The name of Zalman is widely known on the market of computer components. The company is mostly recognized as a maker of CPU and GPU coolers, including liquid cooling solutions. It is quiet and efficient coolers that made the company’s name a few years ago. We don’t have to look far for examples because our test configuration for system case reviews includes Zalman’s CPU cooler CNPS9500 AT. However, today’s Zalman is not only about coolers. The company offers a broad range of innovative and original products such as the stereo-monitor Trimon ZM-M220W, multi-channel headphones ZM-RS6F, and power supplies (e.g. the quiet and high-wattage ZM850-HP).
In this review we will be talking about Zalman’s system cases. Some time ago we tested Zalman’s HD160XT, a system case for HTPCs, and today we will take a look at a couple of traditional desktop “towers”.
We will start out with the Zalman GS1000, a big – perhaps even huge – system case of the full-tower form-factor. It comes in two variants: all black (like our sample) or black-and-gray (“titan”).
The system case has a restrained exterior design but is not a classic rectangular box. Far from being angular, it has rounded-off edges.
As a result, the GS1000 has some elegance of shape as far as this term can be applied to system cases of such a huge size. Take note that the side panels seem to go into the front one, which looks original and beautiful.
This design is made possible by the organic use of steel, plastic and aluminum. The main chassis is steel. The external details (such as the top panel and the exterior of the front panel) are plastic. The sides are anodized aluminum with characteristic finish. The only thing we don’t like is the combination of glossy plastic and textured aluminum. The developer should have made all the case either glossy or matte.
The GS1000 is supposed to stand on the floor as is indicated by the lack of a side window and the position of the Power button at the very top of the front panel. The rim of the button is a Power indicator. A Reset button is missing.
I/O connectors can be found under a movable cover on the top panel. You will not have to bend down to reach them.
These are two audio connectors, two USB ports and one IEEE1394 connector. It’s a shame the developer offers FireWire instead of eSATA which is getting more and more popular. The USB ports are too close to each other. You won’t be above to plug two wide devices in simultaneously.
The top panel is an interesting thing, too. There is a protruding covering at its back with vent holes below. Judging by the size of the covering, there must be two 120mm fans below it.
The back panel is far from standard, too. Following the current trends, the power supply compartment is at the bottom of the case, so the mainboard’s I/O connectors and expansion slots are somewhat higher than usual. Then, the vent holes of the above-mentioned covering open to the back panel, too. And finally, there is a 120mm Zalman fan here (running a little ahead, we can tell you that both system cases employ Zalman’s own fans: 120mm ZM-F3 and 92mm ZM-F2 models). A vent grid occupies the rest of the back panel. There are also two rubberized openings for the pipes of a liquid cooling system if you want to install one.