The well-known maker of cooling systems Zalman actually offers a broad range of products including system cases. We tested a couple of them before and now we have the opportunity to check out the MS1000-HS2.
Like its predecessors, this system case does not look fanciful. Its appearance is functional and sober. The rounded plastic grooves going along the edges are the only piece of decoration here. By the way, Zalman put its preference to aluminum alloys aside and returned to steel in this model. As a result, the MS1000-HS2 weighs as much as 12 kilos. The assembled computer is going to be heavy, but there should be no problems with rigidity.
The side panels are blank and very thick, being not just a sheet of metal but a multilayer sandwich of materials. One layer is for noise insulation. There are handles at the back of the panels for taking them off the chassis easily.
The buttons and connectors can be found on the top panel. The Power button is in the open while the Reset button and I/O connectors are hidden under a neat cover. There are one eSATA, two audio connectors and two USB ports here. The USB ports are placed close to each other, so you may have problems plugging in two thick flash drives simultaneously.
Most of the top panel is a vent grid.
Shifting it aside, we can see two seats for 120 or 140mm fans. The basic configuration includes only one 120mm fan (ZM1225ASL) with a 4-pin power connector and a rated speed of 1200 RPM. Unfortunately, there is no protection against dust, but you can install ordinary mesh filters if necessary.
Like the case from Cooler Master, this one positions the power supply at the bottom. This design is becoming more and more popular, by the way. There are also two openings for the pipes of a liquid cooling system and a fan grid. A 120mm fan can be seen behind the grid.
The expansion cards and mounting brackets are fastened with an external bar. This helps to save an extra centimeter of space inside the chassis (there is always enough space behind the system case due to the various connectors and cables), but it is not very easy to install expansion cards if there are too many of them in the computer. The default expansion-slot brackets are fastened with ordinary screws.
The system case stands on two robust plastic supports included into the box. The plastic is hard, so you shouldn’t have any fears about them unless you are going to jump on your computer. The soft rubber pads protect against vibrations.
If you don’t like these feet for some reason, the system case would stand well enough without them, but the vent in the bottom panel would be blocked then. It is good that there is a dust filter (a mesh behind the plastic frame), but the system case will have to be turned upside down in order to clean it.
Power supplies with horizontal fans are not forgotten: there are two sets of screw holes for them in the back panel and a special groove in the back support for the air to arrive to the PSU’s fan.
If you’ve got a short PSU, you can install an additional fan on the bottom panel. There is a seat for a 120 or 140mm model there.
Inside the chassis there is a solid rack for 5.25-inch devices. There is a plastic trim on the edges near the side panel (the rest of the edges do not have it). The mainboard’s mounting plate is reinforced with stiffness ribs. And there is obviously a compartment behind the mainboard to hide cables in.
The opportunity to hide cables is usually considered an advantage for any system case, but we are not so sure about this one. The compartment is just too narrow. Thick cables can only be hidden behind the HDD rack, preferably in one layer. And hiding unconnected power cables is quite a problem. There are no holes at the top part of the mainboard’s mounting plate as if the developers forgot about the 12V CPU power cable which is usually located in this zone of the mainboard (but they do remember about it judging by the extension cable included into the kit).