Zalman Z-Machine GT1000
The GT1000 from Zalman is special, and not only because of its price—the Z-Machine GT1000 is sold for $399 in many online shops, making it the most expensive in our test. The build of the aluminum case is exemplary. There are no sharp edges at all, either inside or outside the case. The left side wall consists of two doors that can be opened using knurled screws, and the right side also has two doors, though those are closed using Allen screws. On the front you will find two illuminated system fans that draw cool ambient air into the housing, though they aren’t very quiet. An additional 120 mm fan sits inside the case and blows the warm air out. Note that the fan illumination can’t be turned off.
Inside, Zalman has installed a mounting system for hard drives; up to six drives can fit in the GT1000, with none of them directly touching the case. Four drives sit in a special cage on top rubber wheels, with the cage supporting and securing them in place. A knurled screw supports the mounting roll so that the hard drive sits securely in its cage. Two additional 3.5 inch hard drives can be installed on the floor of the case, and there is also rubber there to decouple them.
One disadvantage of the Z-Machine GT1000 is that the 5.25 inch drive slot on the very top does not have a protective cover. That means that you need to have at least one 5.25 inch drive installed.
Same price range looks better and PSU at the bottom, i like that.
You could set these case up with a Q6600 @ 3Ghz, HD 4870 512Mb and a 650 watt PSU (with stock coolers) and loop 3Dmark06/Vantage for an hour and see if the cases can keep the PC cool enough for that long.
Side intake doesn't have a Dust filter. I had to use that fan as an exhaust until I can order one for it, which means that the case wont have positive airflow until then.
Its really heavy. This case weighs more then my Lian Li full tower case.
It doesn't have a removable Motherboard tray.
One thing that was well thought out was the 3 fans that were not included. While this sounds like a draw back, it isn't. The 3 optional fans that are availible are the 3 most visible fans in the case. Which means that you can customize the color of LED fans you want in it.
I used 3 green antec led 120 mm fans in this case and the air flow is phenomenal.
However having owned the Lian Li B25 I disagree with your comments regarding complexity of installation of the hard drives. Having only built one other system I can say that it takes perhaps 30 sec more than normal to figure out what to do. Also I would have liked to see more details about noise regarding all cases. i can't say for the other but the B25 had sound dampening foam on the front door and on the top cover, the side panels were hollowed out further dampening the noise, the hard drives were connected using rubber (grommets I believe) and there were additional anti vibration features (cant remember) and the feet of the case also used rubber.
1) You could've made a few pictures of the packaging. Cases are things your visitors can see, and you'd want them to be transported to you without taking any, visible or otherwise, damage. Silverstone do an outstanding job at this, and so does antec, but I don't think zalman or thermaltake would care much for the packaging quality (they care about flash stuff, not quality stuff after all). Also I'd have liked a list of noise levels for the cases.
Perhaps you can make another roundup, without limiting yourself to a specific case size and color, of potential gamer cases. And at the end of the roundup make a comparison list with external dimentions, motherboard orientation, weight and noise levels. I'm still using an old thermaltake lanfire chassis for a lan gamer, cause though it's ugly, it's very very light (3kg) and rather well built.
On another note - does anyone know if it is possible to only buy the side panel for that aerocool chassis ? I'd like to built such a door into a new top cover for my custom desktop system ...
Not sure why you would base a recommendation on this information however.
Throw a couple overclocked 4850s and an overclocked C2D in those cases and measure the various temps and get a decibel reading from a fixed point. Those are the things I should know before buying a case.
Some recommendation can be at use for many folks.
On a side note, I think coolermaster may not be represented because they didn't send in any case in time - it's entirely possible they were asked to take part.