Zalman makes chassis that are usually the envy of any gamer across the planet. The designs are eye-catching but have been lacking recently in other areas, as competitors move to support USB 3.0 and water-cooling setups. Zalman decided to join in the trend with the Z5 family which they launched recently and it looks really sharp. One could even put this up against the NZXT Phantom and see some similarities.
Hit the jump for more sexy pictures!
The chassis is finished in black matte paint inside and out and features a good use of plastic on the front and top panels. Inside its composed of 2mm SECC steel treated to avoid rust and bended to avoid accidental cuts while you’re building up your dream rig. Zalman follows the trend of putting in a storage space on the top and housing the USB and audio ports there as well. There is sadly only one USB 3.0 port and no mention is made whether its a proper front-panel header, or the crappy and cheap implementation by running a cable through the top of the chassis to he back of the motherboard.
As you can see, the company has enough space for cable routing and has even chose to do right off that bat what most enthusiasts automatically do – remove the second drive cage for extra airflow. I expect the company will sell a second drive cage separately, but this is the first indication that this isn’t a high-end chassis. Its designed and targeted for gamers exclusively, allowing the use of extremely long graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI configurations.
My only problem with the layout is the raised edges of the cable management slots on the right-hand side of the board area and the extra 2.5″ drive storage space at the very bottom of the chassis. Should you use a motherboard that fits in the e-ATX space, your bottom SATA connectors might be blocked by the raised metal. Additionally, it looks like extra-long power supplies in the 1000W range and up may have an issue with cable routing, as they may block the bottom hole a bit. in spite of this, it looks like a great buy for any system builder and a good first choice should this be your first chassis purchase.