There are four categories of cases as far as I am concerned. There are cases that cost more than $200 and then there are cases that cost less than that. And there are cases that are worth the $200 asking prices and there are cases that manufacturers think are worth $200. Someway somehow every case falls into one of these four characteristics.For an example Lian Li are one of those case lines that are worth as much as their asking price. My current case the Lian Li A77 is priced at $260 and to me worth every penny. The room, ease to build and the quality is top notch.
Another case manufacturer whose cases command a premium is Zalman's. Some time ago we reviewed the GT1000 gaming case. A case whose build quality was better than any other we have tested. But at $350 plus some felt the asking price was a little atmospheric. But the superiority was one that could not be denied by anyone regardless of what you thought of the price.
Zalman is back at it again with a new gaming case called the GS1000. The difference between the GS1000 and the GT1000 are as obvious as day and night. The GS1000 is a made of a combination of aluminum, steel and a little plastic. Before we determine what category it falls in we will tell you a little bit more about the case. The case is full size and boasts incredible cable management possibilities and impeccable cooling options. Trust me there are several other features that are unique to the GS1000 but you will have to read on to find out what they are.
Zalman makes a short statement about the GS1000
Slim aluminum tower case with excellent cooling performance and expandability.
Packaging and contents
Printed on the large box is an image of the case with features stemming from it. The features listed are ones that only a few cases on the market can say they have.
|Enclosure Type||Full Tower|
|Dimensions||220(W) x 560(H) x 580(D) mm|
|Material||Aluminum / Plastic (ABS) / Steel (GI)|
|Motherboard Compatibility||E-ATX / Standard ATX / microATX|
|Power Supply Compatibility||Standard ATX / ATX12V|
|PCI/AGP Card Compatibility||Full Size|
|Drive Bays||5.25" External Bay x 4 * 2 Adaptors & Bezels included for use of two 5.25" bays as 3.5" Internal (HDD) / External (FDD) Bays|
|3.5" Internal Bay x 6|
- Hot Swap Bay x 3 (standard)
- Regular / Hot Swap Bay x 3 (optional)
|Cooling Components (Fans)||Top Vent: 120mm x 2 (1 Fan included), Rear Vent: 120mm x 1 (1 Fan included), |
Bottom Vent: 120mm x 2 (Fans optional)
|Expansion Card Slots||7 Slots (Tool Free Bolts provided)|
|Front I/O Ports||USB Port x 2, IEEE1394 (FireWire) Port x 1, Headphones x 1, Mic x 1|
|Available Color||Black, Titanium|
The GS1000 is designed for optimal airflow on both intake and exhaust.
Vented front HDD door allows cool air to enter helps cool the drivers.
The ventilated floor panel helps cool the PSU and other components. The optional 120mm fan ports will allow additional fans to further enhance cooling performance.
The top vent coupled with a 120mm fan are very effective in exhausting hot air. The optional 120mm fan ports will allow additional fans to further enhance cooling performance.
Tool Free design allows for easy installation.
Rubber damper and hook system makes swapping out hard drives hassle free.
Tool-free installation for 5.25” devices.
Thumb screws for easy PCI card removal and installation.
The front panel HDD door uses a one-touch operation to open and close. The hot swappable HDD bay allows for easy installation.
The input port cover door on the top of the case is designed with extra durable damper gear for a smooth swivel mechanism.
With multimedia power users in mind, USB, FireWire I/O, audio ports allow multimedia expansive applications.
The PSU bay has easy installation system that utilizes a rubber roller system that makes it easy for the heavy PSU to slide in and out. The rubber roller system also helps dampen vibration noise for reduction in overall noise.
With external liquid cooling systems in mind, the rear panel has rubberized ports for tubing.
Handles for easy side panel removal.
With choice of black or titanium for outer panels and the side panels utilizing anodization and hairline processes for a high quality finish.
The combination of the side panel aluminum with the rounded front gives the GS1000 an original look.
With cable routing integrated throughout the case, the GS1000 offers solutions for clean cable management.
With stability and design in mind, the GS1000’s feet are of form and function.
The PCI expansion slot is coated for durability and to prevent corrosion. Functional touches add an element of high quality design.
The 4 5.25” external bays come with 2 in 1 brackets, which allow both FDD and HDD to be installed.
The GS1000 supports up to 8 hard disks, 6 of which supports the hot swap module (3 are optional).
E-ATX, Standard ATX and Micro ATX are supported. +1000W PSU’s can be used.
A total of 7 PCI expansion slots are available.
Closer look outside
The GS1000 is classified as a full sized tower and I don't doubt that at all. But the GS1000 does not stand as tall as the PC77 from Lian Li we review about two weeks ago. But it is still tall enough to have four 5.25" external bays also have two areas under the bays that look to house cooling fans. That part we will look more into as the review goes on. The front of the GS1000 is part aluminum and part plastic. Now I know alot of people will diss the case due to the use of plastic but I am here to tell you that it really complements the exterior. And if Zalman would have done what they did using aluminum instead of plastic the case would have been put in a price range that would have doubled what it is now.
