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Zalman GS1000

Interior

The side panels are both removed by unscrewing two spring-attached thumbscrews, and then easily slid off to reveal the innards. However, rather than a display of lovely aluminium, the interior chassis is disappointingly built entirely of aluminium’s stupider, but tougher brother, steel.

Yes, the silver finish steel interior looks perfectly fine but it's oh-so-normal and bland. It would have been nice to see brushed aluminium used internally, to match the exterior side panels, however we accept that the cost would have been exuberant.

The internal layout is very good indeed, and thanks to the front-mounted HDD bays, means there’s plenty of space to work inside, with enough case real estate to fit even an E-ATX board if you so desire. The fact that the principal motherboard compartment is so uncluttered and open means that the lack of a removable motherboard tray isn’t really an issue, although fitting some larger CPU coolers might cause you a few problems.

As we’ve previously mentioned, there are mounts for a whopping eight 3.5" HDDs, six in the front accessed hot swap bays, and then another two on the specially built 5.25" bay mounts, which can also accommodate 3.5" floppy bay devices with the help of two included adapters.

Zalman GS1000 Inside the Zalman GS1000 Zalman GS1000 Inside the Zalman GS1000
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The bottom of the case is handed over to the PSU compartment and ventilation, with an innovative rolling rail mounting system which makes sliding in even very long 1000W PSUs easy. Down here is also home to three 120mm intake fan mounts; one below the PSU, (which you’ll usually need to keep un obstructed to ensure a well ventilated PSU), one below the centre of the case, and one underneath the HDD bays (which requires the removal of the lower HDD hot swap bay - this not only spoils one of the best features about the GS1000, but is a real hassle too).

The poor placement of these three 120mm intakes, of which only one can be used as an effective way of sending cool air to the motherboard compartment, is at best a disappointment. This is where the first of our concerns regarding the GS1000’s thermal setup comes in.

Zalman GS1000 Inside the Zalman GS1000 Zalman GS1000 Inside the Zalman GS1000
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The second is the fact that there are absolutely no intake fans elsewhere in the case, with the ventilation model relying almost entirely on air being drawn into the case by the low pressure generated by the included twin exhaust fans in the top rear corner (and the mount for a third exhaust fan next to them). While the exhaust ventilation might be more than enough to keep the motherboard cool, we're not comfortable with potentially eight hard drives operating without direct cooling of some kind. This lack of ventilation could potentially shorten your hard drive lifespan, not to mention cause operating instabilities.

There’s also the issue of dust: the GS1000 has absolutely no dust filters for any of the air intake slits in the front, or vents in the base of the case. This will inevitably result in your set of main board components getting coated in a layer of filth as your new case becomes your new vacuum cleaner. You GS1000 now becomes a Katamari as all those crumbs, hairs or anything else that falls underneath the gets sucked inside. A bonus when cleaning your workspace, but not for the cleanliness inside your PC.

Zalman GS1000 Inside the Zalman GS1000 Zalman GS1000 Inside the Zalman GS1000
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The dual 120mm exhaust fans included with the case are Zalman own brand, and operate at 1,800RPM to cool the top left corner of the case, which thanks to the modern ATX layout, is occupied by the two hottest components, the CPU and GPU. The close proximity of these components to the exhaust fans should result in some solid temperature results, but the lack of rear intake fans will likely mean that there is no directed internal airflow, and thus the temperature of all your precious hardware inside will suffer.

In addition to this, the top panel fan mounts output hot air into the strangely shaped vent system with a large cavernous area between the case itself and the plastic bolted to it. It just seems to be utterly superfluous to the thermal design that simply obstructs the exhaust airflow.

Finally, Zalman has included pre-cut cable routing holes in the motherboard back plate, allowing you to tidy cables directly from the PSU bay in the base to where you need them on the motherboard, without obscuring the case’s airflow. Unfortunately we found most of our power supplies simply didn’t have long enough ATX and 8-pin EPS cables to route under the motherboard in order to take advantage of the feature. Since Zalman has chosen not to include cable management clips on the back of the motherboard tray too, you’ll also have trouble hiding your spare power supply cables on non-modular models up there, without liberal applications of sticky tape.