by Ryan Perry on April 20, 2011 in Mid-Tower
It’s been a good two-and-a-half years since we’ve taken a look at a Zalman chassis, so with the announcement of the ~$69 Z9 Plus, we were eager to get one in and see how it compared to the current fleet of sub-$100 offerings on the market. With that, let’s see what the Z9 Plus gives us aside from its good looks and focus on efficient airflow.
Coming in at just under $70 CAN/USD, the Z9 Plus does many things right for a mid-tower case in this price-range. It’s roomy enough to work in without feeling cramped; the hard dive mounting system is incredibly solid and the the temperature readout and fan controller on the front panel are nice touches.
There are enough free drive bays and areas for additional fans to allow for future expandability as well. There were also no rough edges meaning my hands came out in tact after completing the build. For those who want to take cooling to the next level, external water cooling is also possible.
The huge selling point in my opinion is the fact that the Z9 Plus is nearly silent. In fact, I can hear the GPU fan at idle over the case fans. In my opinion, the case isn’t too hard on the eyes either since it features the same black paint job inside and out and the Z-design on the front has grown on me.
The build quality worries me though seeing how some components did not line up properly and the fact that I could bend the 2.5″ drive mounting points by hand without any real effort.
There are also a couple of things that are missing on the case or simply do not make sense to me. There is no fan filter on the power supply and the PCI slot covers are not reusable. These are both features that I have seen on cases available at a lower price-point. Seeing how most enthusiasts keep track of their temperatures through software, maybe the front panel temperature readout could have been dropped in favor of these.
The Z9 Plus is a good case, don’t get me wrong. I simply cannot get past the build quality at this point but for the average user, it should provide most of what is needed to build a good performing yet quiet system.
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