Just above the drive bays is a circular button which is the power button. I like this location as it does act a little accent of the front. And it isn't as hard to reach when sitting in my chair like on the A77 which has the button on the top. Its a long reach even for me without having to stand up. I stated earlier the bottom compartments look like locations for cooling fans, they are not. They are locations for internal drives. Open up any of the two doors and you have six docking trays for each hard drive mounting. So no need to buy any extra trays when working with alot of drives. The bottom cage consists of its own PCB to attach three drives to for even more convenience. Even though Zalman provided an area here that looks like it would take a cooling fan you can not unless you do away with the entire bottom hard drive cage.
It seems that no one is making the tops of cases simple anymore and it makes it harder for modders and water-coolers to do their craft. The GS1000 is one of these cases as it has a small platform that is raised a little higher than the rest of the top to allow for air to escape. Underneath the platform is a single 120mm cooling fan which we will show you in a few. To the front of the case is a small door that hides the I/O ports of the case. These ports include audio jacks, two USB and a firewire port. Once again I am going to rant about the lack of eSATA ports. This is a $200 case there is no reason for it not to have an eSATA port.
The GS1000 has no windowed side panels. It seems that many companies aren't offering windows as much as they once did. Many of the companies are producers of very high-end cases like Lian Li. The side panels are what I would called very stylish and clean. All you can see is the lines that is caused by the brushing process. When we last reviewed a Zalman case we saw that they etched their logos and insignia all over the casing. This isn't the case with the GS1000 has only the Zalman name in etched in the lower right corner. For removing the panel the side has a plastic handle.
I was prepared to write there isn't much going on at the rear of the case but I can't. The bottom of the case where the power supply would mount has a small handle that after a little investigation is to allow the user to slide the power unit out the back of the case. The power supply rides on rails to allow smooth removal and eliminates the scratching of the power unit. Water-cooling inlets are located at the top of the rear which I think is a good idea as it makes for shorter tubing needs.
Closer look inside
At first glance of the inside you can see what this case is all about. Believe it or not the first thing that I noticed was the six openings for cable management. After that the more obvious features became relevant like the wide open cabin what would contain all the major parts of a build and the bottom mount power supply area. The whole area was so clean that I really hated to put stuff into it. A little side note about the inside is it is made of metal and not the same aluminum the outside is made of.
The front of the case has all the room in the world for mounting four 5.25" devices and up to six hard drives. Here we have shots of the 5.25 to 3.5 adpaters, the control board for the swappable drive rails and the screws for securing the 5.25" bays.
The bottom of the case has two openings for cooling fans which would need to be installed before the power supply is. One of the openings is just below the power supply and this is good because depending how you mount your PSU and its fan location will allow for better air circulation through the unit itself. Also if you look carefully you can see the rollers the power supply sits on.
Combined the rear and the top contain two 120mm cooling fans and room for one additional one. Under the top fan is another hole for cable management. I am starting to love this case just for this reason.
The back of the case from the inside is about as bland as it gets. We are happy to says Zalman doesn't use any plastic security holders to hold your cards in place but thumbscrews. I think the security the screws offer is much better than others attempting at toolless operation.
Building up this case was very enjoyable. I don't think I have ever had as much fun building up a tower before. I knew before I even started there were going to be places to hide my wiring so the chances of a mess was out of the question. And I didn't have to spend a crazy amount to time working on the cable management.
Here are some pre-install photos of the case with most of the paneling removed. As you can see there isn't alot of mass to this case. There is plenty room for an internal water loop using the top two fan areas. The case really has a lot to offer. The only thing that I found that I didn't like about this case before I even starting building it up was the 5.25" bays. Each bay is separated by a plastic strip which makes it impossible to mount anything that requires two bays.
Here we have photos of the power supply and motherboard installed. These went in without any problems whatsoever. The mounting of the hard drives was pretty ingenous. Once the trays are removed, you simply turn it over and adjust the rail to make room for the hard drive. Once the drive is placed in slide the rail back in place and you are done.
Here I wanted to put the 3.5" adapter to use so I install an Aerocool EasyWatch. I also did this for two other reasons: one the Easywatch matched the front of the case perfectly and two I wanted to control the other fans I planned on installing.
More gallery images of the build.
The Zalman GS1000 I think is one of the better cases to be manufactured this year when it comes to functionality and pricing. The six removeable hard drive trays them themselves would set you back a few benjamins alone. The cooling possibilities are tremendous as it has room for five 120mm fans. And we can't forget about the cable management of the GS1000 which no case comes close to with spending more money or modding the case. This case is definately worth the time and money spent when it comes to just these few features.
Now the case is not without its negatives points. The inability to cool your hard drives was a letdown. And the use of plastic on the front, top and bottom of the case will not go over with alot of people. But I do think it keeps the price down to where it is affordable to alot more people. Lastly, Zalman is known for quietness when it comes to there products, well I don't think that was the motto with the GS1000 as the fans included are alittle noisey. So, a fan controller would be needed. If one was included that would be even better.
Overall, I still like the case as its functionality outweighs its negatives ever so slightly.
Removable hard drive trays
Easy mounting of power supply
Alot of room
Easy mounting of 5.25" devices
No hard drive cooling
Only two USB ports