[nextpage title=”Introduction”]Zalman GS1000 SE is identical to GS1000, but made entirely in steel instead of being a hybrid aluminum/steel like the original GS1000 – thus being more affordable. The only feature that was removed on GS1000 SE was the hot swap connectors from the three lower hard disk drive bays. All other features are the same: four 5.25” bays and six 3.5” bays for hard disk drives on the front of the case. The covers from the hard disk drive compartments are still made in aluminum.

Of course the change in material made a huge impact in weight, which increased from 26.4 lbs (12 Kg) to 38.4 lbs (17.4 kg).

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

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 1: Zalman GS1000 SE case.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 2: Zalman GS1000 SE case.

This case comes with the stands shown in Figure 3, which are particularly recommended if you install a power supply with a 120 mm or bigger fan on its bottom part or if you install fans on the bottom part of the case. In Figure 4 we show GS1000 SE with them installed.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 3: Stands.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 4: Zalman GS1000 SE with stands installed.

In Figure 5, you can see the front panel from this case. 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 (more on this later). There are two compartments holding three hard disk drives each.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 5: Front panel.

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

On the top part of the case you can 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 SE Case Figure 6: Connectors found on the top panel.

The air intake located on the top panel can be seen in Figure 7. Below this part this case has one 120 mm fan and space for installing a second one. We will show this later.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 7: Air intake.

Finally we have the rear panel in Figure 8. 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, and the power supply enters the case sliding on top of two wheels that we will show in the next page. This case also has a 120 mm fan on its rear panel (no word on speed, airflow or noise level) 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. Also notice how all slot covers are meshed (an improvement over the original GS1000) and how there is a mesh right above the slots, helping to improve the internal airflow.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case ReviewFigure 8: Rear panel.

The side panels are attached to the case through thumbscrews, which is great. Zalman added plastic washers to each thumbscrew, as shown in Figure 9. This shows how the manufacturer cares that you won’t have the side panels scratched around the thumbscrews.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 9: Plastic washer.

Let’s see how GS1000 SE looks like inside.

[nextpage title=”Inside GS1000 SE”]

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. In Figure 11 we show the other side of the case, with the right panel removed. See how there are several holes that you can use to route the several cables (especially the ones coming from the power supply) through the back of the motherboard tray, helping to reduce the number of loose cables inside the case and thus improving the internal airflow.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 10: Inside GS1000 SE.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 11: Back of the motherboard tray.

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 12 you can also see how the slot covers are meshed and the mesh available above the slots.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 12: Thumbscrews to hold daughterboards.

[nextpage title=”Insid
e GS1000 SE (Cont’d)”]

In Figure 13, you can see the place where the power supply is installed. There are two wheels to allow you to easily slide the power supply into the case. If you have a power supply with a 120 mm or bigger fan on its bottom part, you need to install it with its fan facing down. In this case you should install the stands that come with the case, so air can flow to the power supply fan. You can also install a fan below the power supply stand, if you want to.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 13: Power supply compartment.

Right next to the power supply compartment there is space for installing a 120 mm fan, shown in Figure 14. There is also another space for installing another 120 mm fan right below the lower hard disk drive cage, but in order to use it you have to remove the bottom hard drive cage, which is really complicated to do (we will explain in details how this can be done).

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 14: Space for an optional 120 mm fan.

In Figure 15, you can see the rear and top 120 mm fans (no word on speed, airflow or noise level). These are the only fans that come with the product. They use a three-pin connector, so you can install them directly on the motherboard in order to monitor their speed. You can, however, use an adapter that comes with the product (ZM-MC1) to select between two voltages, +12 V (black connectors, full speed) or +5 V (white connectors, a little bit less than half the speed). There is space for installing another 120 mm fan on the top part of the case.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 15: Rear and top 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 or memory card reader are 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 SE Case Figure 16: 5.25” bays and their thumbscrews.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 17: One of the two 5.25”-to-3.5” adapters.

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 17). 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 SE Case Figure 18: Hard disk drive compartment.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 19: Hard disk drive drawer.

GS1000 SE doesn’t come with hot-swap connectors like the original GS1000, however you can buy and install them on the hard disk drive cages, if you’d like to have this feature.

[nextpage title=”How to Install a Fan Below the Hard Disk Drive Cage”]

As mentioned, you can remove the lower hard disk drive cage to install a 120 mm fan, if you want to add the maximum amount of fans you can. In this case you will lose three hard disk drive bays. Interesting enough this option is not documented by Zalman, probably due to the difficulty on installing this optional fan.

This process is far from being easy, as you will need to remove the front and top panels. Because of that, we wrote this tutorial explaining how to remove the lower hard disk drive cage.

  • 1. Remove all hard disk drive drawers from the lower hard disk drive cage.
  • 2. Remove all covers and adapters from the 5.25” bays.
  • 3. On the rear part of the case, remove the two screws that fasten the top panel to the case (Figure 20).

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 20: Remove these two screws located on the rear part of the case.

  • 4. Find a screw located inside the case on the front top part (Figure 21). There is one on each side of the case. Remove them.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 21: Remove this screw (the case is upside down on this picture).

  • 5. Remove the top panel from the case. With this panel removed, find the screws that fasten the front panel to the top part of the case and remove them (Figure 22).

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 22: Remove these screws.

  • 6. Remove the screws that fasten the front panel to the bottom part of the case and remove them (Figure 23).

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 23: Remove these screws located on the bottom panel from the case.

  • 7. Now press the latches that hold the front panel to the case and remove the front panel.

Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 24: Press this latch. There are eight of them (four on each side).

  • 8. On the lower hard disk drive cage, remove the two plastic panels that hold the hard disk drive drawers to the case.
  • 9. Phew! You will have now access to the place for installing the 120 mm fan. Install it.

 Zalman GS1000 SE Case Figure 25: Place for installing the 120 mm fan.

  • 10. Put everything back in place, except the plastic panels from the hard disk drive cage, because they won’t fit the case with the fan installed.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Zalman GS1000 SE case main specs include:

  • Style: Full-tower. 
  • Application: Extended ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
  • Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC).
  • Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
  • Available colors: Black or titanium.
  • Side panel: Solid.
  • Dimensions: 22.4” x 10.2” x 25.2” (57 cm x 26 cm x 64 cm) (H x W x D) (including feet).
  • Net Weigth: 38.4 lbs (17.4 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.
  • Expansion slots: Seven.
  • Installed fans: One 120 mm fan on the rear and one 120 mm fan on the top.
  • Optional fans: Another 120 mm fan on the top, one 120 mm fan below the power supply, one 120 mm fan on the bottom and another 120 mm fan below the lower hard disk drive cage (which becomes inoperative).
  • Extra Features: Power supply handle.
  • More Information: https://www.zalman.com
  • Suggested retail price: USD 150 (expected to be found at USD 140).

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Zalman GS1000 SE is a full tower case targeted to the high-end user that liked Zalman’s GS1000 but never bought it because of its price. 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.
  • Handle for the power supply.
  • Anti-vibration mechanisms for hard disk drives.
  • Space for one extra fan on the top and three extra fans on the bottom of the case.
  • Adaptor to select fan speed.
  • Meshed slot covers.

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 come with four USB ports instead of only two.
  • Could have an eSATA port.
  • No space for installing a fan to cool down your hard disk drives directly.
  • Comes only with two fans.

In summary, this is a terrific case for users that want a high-end steel case and liked GS1000 design but never bought one because of the price.