Zalman GS1000 Plus Tower Case

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Product: Zalman GS1000 Plus Tower
Provided By: Zalman USA
Price: Find Lowest Price Online

 

Introduction:

It's been a little over a year since we looked at a case from Zalman.  In fact, the last case we looked at was the precursor to the case we have on the bench today - the GS1000 Plus.  Last August we looked at the GS1000 case and found the overall design and layout to be quite good, but it did lack in a few areas.  Today we are looking at the new and hopefully improved GS1000 Plus case.  This case supports up to E-ATX motherboards, has nice aluminum side panels and can support some of the longest PCIe graphics cards available.  It has pretty good ventilation, a bottom mounted PSU and supports six Hard Drives - 3 of which are hot-swap SATA.  This case is also tool-less and you'll only need a screwdriver to strap your PSU onto the PSU bracket and install your motherboard.  Once that is done, basic hardware swapping is easy as cake (pie is harder than you'd think).

GS1000+
  GS1000+ Box

 

First Look & Accessories:

Zalman is known first and foremost for their CPU coolers but also has a line of power supplies, water cooling products, cases as well as other accessories.  One thing I appreciate about Zalman is that they don't seem to release new products for the sake of launching new products.  Typically a new product addresses some lack in the previous product or a major enhancement that is worth doing.  Hopefully the same is true with the GS1000 Plus.

GS1000+ Front Side Profile
GS1000+ Front Side Profile
Rear Side Profile
Rear Side Profile

 

Just as with the GS1000, the Plus version arrived in a very large box that looked like it required a two-man lift to load into my pickup.  Thankfully, the box wasn't very heavy, but it certainly was bulky.  Inside the box, surrounded by Styrofoam and shrouded in a protective bag, the GS1000 Plus arrived safe and sound.  Inside the case in the PSU area was a white box with a few accessories as well as the case feet.

  Bundled Stuff
Bundled Stuff

 

As you can see in the image above the GS1000 Plus includes a 3.5" to 5.25" drive bay adapter for the old floppy drive, card reader or other 3.5" bay device.  Also pictured above is the standard bag of screws as well as an 8-pin to 4-pin x2 power cable.  This seems more like a PSU or motherboard accessory, but it's included regardless.  Also in the bag with the screws are a bunch of zip-ties for tying your cables out of the way.


Features:

This case is very similar to the GS1000 that we looked at previously, but we'll cover a few of the features on this upgraded version.  It is quite a nice design and the inclusion of a couple of 120mm fans for exhaust is a nice feature.  There is room for another three 120mm fans if required.

  • High Quality Luring Design - The case is finished with high gloss UV coating and the side panels are anodized and brushed aluminum for a high quality finish.
  • Top Vent for Intensified Cooling Performance - The airflow optimized Top Vent reduces turbulent air at the vent and expels hot air quickly, maintaining a cool and stable operating system.
  • Dedicated HDD Cooling Fan - The dedicated HDD fans in front of the case blow cool air through the hard disk keeping the HDDs’ temperature to a minimum and reducing high temperature related errors for a stable operating system.
  • Hot-Swap Enabled Front Loading HDD - The HDD Mount Tray supports Hot-Swap for easy HDD installation and removal, while the rubber dampers prevent HDD vibration.
  • Tool-Free Enabled HDD Installation - The Tool-Free HDD Mount Trays allow easy HDD installation/ removal and maintenance.
  • PSU Roller Rails for Easy Installation - The PSU is mounted on the bottom of the case and roller rails enable smooth easy installation of the PSU.
  • Optimized Sound/Vibration Insulating Design - Patented optimization technology minimizes noise while enhancing cooling performance. Vibration absorbing pads on the top and bottom of the chassis prevent side panel vibration.
  • Cable Compartment for Neat Cable Management - The Cable Compartment enables tidy cable management and unimpeded airflow for stable system operation.
  • Convenient Peripheral Connection Ports - On top of the case 2 USB, 1 e-SATA, 1 headphones, and 1 microphone ports are provided enabling users to connect various peripherals.
  • Tube Apertures for Liquid Cooling Systems - Tube apertures are provided at the rear of the case for convenient water cooling set-up and maintenance.
  • Expandability Supporting Up To E-ATX Sized Motherboards - Micro ATX, Standard ATX, E-ATX motherboards, and various cards up to 350mm may be installed.
  • One Touch Hard Disk Door Cover - The HDD Door Cover, opened by pressing the cover, provides easy access to the HDDs or the Dedicated HDD Cooling Fans.
  • Hand-Screw ODD Installation - Tool free installation makes adding ODDs easier and the screws are designed to stay in place, preventing loss.
  • Hand-Screw PCI Slots - Various PCI cards can be installed tool-free and secured by hand screws.
  • Nickel Coated PCI Card Holder - The PCI Card Holder is nickel plated for corrosion-free long-term use.
  • Vibration Absorbing Feet - The Case Stands have rubber dampers that eliminate vibration and protect the system from water spills or other liquids that can harm the system.

