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Today we are taking a look at the latest mid-tower case from Zalman, the Z11 Plus, which comes with a very affordable price tag.
Here is a list of features available on the Z11 Plus that are not available on the standard Z11 model:
- Presence of an adapter allowing the installation of an internal/external 3.5” device or an internal 2.5” device in a 5.25” bay
- Comes with a 120 mm fan with blue LEDs on the top panel
- Two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports instead of four USB 2.0 ports
The Zalman Z11 Plus has a very unique design. Its left panel comes with a tinted window, and both the left and right panels come with a hidden 80 mm fan (Zalman ZA8015AL). These fans use a standard peripheral power connector; the manufacturer doesn’t publish the specifications for them.
[nextpage title=”The Front and Top Panels”]
The Zalman Z11 Plus has five external 5.25” bays, with meshed covers and air filters. The bottom-most 5.25” bay comes with an adapter for you to install either a 3.5” device (it supports both internal and external devices) or an internal 2.5” device. In Figure 4, you can also see the air intake for the side fans.
The case comes with a 120 mm fan on its front panel (Zalman ZA1225CSL), glowing blue when turned on. This fan uses a three-pin fan power connector, but the manufacturer doesn’t publish the specifications for this fan. As you can see in Figure 5, it comes with an air filter.
The Zalman Z11 Plus comes with a 120 mm fan installed on its top panel, identical to the one used on the front panel. The case supports the installation of a second 120 mm or 140 mm fan on this panel.
The case comes with two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and the traditional audio jacks on the top panel. The USB 3.0 ports use regular USB connectors, so you will need to route the cables for these ports to the outside of the case and connect them to USB 3.0 ports located on the rear panel of your motherboard. The case also has a small tray for you to store small gadgets, such as cell phones and MP3 players.
[nextpage title=”The Bottom and Rear Panels”]
The bottom panel has an air filter for the power supply fan and an air filter for the optional bottom fan.
The rear panel and the interior of the Zalman Z11 Plus are painted black.
On the Zalman Z11 Plus, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case.
The case comes with a 120 mm fan (Zalman ZA1225ASL) installed on its rear panel, with a standard peripheral power connector. Again, the manufacturer doesn’t publish technical specifications for this fan.
This case has seven expansion slots with vented covers, with a ventilation mesh above them. These covers, however, are disposable, i.e., they can’t be reused once they are removed from the case.
There are two holes for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, protected with rubber covers. These holes measure 0.7” (18 mm) in diameter. These holes can also be used for routing the USB 3.0 cables to outside the case. Alternatively, you can use the special slot cover that comes with the case for this task. See Figure 10.
Let’s now take a look inside the Zalman Z11 Plus.[nextpage title=”Inside the Zalman Z11 Plus”]
Both panels are attached to the chassis using thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU coolers without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes for you to route cables behind it, and several clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.
In Figure 13, we get another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using silver thumbscrews. Zalman could have used black thumbscrews. The Zalman Z11 Plus supports video cards up to 11.4” (290 mm) long.
The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. It can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. As already discussed, the case comes with an air filter for the power supply fan.
There is space for installing an optional 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel. If a 140 mm fan is installed, you can only install power supplies that are up to 5.5” (140 mm) deep. With a 120 mm fan installed, you are able to install a power supply up to 6.3” (160 mm) deep. If you have a power supply deeper than that, you won’t be able to install a fan on the bottom panel.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
The Zalman Z11 Plus has five external 5.25” bays, five internal 3.5” bays and one internal 2.5” bay. The case comes with an adapter for you to convert one of the 5.25” bays into one external or internal 3.5” bay and one internal 2.5” bay.
The installation of 5.25” and 2.5” devices requires the use of regular screws. Internal 3.5” devices are installed using a tool-less mechanism based on thumbscrews, where you need to install four thumbscrews with a rubber washer to each device and then simply slide the device into the bay you want to use. The rubber washers work as anti-vibration mechanisms.
The internal 2.5” bay is located behind the motherboard tray.
In Figure 15, you can see the adapter that comes with the case, allowing you to install a 3.5” or a 2.5” device in a 5.25” bay.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Zalman Z11 Plus include:
- Style: Mid-tower
- Application: ATX, and smaller form factors
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC) body
- Power supply: Doesn’t come with the product
- Available colors: Black
- Side panel: Tinted window
- Dimensions: 19.6 x 10.2 x 20.1 inches (498 x 260 x 525 mm) (H x W x D)
- Net weight: 17 lbs (7.6 kg)
- Gross weight: 20 lbs (9.2 kg)
- Bays: Five external 5.25” bays, five internal 3.5” bays, and one internal 2.5” bay (plus one external/internal 3.5” bay or one internal 2.5” bay converted from one 5.25” bay)
- Expansion slots: Seven
- Maximum video card length: 11.4” (290 mm)
- Maximum CPU cooler height: NA
- Fans: One 80 mm fan on the left panel, one 80 mm fan on the right panel, one 120 mm fan on the front panel (blue LEDs), one 120 mm fan on the top panel (blue LEDs), and one 120 mm fan on the rear panel
- Optional fans: One 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the top panel and one 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel
- Extra Features: None
- More Information: https://www.zalman.com
- MSRP in the U.S.: USD 85.00
The Zalman Z11 Plus is a nice option if you are looking for a mid-tower case with lots of fans at an affordable price. The Z11 Plus, however, has some drawbacks, as listed in the “Weak Points” section below. However, for the price, we can’t complain.
- Comes with five fans
- Air filters for the power supply fan, front fan, and optional bottom fan
- The 5.25” bay covers are meshed with air filters
- Two 2.5” bays (second bay converted from a 5.25” bay)
- Meshed slot covers
- Thumbscrews for fastening expansion cards
- Anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard drives
- A huge hole in the motherboard tray for accessing the backplate of the CPU cooler
- Holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray
- Clips for fastening cables using cable ties
- No air filters for the side fans
- Slot covers aren’t reusable
- Thumbscrews for fastening expansion cards could be black instead of silver
- The USB 3.0 ports don’t use an internal connector