So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Zalman ZMachine GT1000-TI
- Tool-free drive insertion, all-aluminium design, side panel doors on hinges
- 80mm fans on the front panel
The Zalman ZMachine GT1000-TI is a very stylish case with an interesting and manageable design. There are no points lost for the lack of a removable motherboard tray, but the design could have allowed for it, which is disappointing.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The all-aluminium Zalman ZMachine GT1000-TI looks solid and flaunts plenty of style. The aluminium design is reminiscent of Hi-Fi systems with enormous silver volume controls and does for PC cases what stainless steel fridges did for kitchens, made them look swanky.
Granted, when the power is on, three blue LED-lit fans somehow lower the standard, but what case would be complete these days without some form of atmospheric glow. The door-less facade is very clean and well laid out with a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port and some audio jacks.
Probably the most distinctive feature of the GT1000 is the access panel. Rather than having a removable side panel that provides access to the motherboard and drive bays, the Zalman ZMachine GT1000-TI has two side panels on hinges that can be swung open; one to access the motherboard and expansion cards, the other to access the drive bays.
Before investigating further, it seemed as though the motherboard, which mounts directly onto the other side panel, could be swung out on a hinge, too. Unfortunately this is not the case. Instead of a mounting bracket for the motherboard, the stand-offs are extra long, leaving extra space behind the board for some basic cable management. More access to the drive bays from the other side panel is possible via another door on a hinge, which also helps when feeding cables around the case.
Drive mounting is tool-free. The case uses a rubber roller system for the hard drives, which is very smooth and quick to manage. The optical drives use a simple slide and screw-in system, which is also quite effective. Four hard drives can be mounted into the standard bays, but two more spots are available on the bottom of the case. The drives click into mounts on the very bottom of the enclosure and lock into place with rubber shock absorbers for protection.
Of the three included fans, two are 80mm and cool the hard drives, while the last is an extraction fan at the top rear. The power supply (not included) resides at the top of the case.
Overall, we found the unit to be reasonably quiet, though the use of smaller fans inevitably causes a little more noise.
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