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Four More Sub-$100 Cases For Your Gaming Build, Reviewed

Building With The MS800 Plus

The MS800 Plus includes a three-drive backplane, necessitating that all drives have connectors in the same location. Offsetting 2.5” drives to one side solves the location issue, but fitting a drive there requires that you first pull out one of the 3.5” drive mounting pins.

The backplane is designed for straight-ended cables, but some motherboards ship exclusively with 90° connectors on one end. Those fit too, as long as you're willing to sacrifice the backplane’s fan power connector. We connected its fan to the front-panel controller.

Also seen in the photo above is a raised tray edge around an inch from the motherboard’s front. That could prevent cable insertion on oversized 10.5”-wide motherboads, such as the Asus P9X79 WS we used to use for these tests. Fortunately, our P9X79 Pro replacement fits the 9.625” ATX form factor.

Standard-sized motherboards and long cards fit nicely, along with oversized power supplies and a slew of front-bay devices. We shoved our 2.5” drive into the top backplane slot and our optical drive into the top bay, fastening the latter with Zalman’s twist-lock drive latch.

High-quality materials and a high-quality finish give this MS800 Plus build a look that far exceeds its price.

  • jdwii
    Why no love for coolermaster its easily the best Case company out there, i rarely even consider anything else. For just 60$ they offer one heck of a deal.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    jdwiiWhy no love for coolermaster its easily the best Case company out there, i rarely even consider anything else. For just 60$ they offer one heck of a deal.Tom's HardwareOf the 28 companies we invited to participate, 11 responded with cases they thought would give the Tom's Hardware audience the best balance between quality, features, and price. We divided the round-up into three groups based on when each of the samples arrived.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    Sorry about the double post, I can't seem to find the delete button :) Moderators?
    Reply
  • griptwister
    Wow! Looking for a new case! It's time to upgrade my Antec OneHundred windowed. it's too loud with all the fans. and the PSU. Looks like I'll be going with a Zalman MS800 for my next rig! I liked the look of the z11 better at first, but seeing what the MS 800 looks like with a few LEDs, it seems classy and sleek yet not overdone. Great review THW!
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    Thank you for not doing a slide show for this like the other reviews.

    Also, still looking forward to a review of the Cooler Master HAF XB.
    Reply
  • dalmvern
    slomo4shoThank you for not doing a slide show for this like the other reviews. Also, still looking forward to a review of the Cooler Master HAF XB.
    Apparently you were unaware of the slideshow they released last week. What Toms has done with all of these round ups was take the pictures and post them, then once they get done with their battery of tests they post the results and commentary afterward.
    Reply
  • nd22
    Excellent review! I like to get the best possible performance for the money I spent and it seems that these cases you reviewed are perfect for a mid-end gaming build I am planning to do! How about some exotic cases to review for us Tom? For example I would like to see a review of cooler master haf xb or fractal 304.
    Reply
  • sincreator
    It's about time Zalman sent you guys one of their budget oriented cases. I bought the Zalman Z9+ for $34.99 last year with free shipping from NCIX, and I absolutely love the case. Great quality with a huge amount of features for a case of that price. It has more features than my brothers Antec 900 surprisingly, and it probably should of been $70-80. I'm not complaining though. lol. I have recommended the MS 800 and the Zalman Z9+ to a few friends, depending on their budget. They all loved the cases and were shocked at what they got for the money. I'd love to see more reviews for Zalman's cases on Tom's.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    Ok. Where are the Tom's models?

    Inner butt cheek. Side boob. That's what's going to sell cases. :)
    Reply
  • Crashman
    ubercakeOk. Where are the Tom's models?Inner butt cheek. Side boob. That's what's going to sell cases.Sorry, all the models near this location are BBW. I don't believe that would go-over with the majority :p
    Reply