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Written by Nate Swetland - Edited by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Zalman Z9 Plus Mid-Tower Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look: Exterior

The way a case looks is one of the most important factors when deciding on which product to purchase. If the case does not look good, many people pass it up without even considering how good the features are. Zalman is known for making attractive cooling solutions, hopefully they bring that elegance and style to their line of computer chassis as well.

Zalman_Z9Plus_Exterior_FrontAngle.jpg

Above we see the Zalman Z9 Plus at an angle from the front and left side. It has a very sleek black look to it, and it crosses between professional and exciting. The black paint on it is matte, with some shiny accents to give it a very nice style without being too flashy or gaudy. It is easy to see from the beginning that Zalman put considerable effort into making this case look good.

Zalman_Z9Plus_Exterior_FrontStraight.jpg

A shot of the front of the case shows a grilled front panel to allow proper airflow in and out of the Z9 Plus. Notice the "Z" built into the design of the case. I thought that was a very nice touch. On the very top is the power button, and below that you can see the I/O port. Under that are 3 more 5.25" sized expansion bays, and one external 3.5" bay. We will discuss those features later on.

Zalman_Z9Plus_Exterior_RearStraight.jpg

This is the rear of the Z9 Plus. A 120mm fan is pre-installed in the rear of the case, and Zalman also included grommets on the rear for a water cooling setup. You can also see the 7 PCI expansion slots, and the rear mounting power supply opening.

Zalman_Z9Plus_Exterior_Top.jpg

Showing a top-down view of the case lets us see the Zalman logo where there is a little "tray" of sorts seemingly to store your phone, keys, etc. Also shown in this photo is the top grill for the one included 120mm Blue LED fan. Another 120mm or 140mm fan can be installed on the top for up to two 120mm or 140mm fans total. This entire top part can be removed to get to the fans for cleaning and maintenance. Follow the article to the next page to take a look at some of the more detailed exterior features of the Z9 Plus.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Zalman Z9 Plus Mid-Tower Computer CaseDougq 2011-01-20 22:51
Meh. Decent low budget case I guess. It's pretty functional, and I think you're review was clean and well ordered.

I'm still not seeing any innovative ideas in case making, save the side mount drives, putting their rear ends back where the connectors are, which is good.

I also don't like the cheap look of stamped metal and injection molded plastic, but hey, it's what everyone does.

I can see why you think the case is decent looking, but for me, it might win one of the fugliest cases ever award. But I'm really nit picky when it comes to cases.

As stated before, I have a CcolerMaster Stacker 830 SE black brushed full aluminum case, and it's build quality and thick aluminum is second to none, along with its beautiful design. It's an old case and still puts to shame many of the newer ones in form and functionality. You can still by these iconic cases, but their prices haven't gone down in 5 years. They will set you back almost 300US dollars.

Here is the case in bare brushed aluminum:
##coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=16

Now THAT is a handsome case!
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# RE: RE: Zalman Z9 Plus Mid-Tower Computer CaseNate Swetland 2011-01-21 08:38
@Dougg - Thanks for the comments. I actually own the original CM Stacker case, now known as the Stacker 810 ATX. That may be one of the best looking cases I have ever owned, but both the 810 and the 830 are/were near twice the price of the Z9 Plus, so they can't really be compared in the same way. Stamped metal and plastic tends to cost significantly less to use than brushed aluminum, which is reflected in the cost. I do not disagree with your taste in the Stacker cases, they are very sharp.

As far as it looking good or bad, I think we can agree that is very much a subjective category. If you don't like a particular color or material, and the case is made out of it, you will think it does not look good, but another person will praise it up and down. It is just the way it works.

Again, thanks for your comments!
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# RE: RE: RE: Zalman Z9 Plus Mid-Tower Computer CaseDoug 2011-01-21 13:47
Nate agreed on the subjective nature of looks for sure. Function comes first, as I can live with subjectively ugly, but not with objectively functionless. The price difference is also a fair evaluation. If you have noticed, CM no longer carries the 830 Stacker series. I guess it was too expensive to be too profitable.
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# RE: Zalman Z9 Plus Mid-Tower Computer CaseRobrt17 2011-01-21 06:06
It's nice to see certain design trends filtering down from the higher end cases to the mid-range such as wire management, dust filters, fan controllers, tooless mounting, and water cooling ducts. All this, and the cases are still affordable which will allow many more enthusiasts to enjoy these benefits. In my mind it will help create more enthusiasts rather than frustrated or price-shocked builders.

Thanks Nate. Good review.
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# RE: RE: Zalman Z9 Plus Mid-Tower Computer CaseNate Swetland 2011-01-21 08:40
@Robert - Thanks for the comments. I agree with you. I think it is nice that companies are now taking some of the trends and features typically reserved for the high-end and high-priced chassis and putting them into their mid-market cases. Just because consumers may not want a case that will cost them an arm and a leg, they still want one with decent features.
I hope more and more companies continue these trends. Having the same features as the high-end cases will require more innovation just to keep the cases in the high-end categories and justify the costs.

Thanks!
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# Nice reviewEd Hume 2011-01-21 18:47
First of all, thanks for measuring the distance between the mb tray and the right side panel.

This case has some nice features, especially for this price point. I liked the two 140mm fans on top. That means your can block off the rear position and set up the forward position as an intake to feed your cpu cooler fresh air.

I liked the bottom 140mm intake - with filter.

The HD cage seems to be made with mesh, so there is better airflow past the HD's.

Finally, if you put your ODD up top, you will have three 5.25 slots available for a 120mm intake fan., which can also feed fresh air to the heatsink.

Lots of opportunities in this inexpensive case.
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# RE: Nice reviewNate Swetland 2011-01-24 09:47
Thanks for the comments.
The bottom intake fan is a nice option. But, depending on your PSU, it may be a pretty tight fit with all the wires down there. I still don't understand why they put a fan filter there, but not one for the PSU intake.

Adding a 120mm fan in the 5.25" slots would indeed be a great way to push fresh air from the front all the way across the heatsink and out the back, or straight out the top depending on your heatsink and fan position.
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