by William Kelley on September 24, 2008 in Cases & PSUs
The first name that comes to mind when pondering a new chassis isn’t likely to be Zalman, but with the few enthusiast models they’ve released so far, it’s easy to see they mean business. We’re taking their brand-new GS1000 for a spin to see if its features and size make up for the $199 price tag.
Before we jump into testing, allow me to list all of the hardware being installed:
- ASUS P5E3 Deluxe Wi-Fi @N
- Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX6850
- OCZ Platinum DDR3 1333MHz 4 X 1GB
- Visiontek HD 4870 512MB PCI-E
- ASUS Xonar DX2 sound card
- BFG 680W LS Power supply
- Seagate 7200.11 500GB System drive
- Seagate 7200.11 2 X 1TB RAID 1
- LG 22X DVD Burner
- Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Installing the test parts was a simple task given the ample space available. You can mount up to an EATX motherboard in here and my HD 4870 looks tiny in there as well. Even the mighty and massive Sunbeam Tuniq Tower 120 fit inside with room to spare. There is no need to worry about which cooler you will be using, it goes without saying.
Wire management was a breeze and it took mere minutes to make it look like I spent hours on the install. Even a novice will have no problems making his first build look good. The slots were very well placed for effective routing.
Wiring up the hot swap SATA back-plate was also simple as pie. I really like this feature since it not only makes for a clean install, it also keeps the wiring neat and out of the way.
While there was nothing to attach the wiring to on the backside of the motherboard tray, there was plenty of room to store the extra wiring of my non-modular power supply and routing was a breeze.
Wrapping everything up took a few minutes and there were no clearance issues at all with the side panel.
While this was a nice case to work with and the build quality was equally good, I have a hard time recommending it due to the price point. There are so many good competitors whose prices are lower that are offering a lot more bang for the buck. The first complaint I have is the lack of included fans. A $200 case should come with a full complement of fans and they should be of better quality and much quieter than that’s here. I found myself distracted by the fan noise and strongly suggest changing them out if your case is close to your ears.
My next main beef was the poor quality edging on the wire slots. Even the slightest pressure caused the plastic grommets to pop off. I would really like to have seen rubber used here. The edges were not razor sharp so there was some consideration that the metal might be contacted, but the overall design gave me the impression of cheapness.
On a positive note, the fit and finish was excellent. All edges lined up nicely and there were no extra gaps anywhere. The side panels positively locked into place and lined up without extra effort. The front panel met the side an top panels with even gaps and the overall look was very good.
I really liked the glossy finish on the top panel and found it to be easy to clean even if it was something of a fingerprint magnet. The brushed aluminum sides were also of good quality and were surprisingly smudge-resistant. The handles really made it easy to remove and install them and the spring-loaded screws were a dream if you are like me and cannot find that screwdriver when you need it most.
As for an overall rating, I give this case a 7 out of 10. The price is too high for what you get in today’s market and there’s just no overlooking that. It is a good case – it just needs to be either cheaper or include more features. Since this is Zalman’s first release under $200, I don’t want to sound too negative, but when you consider the likes of the Antec 1200 and the NZXT Tempest, it’s hard to see someone choosing this.
- Fit and finish
- Excellent cable management
- Hot swap SATA bays
- Tons of room
- Lack of fans
- Too much plastic
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