FC-ZE1 Fatal1ty Aluminum Case - Up Close and Personal - Inside

Article Index
FC-ZE1 Fatal1ty Aluminum Case
Up Close and Personal - Outside
Up Close and Personal - Inside
System Installation and Issues
Airflow Performance and Conclusion

Closer Look - Inside:

As we open up the door on this case we realize that Zalman has used a very nice hinge and latch on the door, but the door cannot be (easily) removed for hardware installation.

Door Open
Door Open

The case has plenty of room to work in, and ships with the nine standard motherboard standoffs installed.  The hard drive rack is mounted sideways as is becoming popular.  As you can see in the picture above, the door swings back a full 90 degrees, and even manages about 110 degrees if you push it.  As nice as the hinge is, it is a pain to install hardware while the case is standing upright, and when you lay the case on its side and let the heavy door lay open, it feels as though you could rip it off of its hinges.  The Zalman manual states that you are to lay it on its side with the door open.  In this position, a small nudge on the door could cause damage.  The last thing I want to do is break a $380 case before I've had it a week.

The 5.25" bays are not tool-less at all, and require the removal of six Allen headed screws on the right side as well as two Phillips screws for the drive cover.  You will then need four screws to hold the optical drive in place.  This prevents vibration of loose tool-less drive rails, but could have been designed better.  The six screw removal of the right panel is a pain if you are in your case to swap out 5.25" devices very often.

The front 3.5" bay will also require right panel removal and a couple of screw to release the cover and four more to secure your 3.5" device.  Hard Disk Drive installation is a snap thanks to the rubber roller and foam sides on the drive bays.  The drives slides into place and the rubber roller drops in behind to keep in immobile.  A screw can be used to lock it securely so it won't fall out as you pack it to a LAN.

Inside Front
 Inside Front

Inside Back
Inside Back

The inside back of the case looks very clean but is also a bit troubling.  There are seven expansion slots - which is pretty standard, but the slot covers are the snap off type and there are no included replacement slot covers.  If you move a card around after removing one cover, you will have a hole with no cover to fill it up.  That is a pretty cheap feature for such a pricey case.  Zalman should at least include spare slot covers.  I believe that they should also use removable slot covers and provide thumbscrews for each cover.  This would greatly improve my opinion of the back side of this case.

Pre-Installation Thoughts:

As you have no doubt noticed, the outside of the case is littered with laser etched logos.  While these look cool at first glance, looking at these for a time makes you realize that you have purchased some else's custom modded case - not your own.  While I think some of the "warning labels" are cool - the whole Falal1ty thing is a bit overdone.  That being said, if you didn't want all the logos, you shouldn't have bought it in the first place.  Below are some (not all) of the logos on this case.

Laser Etched Madnes
Laser Etched Madness

Next up, we start to install some gear.