Zalman Z7 Plus
We have reviewed Zalman system cases before, but those were expensive products. Let’s see if Zalman is competitive in the lower market sector with its Z7 Plus model.
The exterior design seems to resemble something. For example, it resembles the Cooler Master USP 100 (discussed earlier in this review) due to the plastic frame enveloping the front panel. The excrescence with fan at the back of the side panel distinguishes this model from its opponents, yet its design is generally similar to that of other products with a meshed front panel. The Z7 Plus is a good representative of this new generation of system cases designed for gamers. It is a practical rather than a beautiful product.
You can see a large Power button with two LEDs on its sides. All of the system case connectors and the Reset button are hidden by a flip-down cover. We’ve got a standard set of connectors here: two audio ones, two USB ports, and one eSATA. The USB ports are too close to each other, making it impossible to plug two thick flash drives in simultaneously.
The Z7 Plus has a top PSU bay. There are two rubberized openings for the pipes of a liquid cooling system and a seat for an 80, 92 or 120mm fan. A 120mm fan occupies that seat by default.
Sturdy feet seem to be a characteristic trait of every system case in this review. The Zalman Z7 Plus has four square feet in the corners of the bottom panel, each with a small vibration-absorbing pad.
The side panel has two universal (80 to 140 millimeters) fan seats next to which you can see a small controller for changing the speed of two connected fans. The control itself is in the side panel of the case. One fan was preinstalled while the other lay in the system case in a small cardboard box. This is rather perplexing because the rest of the seats are occupied by fans already, so this fan cannot go anywhere other than to the side panel.
We see a large front rack again. It is a single-piece thing from top to bottom. The metal is 0.6 millimeters thick, which is enough with so many stiffness ribs, but the side panels are wobbly and might be thicker.
The back-panel brackets are not reusable in this system case. Expansion cards are secured either with screws or with small plastic locks.
5-inch devices are fastened with plastic holders which we already saw in our Zalman MS1000-HS2 review.
There is a guide with a faceplate in the bottom 5-inch bay. You can install an external 3.5-inch device or an internal 2.5-inch device, e.g. a solid state drive, into it.
A detachable cage is offered for hard disk drives. HDDs are installed into it using small vibration-absorbing pads. The whole cage is cooled by one 120mm fan which is somewhat smaller, so the top and bottom HDDs are going to have less air flow than the others.
We had no problems assembling our configuration in this system case but had to do something about the heap of cables. We tucked it into the top right corner, in front of the PSU.
The distance from the back panel to the drives rack is 300 millimeters, so the Z7 Plus can accommodate any graphics card. You’ll have to uninstall one or two HDDs if the graphics card is indeed so long, though. Without uninstalling any HDDs you can only put in a graphics card of 260 millimeters or shorter.
This system case has blue highlighting of the front-panel fan and a blue word Zalman at the top. Your guests will hardly need to ask you what brand your system case is.