Mid-Tower Computer Case Final Thoughts
Custom water cooling loops in this case should be fairly straight forward. With the options for a 240mm radiator in the front, 240mm in the top, you should be able to easily cool a CPU and a GPU. That being said, pump location and reservoir location would need to be something you plan out before buying this case, as there is not any pump/res specific mounting points in the case. It is worth noting that I feel this case could easily accommodate a 360mm radiator in the front (with the 5.25″ trays removed) with very little modding.
For those of you who like to utilize AIO (all-in-one) liquid coolers, such as the Corsair H100i, then this case would work very well and be an easier installation. You could easily mount a 240mm AIO in the top, and still have room for a liquid cooled GPU, such as the AMD FuryX or the upcoming FuryX2 and mount the radiator in the front.
Zalman Z9 Neo White Case Conclusion
Performance wise, given the number of fan mount locations, options for radiators, option to remove one or more 5.25″ bay, this case could easily perform as your gaming rig/everyday PC. The only thing that perplexed me is the front intakes on the sides, I feel that they are not large enough and would hinder airflow. Perhaps larger vents, similar to those on the Corsair Carbide Quite 400Q, would alleviate the problem.
Appearance wise the Z9 Neo White may not be for everybody, it has a modern, edgy look that not everyone will find attractive. It does come in black as well, so if white is not the color for you, you have another option. I, on the other hand, really like the aesthetics of this case and find the white to be a welcomed break from the normal black cases that we see so much of. It does have a door, which I’m sure some will find unforgivable, but keep in mind that most users are using bay devices less and less these days, so the door helps keep the front of the case looking clean. It is worth noting that the front door has a glossy finish, while the rest of the case has a matte finish.
Construction for this case is what you’d expect in a sub $80 case. However, the case does feel solid, the side panels fit perfectly, and the front door doesn’t feel like it will fall off on it’s own. The side panels feel strong and don’t flex, a big plus for an entry level chassis. That being said, the internal 5.25″ drive trays are really flimsy, clearly relying on the drive itself for structural integrity. While that is unfortunate, it is not a deal breaker as there is still plenty of support to hold the 5.25″ drive securely.
The Zalman Z9 Neo White functions very well as an entry level Mid-Tower case that features water cooling support and 5 fan mount locations. It should be able to handle AIOs very easily or a custom water loop. For a custom water loop, as with non water cooling cases, you may find that you need to mod a few things here and there, but it’s definitely doable and wouldn’t be too difficult.
In terms of value, this case is on par with similarly spec’d entry level mid-towers, such as the Define S ($79.99). However, at the time of this review, there was a $10 manufacturer rebate, bringing this case into the sub $70 arena, making it a great value for what you’re getting. Find Zalman’s Z9 Neo White online for $79.99 (Amazon | NewEgg).
I recommend this case for anyone looking for a moderately priced, full featured mid-tower case. While I feel that the craftsmanship could have been better, the price and features are hard to beat. Strong side panels, a very nice white finish, and the expandability options for this case, should make it a definite contender for your money.
+ Properly fitting side panels
+ Removable front panel
+ Removable 5.25″ bays
+ Black and white color scheme
+ Front I/O located on top
+ It has a door
+ PSU/HDD cover for aesthetics
– Flimsy 5.25″ drive trays
– Sound dampening is only on a small portion of the front door, nowhere else
– Polished finish on the front door, but matte finish on the rest (to some this is a con)
– Lack of easy removal of the PSU/HDD cover (“sash”)
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: ?