Zalman company over the last 5 years, significantly expanded its range of computer cases their production. With model Zalman Z9 Plus, we met in 2011, and more recently Korean manufacturer has released an updated model of Zalman Z9 Neo White, and that came to us for testing. Interestingly, in contrast to the Z11 model, where the similarity between the versions Plus and Neo is visible to the naked eye, the Z9 updated Neo and design, and construction of the chassis feels like a completely new, independent development.
By its dimensions Zalman Z9 Neo White refers to the still most popular category miditower, it involves the installation of motherboards ATX format, microATX and Mini-ITX, as well as graphics cards up to 420 mm inclusive. The case comes in two color options – black (Zalman Z9 Neo) and almost completely white (Zalman Z9 Neo White). We got more unusual white version. Regardless of the color body at its left side wall of the box is a large acrylic darkened slightly. From the same material frame is made detachable in the top wall, which can be removed if necessary to give more freedom to pass through the wall of the air flow.
Supplied in housing usual cardboard box with slits at the sides for easy carrying. The package in addition to the body and a rich cooling system, which will be discussed in the relevant section, includes a set of mounting screws, cable ties and some disposable assembly instructions in the form of a small book A5. In this case, the instruction is not contained in this section in Russian, and in general to call it more can not be that many operations (eg, installation of hard drives in the 5-inch bay and installing radiator liquid cooling system) are not reflected in it, as well as the full body specification – you can find it on the box.
As we have already noted, this model applies to miditower category. According to the internal layout of the housing Zalman largely follows another recently visited we tested housing – Deepcool Dukase.
Its internal volume is also divided into two parts: a small lower part is designed to accommodate the power supply and two full baskets the HDD, the top is the basis for the installation of the motherboard, the universal bays 5.25 “with outside access devices that can also be used for the installation of 3.5 “and 2.5” drives. Two noutbuchnogo disc format can be fastened to the inner wall at the site just below the five-inch bays.
All the space in the middle of the hull is left free so as not to interfere with the installation of two or even three cards length of 420 mm each. Thus, Zalman Z9 Neo White can claim to be a good basis for building a gaming system and advanced working station, which is facilitated by 7 slots for expansion cards and the ability to install up to 6 disk drives, 4 of which can be full-size, capacious HDD.
Body dimensions – 490 × 205 × 482 mm (H × W × D), including protruding parts.
It weighs body relatively small – only 5.9 kg. Its side walls are made of high quality steel of 0.7 mm thick, which is not true of all the internal chassis components. For the most part they used steel 0.6 mm thick, and this has a significant impact on their strength and resistance to deflection. Also, adjustments to the weight and size ratio Zalman Z9 Neo White makes a large acrylic insert on the left side of the body and the cover, made of plastic. Fortunately, the strength of the hull is sufficient to ensure that during operation there were no rattles and other extraneous overtones.
Front panel Zalman Z9 Neo White fully covered by a plastic door, the outer side of which is decorated (and enhances) steel plate, painted in high-gloss white. The door opened a little more than 90 degrees. On its inner side is installed soundproof lining of a soft, rubber-like material. In the closed position of the door holds the pair of powerful magnets, and for the convenience of opening small cutout is provided in the upper part.
Open the door only need to gain access to the optical drive, or other device with the same dimensions, that is, in fact, have to do it very rarely. All ports, buttons and indicators are brought to the edge of the upper wall of the body, while the power button is located on the sloping end, which makes it more comfortable to press both at the floor, and when placed on a desktop.
The power button is large, square-shaped, it has a great course and works with a pleasant click. The reset button is noticeably to the right, it is much smaller in size, it has a circular shape and a pleasant trip mechanism. As the Power LED diode serves thin frame power button, it is almost uniformly and fairly strongly highlighted in blue. The solution with the diode HDD LED somewhat strange: in the presence of disk activity lower right corner of the scope of the power button is further highlighted in red, which looks ugly and very short-sighted.
