bit-tech.net

Zalman Z-Machine GT1000

Zalman Z-Machine GT1000

UK Price (as reviewed): £259.99 (Inc. Vat)
US Price (as reviewed): $359 (Inc. Tax)

Cases and games; the two areas of PC geekery in which the names seemingly undergo a constant, shifting struggle to become more needlessly elaborate than any case or game before.

Want proof? Go build a new system in a Revoltec Zirconium and then play some S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl on it.

Still, a name isn’t any indicator of appearance or performance and a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet (or not, I actually can’t smell most flowers). So to may the Zalman Z-Machine GT1000 be judged on its look and functions rather than its long and confusing name.

Just don’t expect us to type out its full name – our keyboards see a lot of abuse and we aren’t sure they’ll take the strain.

Z-Machine?

My first experience with the GT1000 was a pretty funny one. It was lunchtime and Tim and I were just rolling back into the office, both psyched up after doing an extensive multi-platform hands-on preview of Bioshock. Stepping back into the bit-tech offices was like stepping out of an incredibly vivid dream about an underwater adventure and, as the waves came crashing down, I was filled with the urge to talk about Bioshock and tell everyone just how awesome it is.

But I was halted before I even sit down and open my mouth though, as a cluster of journalists were blocking my path to my desk. Normally I’d just kick them all over and barge through (It was the games that made me do it, Jack) but my curiosity was piqued by the collective oohing and aahing and I was instead pulled through the crowd to see the Zalman Z-Machine GT1000.

Zalman Z-Machine GT1000 Zalman Z-Machine GT1000
Click to enlarge

“Check it out, Joe, it looks so nice. Look at all the doors!” said a new and enthusiastic news writer, pointing to where somebody was showcasing the door hinges for me in true gameshow fashion. I sighed, knowing the Bioshock talk would have to wait for five minutes while I gave my opinion to the crowd of men clustered around a single black box.

The Bioshock conversation came moments later, when everyone finally realised that I was back from the preview – though I don’t believe anybody realised that I had gone. Still, you missed me right?

So, the initial effect of the GT1000 on us was a good one and it isn’t surprising. The case is gorgeous to look at; constructed of finely brushed and reassuringly thick aluminium panels, practically the entire surface is removable in some form, whether via hinge or allen bolts.

To get a little bit more specific, the left hand side panel is broken down into two different hatches. The larger one is at the back and has a Perspex window fixed into it. There’s no alternative provided to the case, as there has been with some of the other cases we’ve looked at, but the panel is removable should you want to do a quick spot of engraving into the panel.

Zalman Z-Machine GT1000 Zalman Z-Machine GT1000
Click to enlarge

The large panel on the left side covers the motherboard and is held in place by thumbscrews which, when removed, allow the panel to swing out on a hinge. The same is true of the slightly smaller panel in front of it which makes up the rest of the side panel, covering the HDD cage and optical drive bays. Why exactly the whole panel doesn’t swing out on a single hinge is a little confusing, but it’s compensated for by the thumbscrews, which allow quick and easy access to the motherboard and which is incredibly handy for in-case tweaking and cable re-routing.

On the right hand side, things are a little different. There’s no window for a start and the panels, which are the same size as on the other side, are held in place by several allen bolts. An allen key is provided to remove them, though we aren’t sure why allen bolts are used instead of normal screws.

While the smaller panel for the right hand side still swings out on a hinge, the larger panel does no such thing and instead is completely removable, with stand-offs screwed into place on the other side. The idea is to screw the motherboard into place on the separate panel and then screw the panel back into place. We’ll get to how well that works later though.