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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Zalman GS1000 is a hybrid aluminum/steel full-tower case from Zalman: its side panels and details from its front panel are manufactured in aluminum, while its internal body is manufactured using the traditional zinc-coated steel. This helps reducing the price of the case compared to all-aluminum units. This case has four 5.25” bays and six 3.5” bays for hard disk drives on the front of the case, three of them with hot swapping capability, and several other features.

The external plastic parts are available in two colors: black like in the sample we reviewed or titanium (dark grey).

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 1: Zalman GS1000 case.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 2: Zalman GS1000 case.

In Figure 3, you can see the front panel from this case and, as you can see, this case doesn’t have a front door. This case has four external 5.25” bays (two of them coming with 5.25”-to-3.5” adapters) and what is really unique about this product is that the hard disk drive bays are located on the front panel (see Figure 4). There are two compartments holding three hard disk drives each, and the bays located on the bottom compartment feature hot-swapping capability. We will talk about the disk drive bays in details later.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 3: Front panel.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 4: Hard disk drive bays.

[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]

Zalman GS1000 has a 120 mm fan on its top, protected by a fancy cover, as shown in Figure 5. We will talk about this fan later. On the top part of the case you can also find a panel containing two USB ports, a FireWire port and mic in and headphone jacks. Unfortunately the USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time, like USB drives. We also think that this case could have an eSATA port here.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 5: Top panel.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 6: Connectors found on the top panel.

Finally we have the rear panel in Figure 7. On this case the power supply is installed on the lower section of the case. What is different on this case is that it comes with a handle for you to attach to your power supply. This case also has a 120 mm fan on its rear panel and two holes for hoses from water cooling devices. These holes use a rubber cover, so you won’t need to break anything on your case to have them available. The side panels are attached to the case through thumbscrews, which is great.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 7: Rear panel.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 8: Handle for the power supply.

This case comes with a pair of good-quality feet, which is recommended to use if you add fans on the bottom of the case (more about these fans in the next page).

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 9: Feet.

Let’s see how GS1000 looks like inside.

[nextpage title=”Inside GS1000″]

In Figure 10 you have an overall look from the interior of this case.  Even though you can remove the right side panel, the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 10: Inside GS1000.

This case comes with thumbscrews for fastening daughterboards to the case. We think the use of this kind of screw is perfect, since several screwless mechanisms use cheap plastic parts that break while you are building your PC. In Figure 11, you can see the rear 120 mm fan and the thumbscrews. The fans that come with the case use a three-pin connector, allowing you to connect them to your motherboard and thus monitor their speed.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 11: Rear 120 mm fan and thumbscrews to fasten daughterboards.

This case comes with a 120 mm fan on the top and has space for you to install another 120 mm fan.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 12: Top 120 mm fan and space for installing another one.

Zalman GS1000 also has space for the installation of two 120 mm fans at the bottom of the case, as shown in Figure 13. If you install fans here you should also install the feet that come with the case.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 13: Space for installing bottom 120 mm fans.

[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]

As mentioned, this case has four external 5.25” bays and six 3.5” bays for hard disk drives. Since this case comes with two 5.25”-to-3.5” adapters, you can install up to eight hard disk drives if no floppy disk drive is used.

Even though this case doesn’t have a screwless design mechanism for fastening 5.25” devices, the 5.25” bays use thumbscrews, so you won’t need tools for installing your optical drives.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 14: Bays, seen from inside the case.

The hard disk drive bays, however, use screwless mechanisms. Each bay is in fact a small drawer where each hard disk drive can be installed. As we already explained, on this case the hard disk drive bays are accessed from outside the case (see Figure 4). The screwless mechanism includes small shock absorbers to reduce the noise produced by the hard disk drives. The two 5.25”-to-3.5” adapters also include rubber rings for the same purpose.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 15: Hard disk drive drawer.

The three lower bays use a hot swap mechanism. Hot swap is a technology that allows you to replace hard disk drives with your computer turned on. It is important to know, however, that both your motherboard and hard disk drive must support this feature and also to use it you need to “eject” the drive first in Windows by right clicking it and choosing “eject;” another way to do this is to use the “Safely Remove Hardware” wizard that appears next to the Windows clock.

Even if you won’t use this feature the connectors present on the lower bays will allow you to install your hard disk drives without the need of attaching any cable to them – if your hard disk drives are SATA units, of course. You will need to install the SATA cables from the motherboard and peripheral power plugs from the power supply to the circuit (see Figure 16). On Figures 16 and 17 we show a close-up on the printed circuit board available on the three lower bays allowing this feature.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 16: Connectors inside the case.

Zalman GS1000 caseFigure 17: Connectors inside the bays.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

GS1000 case main specs include:

  • Application: Extended ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
  • Material: Aluminum (side panels and details from the front panel) and zinc-coated steel (SECC).
  • Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
  • Available colors: black or titanium.
  • Side panel: Solid.
  • Dimensions: 22 3/64” x 8 21/32” x 22 53/64” (56 cm x 22 cm x 58 cm) (H x W x D).
  • Net Weight: 26.4 lbs (12 Kg)
  • Gross Weight: N/A
  • Bays: Four external 5.25” bays (with two 5.25”-to-3.5” adapters) and six internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives, three of them supporting hot swap.
  • Expansion slots: Seven.
  • Fans: One 120 mm fan on the rear and one 120 mm fan on the top. Space for another 120 mm fan on the top and two 120 mm fans on the bottom.
  • Extra Features: Power supply handle.
  • More Information: https://www.zalman.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 200.00.

* Researched at ZipZoomFly.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Zalman GS1000 is a full tower case targeted to the high-end user that wants a good quality case full of features but doesn’t want to pay a lot for an all-aluminum product. Here is a summary of what we found about this case.

Strong Points

  • Outstanding quality. No sharp edges that you could cut yourself while building your PC.
  • Good price for a high-end full-tower case.
  • The number of hard disk drive bays is enough even for the most hardcore user.
  • Three hot-swap bays for hard disk drives was a great addition.
  • Handle for the power supply. 
  • Anti-vibration mechanisms for hard disk drives.
  • Space for one extra fan on the top and two extra fans on the bottom of the case.

Weak Points

  • The two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
  • Could have an eSATA port.
  • No space for installing a fan to cool down your hard disk drives directly.

In summary, this is a terrific case for users that want a high-end case with aluminum panels but don’t want to give an arm to buy a very high-end all-aluminum model.