Date: March 2nd, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zalman
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
The back of the side panel reveals the fan placements and the fan control electronics. As you can see, the upper placement is vacant, waiting for the user to install the included 120mm fan. The cowling will have to be removed to accomplish this task and we'll go over this during installation. 140mm fans will also fit these placements, as well as 80mm and 92mm units. As a concession to economy, the interior isn't painted black to match the exterior color. This is also true of the rear panel and case bottom.
Like the rear panel, the interior is rather conventional and Spartan, but Zalman offers up a few nice features to keep things interesting. For example, there is a large cutout in the mobo tray to facilitate cooler installation/upgrade and tool-free features for the big bays and expansion bays. There is also a unique drive cage here, but we'll go over that in more detail in a bit. I'm a little disappointed at the lack of cable management aids here, but I'll reserve judgment until the installation phase of the review has been completed.
At the rear we have a 120mm exhaust fan with its 4-pin Molex connector. Consequently, users won't be able to monitor or control fan speeds from the motherboard or most aftermarket fan speed controllers. The tool-free design of the expansion card retention mechanism is something that I've seen before and had good luck with, and the design allows the cards to be secured with screws if the user so desires. We'll see how these work a little later. While the expansion bay covers are ventilated, Zalman's choice to go with a punch-out, non-replaceable design here is one of my pet peeves about budget cases. Including a few replaceable covers in the accessory bag would entirely mitigate this issue, but there are none.
I have high hopes for the tool-free features installed on the big bays, but the real star of this photo is the HDD cage. It holds up to five drives in rubber mounts and is cooled by the front 120mm intake fan which is also terminated in a 4-pin Molex. Both the HDD cage and the floppy adapter are secured with screws and we'll take a closer look at these features shortly.