The new system case from Zalman, the TNN500AF model, beats its precursor, the TNN500A, in every respect. The new system is more efficient, functional and easier to assemble and use. The exterior of the new case hasn’t changed much, but the minor retouching of the front and rear panels have certainly added some more beauty to it.
The redesigned CPU cooling system doesn’t require that you buy longer heat pipes if the CPU socket is located inconveniently, while the graphics card cooling system has just become more efficient. The chipset cooling kit, new in the TNN500AF, is good, but 1) sometimes it’s not easily installed, and 2) the original chipset heatsink cannot be removed on some mainboards.
The vent holes in the case’s panels are grouped in such a way that you can install low-speed 120- or 92mm fans there. You may want to install an additional fan (or fans) into the TNN500AF if you’ve got a powerful disc array or several “hot” PCI cards (like a TV/FM tuner, network card, video capture card and so on).
The remote control system should please those users who use their computers as multimedia centers. If you’re not one, you can just use it to turn the system on and off remotely.
I only found two faults with the Zalman TNN500AF. The first comes from the main advantage of the system – the lack of coolers and noise. The transistors of the CPU power regulator may heat up to critical temperatures when there’re completely no airflows inside the system case. By the way, owners of water-cooling solutions often face this problem, too. You can solve it by installing a heatsink on the power transistors or setting a low-speed fan to blow at them.
The second displeasing factor is going to be the price. Well, it is not officially announced yet, but I don’t think the TNN500AF will cost less than the TNN500A. That’s a real pity – the Zalman TN500AF system case has much more appeal than its predecessor.