Additional sources of blue luminescence in the case are 2 case fans on the top panel. The light from them passes partially through the top and the back wall, as well as the good illuminates the entire area, which offers acrylic viewing window on the left side wall. The whole body lights is not disconnected, and therefore leave the computer running for the night somewhere in the bedroom is not the best idea.
two standard 3.5mm jack is provided for connecting the microphone and headphone jacks, which are located to the right of just four USB-ports, two USB 3.0 and two classic USB 2.0. Ports are located close enough to each other so that both can be set to be only two large-size devices. It is worth noting that all four port version of “out of the box” are protected from dust and other troubles in small rubber plugs. Plugs not attached to the body and, very likely, be safely lost after the first use of the port for its intended purpose.
The upper panel of the housing is made of plastic and is removable. On the side faces of the panel has a small ventilation slots. Additional holes for the hot air outlet are provided in the center of the top panel, but by default they are closed acrylic frame, which can be hook and quickly removed from the housing.
The right side wall completely blank, without ridges and vents. In the center of the left wall is a large window of the darkened acrylic, through which will be visible to all of the CPU cooler and graphics accelerators. Note that quality acrylic mounted on a steel wall joint on the reverse side is made carefully, without the use of glue.
The rear wall of the housing is not remarkable, there is a cutout for the basic I / O ports and power supply, stamped grille case fans, and as additional ventilation holes are perforated plug slots for expansion cards, and a rectangular area to the right of them.
It should Zalman Z9 Neo White sufficiently high legs made of plastic. To cushion the apply small pad of porous material slightly more than 2 mm thick. On the flat surface of the body is confident when interacting with a door, an optical drive and USB-ports from the place does not move.
Housing neatly and accurately paint coating for steel and for plastic matte, slightly rough. The only glossy element – the outer side of the front door, she just quickly covered with fingerprints, but on a white background they are still hardly visible.
In general, the body design looks finished and concise. Of course, the acrylic window and fans interested in backlit primarily gamers and PC enthusiasts, but in this particular case, these elements are made not so much “shouting” and causes to scare off a more conservative audience.
Zalman Z9 Neo White provides installation 5 case fans that modern format housing miditower quite familiar. Where less accustomed to seeing all 5 fans going at once in the package, with 2 of them even with the backlight.
Two seats for installing the fan size 120 or 140 mm are located on the front of the chassis, directly behind the plastic front panel. Complete fans have a size of 120 mm and are not highlighted in the process. If desired, they can be moved slightly up or down, depending on which requires more cooling: hard disks, or video card.
Two seats for 120mm fans arranged on top of the chassis, and a plastic plate. At this place the manufacturer installed fans with a transparent body, and not disconnected blue backlight.
The last seat for size 120 mm fan on the rear wall of the housing. Then set the same fan, as well as on the front side, but with a different connector rear fan connects to the system board 3-pin connector, and all the rest – to the power supply via a 4-pin peripheral connector, better known as the molex. These connectors are through, and it is theoretically possible to connect them to each other and connected to a single power supply connector. In practice, the pins are held in sockets not firmly and evenly, so join and connect them is very difficult without problems.
If desired, the fans on the top or on the front wall can be replaced by a 240mm radiator liquid cooling system.
For protection against dust case two dust filter is applied, one on the bottom wall and one in the front. Filter on the lower wall is quick, it protects from dust fan power supply. The mesh of the filter has a very small cell size, so that the filter has to work really efficiently.
The second filter is not so well executed. To access it, you need to remove the front plastic panel and then “pick out” the filter screen of the eight hooks. This process is not very long, but it would definitely be easier to frame or magnetic mount. Moreover, the filter mesh is much larger, the hole having a diameter slightly larger millimeter, and the fine dust does not stop it.
Overall, however, the cooling system Zalman Z9 Neo White special raises no objections, the more that the body belongs to the average person the price category in which manufacturers often save on the fans and dust filters considerably stronger.
Both side panels are fixed thumbscrew. Despite the relatively small thickness of the steel used, the sliding and reclining mechanism by rolling a rectangular, the walls simply removed and put back in the upright position even housing.
