Zalman GS1000 Tower Case - System Installation and Final Thoughts

Article Index
Zalman GS1000 Tower Case
Case Features, Specs and Closer Look
Closer Look Inside
System Installation and Final Thoughts

System Installation:

Although the GS1000 from Zalman doesn't have a removable motherboard tray, there is plenty of room to work inside this case and it really isn't a problem.  Because the hard drives slide in from the front and the optical drives are above the PCIe slots of the motherboard, installing long graphics cards won't be a problem.  There is ample room between the motherboard and the front drive racks to support even the longest graphics cards available today.

Board Installed
Board Installed

 

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

 

With the PSU in place, the cables can be routed through the provide holes in the extended motherboard tray which keeps them out of sight and out of the way.  The only issue with this bottom-mounted PSU and some motherboards becomes the location of the 24-pin power connector.  Many new motherboards have this located to the right of the DDR slots, but our test board - the ASRock A770 Crossfire has the power connector located at the top left of the board and this can cause some cabling issues.  This isn't really a fault with the case, the length of the PSU cables or the motherboard specifically.  It's just something that needs to be observed if you want to maximize the cable management.

Cables Done
Cables Done

 

The GS1000 is Zalman's first "Cheap" full tower case.  This is the successor to their original TNN (Totally No Noise) cases that were super expensive as well as their premium GT series.  The GS1000 is a pretty well finished product 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.

Front & Back Running
Front & Back Running

 

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the GS1000 case from Zalman.  It comes in about half the price of the GT1000 and has improved upon several issues that we discovered with the previous case.  Zalman has included PCI slot covers, thumbscrews and a great cable management system in this unit.  They have also provided great vibration absorbing HDD racks.  Better still, half of these racks include hot-swap SATA connectors.  It's a thing of beauty when you can pull a bad drive from your RAID 5 array and rebuild the array on the fly without powering down your system, pulling out a screwdriver or opening a chassis.  In my opinion, the hot-swap bays are the best feature about this case.


The plastic racks though do post a bit of an issue.  There is no active cooling on the HDDs with the stock fans and if you have the side of your case off, the airflow pattern in this case is destroyed.  During testing, I had the side panel off, and the front HDD cover closed and checked my HDD temperature and discovered that the drives were approaching 60°C when rebuilding a RAID array!  I immediately added a fan to the drives and cooled them down.  Even though this seems ridiculous, I considered the airflow pattern that Zalman designed.  The case has two 120mm exhaust fans - no intake fans.  The airflow is designed to pull in fresh air past the drives, through the system and out the top and back of the case.  With the side panel on, I discovered that HDD temperature remained in the mid 40°C - much better than with the panel off.  Please, please keep this in mind when operating this case.

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 ideas

 

Cons:

  • No dust filters on intake fan areas
  • No active cooling on HDD area - could be an issue to 10,000rpm SATA drives

 

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.  I wish that Zalman would offer the extra Hot-Swap backplane as an available option though.  Six Hot-Swap drives would be awesome.

 BCCRating

 Top Pick

 

I'd like to thank ZalmanUSA 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.