Articles: Cases/PSU

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Closer Look

It has always been Zalman’s unique ability to create devices with an impressive appearance without sacrificing functionality, and the new case for HTPC systems doesn’t make an exception. It comes in a stylish black box that gives you a thorough description of what’s contained within:

There is a cute-looking case inside, which you can immediately classify as a HTPC case:

This is one of the largest cases of its type (the size is justifiable as you will learn shortly) and it may not be an easy task to pick up components to match. The HD160 is much taller than a typical receiver and will be the dominating component even in a midrange hi-fi system. Yes, there are hi-fi components of that size, but their pricing is usually not very moderate. Well, it’s up to the user who chooses the components of his/her particular system to decide if it’s good or bad, while we just state the fact that the dimensions of the case are not typical. As for the coloring, the Zalman HD160 exists in two color schemes, black and silvery. The case is made of aluminum and, as the result, is much lighter than it seems – an indisputable advantage. The front view is quite eye-pleasing:

A prominent feature of the front panel is the analog volume control knob which can be rarely seen even on specialized HTPC cases. It may be a superfluous feature, but some people will surely be glad to have it. The only problem is that the knob wobbles noticeably – we didn’t expect Zalman to be so neglectful of minor details. We hope this is just a problem of our test sample, though, and are sure the knob will be as stiff in the final version of the case as the controls in any other hi-fi equipment are.

The case stands on feet typical of hi-fi devices:

There are soft rings on the feet to prevent them from leaving scratches on expensive specialized stands.

The case is visually divided in two parts. Controls and indicators are on the left:

There is a display, Power and Reset buttons, power and HDD activity indicators here – just as in every other system case of that class. The optical drive’s tray is on the right, next to a set of interface connectors under a flap-down panel.

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