re hoping Asus will add this connection to its highest-end micro-ATX board soon, though in the meantime there are free PCIe slots so you can install a USB 3.0 expansion card (or Cryo will install one for you on request).