So, what are the winning aspects of the TNN500A system case from Zalman? I think they are the following:
- Its quietness is very close to the ideal; the only sounds you may hear from the system are those of the hard disk drives and optical drives;
- Excellent CPU cooling. The Pentium 4 overclocked to 3.6GHz is much hotter than Pentium 4 3.2GHz and Athlon 64 3400+ that Zalman recommends using in the TNN500A. However, this system case had no problems with my processor at all;
- Impressive looks – you can’t mistake the TNN500A for an ordinary system case;
- Highest reliability. The system can go on working for a small eternity. The TNN500A has no fans, so you avoid problems caused by fans stopping or catching cables or anything else into their blades. The system doesn’t run dust through itself, unlike ordinary cases.
The disadvantages of the TNN500 may outnumber its advantages, though:
- Price. Price matters. With all its advantages, you may not want to pay about as much as $1000 for an empty computer case;
- You don’t get a full set of heat pipes for any mainboards and graphics cards. Giving away such a sum of money, I wouldn’t like to learn that the enclosed heat pipes don’t suit to my mainboard or graphics card and I have to purchase them separately. Then, if you find that the North Bridge becomes too hot, you will also have to buy the heat pipes and fastenings for the chipset’s North Bridge independently;
- Problems with installation of graphics cards and other expansion cards. You have to unscrew the vertical bar those cards are fastened to and then put it back after the installation. You also should be very careful about cards with open-die GPUs (RADEON 9600/9700/9800 and others) – you may accidentally damage the die installing the heat pipes;
- Problems with cooling of the memory chips on powerful graphics cards. The TNN500A handles the graphics processor well enough, as I used a more powerful card (RADEON X800 Pro) in my tests than is recommended by the manufacturer. But the memory chips are left unattended, and the graphics card may lose stability due to memory chips overheat;
- Low-power PSU. It’s rather unreasonable to buy a case of that category to build a weak or a mainstream system, but the TNN500A’s PSU may be not enough for a high-performance (i.e. power-hungry) system. You can purchase a better PSU with power factor correction separately, of course, but this doesn’t seem right after you have already shelled out for the TNN500A the cost of several standard system cases!