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::>Cases > 2015 > 08 > Zalman Z11 NEO

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12-08-2015


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Case ZALMAN Z11 NEO: review and testing

In this review we will focus on the case which will be an interesting solution for gamers and for lovers of modding. The history of this device dates back to 2012 when predecessors ZALMAN Z11 and Z11 Plus appeared. They had an aggressive design the clearly distinguished them from the rest of the game models. New products offer excellent opportunities for effective cooling of internals space (including the possibility of installing two-fan water cooling system), and the presence of the blue illumination and an acrylic window on the side panel allows you to enjoy views of components in the dark. The difference between them is availability of two pairs of USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 connectors instead of the standard 2.0 in ZALMAN Z11 on the interface panel of the model ZALMAN Z11 Plus.

Another model is ZALMAN Z11 Plus HF1. In fact, it is a solution ZALMAN Z11 Plus, but instead of blue backlight manufacturer used red LEDs. So we cannot talk about any really fundamental differences between these three models.

 

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

But after a few years, the company ZALMAN has revised its vision of aggressive case, presenting a model ZALMAN Z11 NEO. It refused a ventilation grille at the bottom of the front panel, and its shape became smoother. Nevertheless, this did not eliminate the attraction, but in terms of usability for the user, it can boast of a number of positive changes. For example, unlike their predecessors, allowing to install the graphics card up to 290 mm, the new product can accommodate a solution longer than 400 mm. At the same time the body became even more compact. Other changes of the gaming lineup ZALMAN Z11 with the advent a model with the prefix «NEO» will be described in the current review.

The specs: 

Producer and model

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Case type

Middle Tower

Supported form-factors of motherboard

ATX / microATX

Color

Black

Compartements

1 х 5,25” (external)

8 х 3,5”/2,5” (internal)

1 х 2,5” (internal, under tray)

Expansion card slots

7

Max length of video card

Including installed baskets

270 mm

Excluding baskets (according to our measurements)

400 mm (430 mm)

The maximum height of CPU cooler (according to our measurements, taking into account the convexity of acrylic window)

175 mm (185 mm)

Max length of PSU

250 mm

Sockets

2 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

2 х audio jacks (headphones, microphone)

Preset fans

Front panel

1 х 120-mm

Back panel

1 х 120-mm

Top panel

1 х 120-mm

Side panels

2 х 80-mm

Ability to install fans

Front panel

2 х 120-mm

Back panel

1 х 120-mm

Top panel

2 х 140-mm / 2 х 120-mm

Side panels

2 х 80-mm

Bottom panel

1 х 140-mm / 1 х 120-mm

PSU

No

Materials

Front and top panels, strips on sides

Plastic

Chassis

Steel with thickness 0.73 mm

Sides

Steel with thickness 0.65 mm

Case dimensions

515 х 205 х 465 mm

Net weight

7,7 kg

Producer website

ZALMAN
Product page 

Package and content 

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

It comes in a cardboard box, which provides a lot of information on the rooms inside the device, despite the simplicity of design. Thus, the front side in black and white colors shows the appearance of the body, listing its most important advantages in English. The same information is duplicated in one of the side walls on eight languages. The second side provides a sufficiently detailed specification of the unit.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Inside box the case is fixed by using foam inserts and plastic bag that protects the novelty from moisture. The set also includes a number of components that will be useful during building of the system. A total delivery set of ZALMAN Z11 NEO includes the following components:

  • set of screws and racks for installation of the motherboard;
  • set of screws to fix the power supply and drive;
  • plug into the expansion slot;
  • extension cable to supply additional power to the CPU;
  • 5 tie wire;
  • manual.

Such a large number of complete screws should be enough to install all the necessary components, including a plurality of storage devices. Comfortable holders allow to gather the cables in groups for their more accurate arrangement.

Design 

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEO is an ingenious solution, with a set of interesting exterior elements, which we will introduce you in detail below. Gamers, who are the main target audience for new product, will like this design.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Unlike ZALMAN Z11 Plus, where the bottom of the front panel contains a ventilation grille, the novelty has received a more rigorous look through the use of plastic metal finish. Thus, practicality was sacrificed to design.

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

But the removal cool air in front is still carried out by means of nozzles, which also play a significant role in giving the body of aggressive species, increasing its width.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Air supply is provided by 120 mm fan ZALMAN ZA1225CSL with blue LED-backlit. It is based on Sleeve Bearing. Power is supplied to the fan via a 3-pin cable, and its power is less than 2 W (12 V at 0.16 A). The rotation speed of the blades was at 1130 rpm, which is quite comfortable in terms of indication of the noise emission.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Also, you can install another 120-mm fan and removable dust filter is responsible for cleaning of air.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Despite the very large size, case ZALMAN Z11 NEO is equipped with only one external compartement for 5.25-inch devices, which is effectively opened in case of shift spring-loaded lid. External bays for 3.5-inch devices are absent.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

