Tom's Hardware Verdict
G.Skill’s Z5i isn’t the most practical Mini-ITX case, nor is it a great performer. But its bent glass panels do look absolutely stunning.
+ Unique, pretty design with bent glass
+ Includes RGB
+ Easy to build in, by ITX standards
No front headphone or mic jacks
Relies entirely on AIO for cooling
Pricey due to bent glass
Awkward bottom IO
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You probably know G.Skill for making some of the best RAM, particularly for overclockers. But from time to time the company likes to dabble in other categories, like peripherals. But today we’re reviewing another unicorn: A G.Skill PC case. The chassis in question is the G.Skill Z5i, which is a compact ITX case with a strong focus on looks.
As such, the Z5i has two bent–yes bent–glass panels with a dark tint, making it quite an eye catcher. This also makes it somewhat expensive at $199, but in all honesty, the price isn’t all that outrageous if you consider that many other low-volume ITX cases can easily run upwards of $300.
So without further ado, let’s find out if it G.Skill’s latest chassis deserves a spot on our best PC cases list.
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||16.4 x 7.5 x 12.1 inches (417.5 x 190 x 307.5 mm)|
|Max GPU Length||13.0 inches (330 mm)|
|CPU Cooler Height||2.6 inches (70 mm)|
|Max PSU Size||SFX|
|Internal Bays||1x 3.5-inch|
|Row 8 - Cell 0||2x 2.5-inch|
|Front I/O||2x USB 3.0, USB-C|
|Rear Fans||Up to 2x 140mm|
Touring around the outside of the G.Skill Z5i, you’ll notice it’s clearly a case designed by G.Skill. The triangular front end and tidy appearance is highly reminiscent of the Trident Z Neo memory modules. And as you’ll see later, they go together quite well, too.
The case’s frame is made from steel, with some plastic elements, and the front and rear are made from brushed aluminum. Meanwhile, the sides are the real centerpieces. Made from gorgeous, 4mm thick bent glass panels, they give the case a very chic, slick appearance. Their tint is quite dark, but this is a good thing as it’s difficult to hide cables in ITX builds, and the dark tint ensures you only really see the RGB-illuminated components on the inside.
Front IO consists of two USB 3.0 ports and one USB Type-C port. Headphone and mic jacks are missing here, and although I generally don’t consider this a huge issue on many cases as rear audio performs better anyway, these ports can be handy if you quickly need to plug in a headset for a call, as the case’s ‘rear’ IO is at the bottom, requiring tilting the entire system over to access.
At the bottom of the case you’ll find the system’s main IO, along with two addressable-RGB strips that connect to your motherboard. The G.Skill logo also has RGB illumination, and the whole lot runs through just a single convenient connector.
To open the chassis, you simply pull the front of the glass panels to swing them out and away from their magnets, after which you can remove them from the hinges for easy assembly.
On the left side of the chassis you’ll find space for an ITX motherboard and SFX power supply. Flip over to the right, and there is room for up to 330mm long, triple-slot graphics cards, which is enough room for up to an RTX 3090. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice GPU length, you can install a 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drive in the top area. Either way, two more 2.5-inch drives fit on the central spine, at the rear.
When it comes to cooling, the Z5i won’t be the strongest case, and this is likely to be its biggest drawback. The good news is that you’ll be able to fit up to a 280mm radiator at the back, so your CPU will, whichever way, be cooled more than adequately. However, this is the only cooling present in the chassis – no fans are included, nor are there any other positions to mount fans in the case.
Meanwhile, there are also no effective dust filters. There is a metal filter at the top of the case that will protect from falling dust, but the bottom doesn’t have a filter, so users will witness significant dust buildup and require frequent-ish cleaning cycles.
Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.
Man, that'll look great on my floor behind my desk.Reply
On a more serious note. The GSkill logo ruins the looks of the case. I don't know why so many cases do this. It looks tacky. It should just be in small print hidden with the serial number inside the case.
It's not as though it's some household brand either. People might want the Nike swoosh or Apple logo to impress for some reason. But some brand only a small fraction of people ever heard of. Not so much.
This is a very niche design, and if it allowed a couple of more fans I would give it a try. Anyone that doesn’t need any more cooling definitively should consider it, it looks good and looks solid.Reply
Great review. I also just want to say, stunning photography. I thought those were press shots at first, then saw they were taken by the author. Well done!Reply
Do you have any information about when it will be available? G-Skill's press release for this case came out months ago, but I don't see the case offered anywhere.Reply