Building our box
Speaking of hard drives; how much would it cost to throw in a couple of 10-15cm SATA cables and maybe a short IDE cable too? The optical and hard drive cages are sat right next to the motherboard making the usual 30cm cables add to the already considerable mess. Both cages are removable though and held in with a single, easy to access screw at the top.
What Zalman does manage to understand and include is noise reduction—something that you could say is in its blood.
The hard drives are mounted on anti-vibration rubber grommets to isolate them, but the fans unfortunately aren’t given the same treatment. The Zalman branded fans are low noise, well, at least when used with the 5v fan adapters, for which there are enough for all four fans. Again, a bit more cable mess, but at least it’s quite a neat solution that can be tucked away anywhere, and a single Molex can either power two at 5V or two at 12V.
We still prefer Antec’s solution where all the fans are pre-routed to switches at the back with low, medium and high settings allowing a quick change in fan speed without having to re-organise a ton of cables. Give the fans are pre-installed Zalman could do this, however it’s not really within the design ethos of the case – like before it’s more of a “setup and forget”.
While there may look like there are four fan spots on the case sides only the one cooling the hard drives actually has screw holes – the rest are just, well... holes. There’s the usual two 80mm in the back but weirdly a slim 80mm in the floor as well – we can’t quite work this one out – it sits behind the PSU and vents air out into the floor? The only conclusion we can muster is that it’s a bit of a dead spot, given that the PSU faces outwards and sucks air directly from outside the case.
We chose to use a 600W Ultra X3 PSU because the colour of the unit and cables perfectly matches the chassis style. In addition, it’s completely modular with various cable lengths so you can really tailor it to minimise the impact on the already considerable cable cluster.
Once installed, the 7” LCD VGA connection is then looped back and plugged into an available slot – since virtually every full height graphics card and even motherboard with integrated graphics has a pair of outputs there should be at least one spare.