The reverse side has familiar layout. Lower power supply arrangement, seven expansion slots (including disposable plugs), two holes for hoses of water cooling system and 120-mm spinner - all is done in good traditions of gaming cases. But here the solution of ZALMAN can be found due to a very specific form of the top panel.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

The fan on the rear panel is represented by a 120 mm model ZALMAN ZA1225CSL that provides the use of the white impeller. According to its characteristics it is similar to the solution used on the front wall of the body, but is made of opaque plastic and devoid of LED-backlighting. As a result of the measurement, it rotates slightly faster - at the speed of 1330 rpm.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

The bottom of the case ZALMAN Z11 NEO is characterized by the presence of two dust filters that can and should be removed for regular cleaning. One of them is designed to clean air coming into the power supply through the perforated area of 10 x 8 cm. The second is useful for additional 140 or 120 mm fan installed on the bottom.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

When using a long power supply (in this case the model length 193 mm), it is impossible to mount the fan. But the pleasing fact is that the novelty can house even the overall power supply of up to 250 mm.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Along the edges of the bottom panel you can find plastic legs with height 20 mm with the rubber base of 3 mm thick that eliminate the sliding the case and scarring the surfaces.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

One of the most interesting items is the top panel. It is made of plastic and has an original form, inherited from its predecessors. Toward the back we found perforated grille and plastic edges. On the one hand, it allows them to collect dust and on the other is not to hinder the flow of cool air inside.

Also here is a 120mm spinner ZALMAN ZA1225CSL, which is completely similar to the model on the front panel. However, if you wish, you can install another fan, two 140mm solutions or radiator of water cooling system with length of up to 280 mm.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

The top panel is easily removed and disassembled, which greatly facilitates cleaning.

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

Closer to the front panel ZALMAN Z11 NEO has a glossy platform designed to accommodate a smartphone or portable drive. On both side there are controls and components of interface panel presented by reset button, two pairs of ports USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, and also two 3.5mm audio jacks.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Power button is located in the center above the front panel. It has a nice blue glow.

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

For lovers of modding the left side contains acrylic window size of 31 x 30.5 cm.

The sidewalls are mounted using screws with curly heads and there are vertical ridges in the back part for their easy removal. Plastic top and front panel are fixed using standard latches.

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

Quite a spectacular view of the novelty is provided by side nozzles, which also have practical benefits. Thus, under the plastic covers we found the low-profile 80-mm fan ZALMAN ZA0815ASL (12 V; 0.08 A) of 15 mm thick. Unlike the other three fans using a 3-pin connector, these solutions are powered by a 4-pin peripheral interface (Molex). Thus, the three connectors on the motherboard and one PATA connector on the power supply should be enough to connect all preset cooling system ZALMAN Z11 NEO.

Internal device 

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

The chassis and all metallic elements are covered with a black matt paint, which makes them perfectly blend in with the plastic parts. The interior space is visually divided into left part for installing the motherboard and power supply, and right which contains compartments for drives and other devices.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

Two baskets are intended to install drives. Each can house three devices. Fastening of 3.5 inch solutions is realized by means of screwless clamps while 2.5-inch drives will be secured via screws. The baskets cannot boast of good rigidity (when installing the drive, this feature becomes less noticeable), and when mounting there is a small gap. 

Therefore, if you are not going to create file storage within the ZALMAN Z11 NEO, then one or both baskets can be removed. In this case it is possible to use metal brackets arranged in the two bottom 5.25-inch drive bays, which are designed for 3.5 and 2.5-inch drive. However, they are provided by the fastening screws. The absence of baskets allows to install video cards up to 430 mm (in the original layout the value is limited by 270 mm).

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

On the bottom, in the place of the power supply installation there are four heights with gaskets, which reduce the vibration transmitted to the case.

ZALMAN Z11 NEO

A set of cables to connect the front panel includes a connector HD Audio, connectors to connect buttons on/reset, and LED-indicator, 4-pin peripheral connector and cable for connecting ports USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

The tray contains a small perforation, placed on the attachment of 2.5-inch drive. As we see, novelty supports three drives without the use of baskets, but using the provided screws.

Assembling within system ZALMAN Z11 NEO is realized without any difficulties and complications. It is provided by the presence of free space for laying cables under the tray of case. And the cut allows you to install and remove the overall cooling system without dismantling the system board.

The structure itself sufficient rigidity, all parts fit well, and clearance and backlash were not observed. Considerable body sizes allow you to set the overall video length to 430 mm, and high CPU coolers up to 175 mm (185 mm with the convexity of the acrylic window).

LED-backlight

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

ZALMAN Z11 NEOZALMAN Z11 NEO

For darkness hours test case is equipped with pleasant blue glow provided by two fans (top and front). The light output is enough for room illumination inside components, so that acrylic window could fulfill its role in the evening. Blue riot is diluted by a small red light at the top of the front panel, informing about the activity of the hard disk.


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