Date: June 2nd, 2006
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zalman USA
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
With the packing materials removed, we get our first good look at the HD160. I must say, it gives an excellent first impression. The brushed aluminum finish is very attractive and the construction exudes quality. A plastic sheet protects the VFD screen during shipping and the front panel is quite thick. An adjustable vent on the top surface of the cabinet, along with the screened vents on the left side, are just a couple of the cooling features offered by the HD160. Three identical screened vents on the right side provide air intake for the PSU.
The customary power and reset buttons are large enough to be functional without detracting from the overall look of the front panel. The volume knob, on the other hand, sticks out like a sore thumb. I like this functionality on the front of the case, and it does fit in with the hi-fi component look Zalman is clearly going for here, but personally I'd like to see a more subdued look. Power (blue) and HDD activity (green) LEDs are a nice touch; I was afraid I was going to have to put up with at least one red lamp here.
You'll make heavy use of a long-reach #1 philips screwdriver if you build a computer in the HD160. Five flathead screws must be removed to access the interior of the case, and the box containing the accessories. The front panel is 0.35 inches (almost 9mm) thick and the sides and top are 0.075 inches (almost 2mm) thick. This adds up to a very strong (and heavy) chassis.
Moving around to the rear, we find two 80mm exhaust fans, an I/O shield that probably won't fit your motherboard and seven expansion slots. The fans are mounted with black rubber grommets to minimize vibration noise. Using a mounting plate arrangement, any full sized ATX power supply can be used in the HD160. The chassis rests on cushioned feet designed to resemble what you might find on stereo components. Slots on the bottom of the case provide air intake in critical areas to mitigate heat build-up, as we'll demonstrate later.
The right-front of the HD160 has provisions for stealthing the optical drive and a push on the corner of the lower door reveals…..
…..the card reader, USB, FireWire and audio ports. While I'd like to see some damping on the door mechanism, I like this feature a lot.
The HD160 is big and roomy. Well, big and roomy for an HTPC case anyway. As I mentioned before, Zalman gives you room to fit full size components in this chassis. I like being able to choose my parts based on spec, not on size. Motherboard standoffs are preinstalled and not (easily) removable. The drive cages are removable and have some nice features that we'll discuss shortly. In the lower right corner is the VFD, remote control panel. The smudges on the floor of the case are tape residue, and easily removed with household cleaner.