 

Specifications:

Enclosure Type Full Tower
Dimensions 260(W) x 570(H) x 640(D) mm (Feet included)
Weight 13.5kg
Material Aluminum / ABS / Steel
Motherboard Compatibility E-ATX / Standard ATX / microATX
Power Supply Compatibility Standard ATX / ATX12V
PCI/AGP Card Compatibility Full Size
5.25" Bays x 4 (2 can serve as 3.5")
3.5" Bays x 6 (3 support Hot Swap, 3 are optional)
Cooling Components (Fans) Top Vent: 120mm Fan Vent x 2 (1 Fan included, 1 optional)
Front Vent: 92mm Fan Vent x 2 (2 Fans included)
Rear Vent: 120mm Fan Vent x 1 (1 Fan included)
Bottom Vent: 120mm Fan Vent x 2 (Fans optional)
Expansion Card Slots 7 Slots (Tool Free Bolts provided)
Front I/O Ports USB Port x 2, e-SATA Port x 1, Headphones x 1, Mic x 1
Available Color Black

 

Closer Look:

As we start looking at this case closer, I'll remind you to check out some of the pictures and features from the original GS1000 review over here as we are no repeating some of the same things with this review.  Both cases are very similar but we'll point out a few differences as we go along.

 

 Rear View
Rear View
Side Empty
Side Empty

 

The main construction of the rear of the case is identical to the GS1000, but the Plus version has vented PCI slot covers that are nickel plated for even more bling.  The PSU mounts at the bottom of the case and has rollers that allow it to slide in easily.  There is a single 120mm fan at the rear of the case for exhaust ventilation and a couple of rubber grommet-laden holes for hoses to pass through if you're running some external water cooling.

The inside of the case is very similar to the GS1000 as well and there are holes in the motherboard tray for cables to pass through that aid in cable management.

Hot Swap Back
Hot Swap Back
Top Ports
Top Ports

 

This case can support a total of six 3.5" hard drives, but only three can be plugged into the handy how-swap bays at the bottom of the case.  I wish the Plus version had all six drives hot-swap enabled, but alas, it is not to be.  At the top of the case is a cover that flips back to reveal front audio, USB2.0 ports x2 and an eSATA port.  Along with thumbscrews for the 5.25" bays, that pretty much wraps up the storage portion of this case.


 

System Installation:

Although the GS1000 Plus from Zalman doesn't have a removable motherboard tray (neither does the GS1000), there is still plenty of room to work inside this case. The layout of the case and drives is quite good and with the hard drives sliding in from the front, and the three bays are actually below the motherboard - there will not be any issues installing long cards in this case.  There is ample room between the motherboard and the front drive racks to support even the longest graphics cards available today.

 Inside Front
Inside Front
Hot Swap HDD Lights
Hot Swap HDD Lights

 

There are a few cases now that place the PSU at the bottom of the chassis, there are several reasons for this and some designs are implemented better than others.  Zalman has include a plate the attaches to your PSU and then the PSU can be slid in on a couple of rollers.  Traditional thumbscrews are used to keep it in place.  It works very well, and there is even a folding handle that allows you to grab on and remove the PSU easily.


 PSU Inbound
PSU Inbound
 PSU Installed
PSU Installed

  * Identical installation to GS1000

With the PSU in place, the cables can be routed through the provided holes in the motherboard tray and this helps keep them out of sight and out of the way.  If you have a motherboard with a rear-mounted 24-pin connector, this may not work, but most motherboards today have the main power connector located at the top right corner and this makes for a nice tidy system - even with a lot of drives, fans and temperature probes.  You can see in the picture below that there is a lot of room between the end of the GTX 260 and the front of the case.  This is good news for all of you graphics card junkies.

 System Installed
System Installed

 

The GS1000 Plus is a nice update to the first "cheap" Zalman case - the GS1000.  The GS1000 Plus is done right and includes thumbscrews for Side Panels, Optical Drives, PCI slots and PSU removal.  You'll need a screwdriver to mount the motherboard and the PSU to the bracket, but other than that it's tool-less.  There is a single power button located at the top middle of the front bezel - giving the case a cycloptic appearance in low light.  There is neither a reset button present nor HDD activity LEDs.  The Hot-Swap bays provide steady LED indicators when the drives are installed, but don't indicate drive activity - just like the GS1000.  A couple things that Zalman has improved upon is the Hard Drive cooling and anti-vibration feet - nothing drastic, but nice improvements regardless.

 

Final Thoughts:

Elegence Overall, I'm pretty happy with the GS1000 Plus case from Zalman.  It is listed online for about $200, but is worth the money in my opinion if you're looking for a roomy case with good looks, hot-swap Hard Drives, and a very professional appearance.  Zalman has tweaked the GS1000 into the "Plus" version that offers better noise control in several areas while providing better cooling and ventilation to your hardware.  It's not a ground breaking upgrade over the GS1000, but it's a nice upgrade regardless.

Pros:

  • Sleek design with aluminum frame and side panels
  • Externally accessible HDDs
  • Three hot-swap SATA bays
  • Support for six HDDs
  • Ample room for installation and long graphics cards
  • Non-removable thumbscrews on side panels and ODD bays
  • Excellent cable management
  • Dust filters on intake HDD fans

 

Cons:

  • It's a $200 case that many people will pass over for something cheaper

 

You may feel that this case is expensive at $200 for a aluminum/plastic case mix, but I feel that the value is well deserved as the hot-swap option is worth the extra money.  If you were to buy three 5.25" - 3.5" Hot Swap SATA racks, you'd easily be spending $30 each.  Zalman now offers the extra Hot-Swap backplane as an available option.  Six Hot-Swap 2TB drives would be sweet (12TB of Hot-Swap Goodness).

BCCRating


I'd like to thank Zalman USA for sending this case over for us to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please head on over and post those in the forum at the "Comments" link below.