The plug for the rear I / O ports are traditionally absent, and rack mount system board screwed in at the factory only for ATX format motherboards and Mini-ITX. In the case of a microATX-solutions require additional install two or three racks supplied.
optical drive mounting system is a classic – a spiral. The plastic front panel is first necessary to dismantle by pulling the notch at the bottom. Latches moderately hard and rather short, allowing removal process is quick and without any risk of damage to the plastic mounting. Note that the panel is electrically connected with the ports and keys, and thus simply detach it and remove it does not turn in the direction, which is very inconvenient.
Also, before you install the drive you want to remove the plastic cap fixed by the expense of small props, and break down the steel cap on the chassis. After that set her back has not come out. Sam is a simple plant in the corresponding hole through the front wall and is fixed with 4 screws by a Phillips screwdriver.
If necessary, each of the two trays for 5.25 “devices can be used to install a full-size HDD, and drive noutbuchnogo format. To do this, you need to disassemble the tray, by unscrewing two screws on the front and one on the right wall of the chassis, and then fix it on the drive with 4 screws through the holes on the bottom of the disk. The process is not very fast and convenient, but it turns out the most reliable fixation, and the heat from the working HDD to be transferred to the steel chassis.
The basic basket for a 3.5 “drive located in the lower part of the body, can only be accessed after removing the right-hand wall of the housing. Shopping double, quick drives set in plastic trays. If you are installing a full-length HDD fixing screws is not required, the tray just “pulled” on the disc and hold it by 4 plastic pins. The tray is securely seated on the disc, and quickly installed and removed from the body, that’s just the quality of fixation of the tray in the basket leaves much to be desired: a strong backlash occurs in both horizontal and vertical.
These trays can be used to install a 2.5 “drive, but with the use of screws. Two seats for SSD arranged directly on the inner wall of the chassis in a 5-inch drive bay is accessible from outside. No trays and compartments is not provided, just in the wall there are 8 holes, through which it is possible to fasten two drives.
Each of the seven expansion slots plugs fixed one thumbscrew. Unfortunately, the quality of the thread on this element does not allow the chassis with screws without using a screwdriver, so not much point in plastic “lamb” in this case.
The recess for mounting the power supply unit provided on the underside of a shock, and on the right (when viewed from the rear) wall. To secure the PSU, you can use the 4 thumbscrews supplied. Technically, the body provides a two-way power supply unit, but in practice it makes sense to set it down just a fan.
USB and audio ports on the front panel are connected to the system board monolithic blocks, the standard supported type headphones and a microphone – only HDA without backward compatibility with AC’97. The buttons and indicators are designed as a single flat cables with connectors at the end of the heap.
Zalman Z9 Neo White provides enough deep space between the substrate of the motherboard and right side wall that allows you to easily concealed place where all or almost all power and signal cables. For fixing the wires can be used as a complete one-off ties and Velcro fasteners on the installed by the manufacturer at the factory. For cables in places the bulk of the housing is provided with a plurality of holes defined therein “flaps” of soft rubber.
The process of assembling the PC in this case does not cause any difficulties, but little criticism to the various elements still there. Specifically, the body looks better from the outside and they are pleasant to use then you take a direct part in the installation and connection of all components.
Noise measurement is carried out in accordance with our method using a sound level meter Octave Eco-110A in a soundproof room with a typical noise level of 20 dBA. During the measurement, all appliances in the room are turned off.
To control the fan voltage supply used independently controlled converter.
Hull performance cooling fan depending on the supply voltage varies over a wide range, indicating that the use of fans with a sufficiently high speed. Subjectively, this parameter allows to evaluate the noise level that is in the range of 24 to 41 dBA at a front panel is removed and the supply voltage from 5 to 12 V.
The assembled body cooling system noise level varies from 21 to 35 dBA at the microphone arrangement in the near field. Typically, the range of voltage regulation 7-11 The noise varies from the lowest low (26 dBA) to medium (33 dBA) levels relative to typical values for premises in the daytime. When working at a computer similar to the noise level can be considered quite comfortable.
At greater distances from the user’s body and placing it, for example, on the floor under the table, the noise can be described as minimally noticeable when powered by the fans 5, and when powered by 12 – reduced to a dwelling in the daytime.