Noiseless Computing: New Case Innovation From Zalman

Assembling The TNN 500A And Putting It To The Test, Continued

With our test unit, Zalman included a fairly well written manual that covers the installation of the TNN 500A. Unless you have previously assembled the TNN 500A, you will want to take a look at the manual because some of the installation of your parts into the TNN 500A are obviously different from that of a normal case. In the manual Zalman provides a list of tested and recommended components, you should consult this list before installing anything into the TNN 500A. While other parts selections can work, it is best to use a proven configuration as we did for testing. As an added bonus Zalman will be offering an installation video on their web site, which should help those encountering difficulty to get a better idea of the proper assembly process. Zalman has offered videos like this before to help with the installation of other Zalman products.

A look at all of the parts that come with the TNN 500A. Zalman is even nice enough to throw in the screw drivers that are necessary for the assembly of the TNN 500A.

This is a factor to consider prior to taking the plunge with the TNN 500A solution. The chassis itself is large, measuring in at 22.5" (H) by 11.25" (W) by 15.75" (D), and it is also very heavy. This is not surprising, since both of the side panels serve as giant heatsinks that are required for the convection cooling technology that the TNN 500A employs. The TNN 500A sits on four adjustable casters, which can support up to one ton and offer protection from sliding as well as a height adjustment feature. With everything installed inside our TNN 500A, it was somewhat of a beast, weighing in at 25Kg. The case offers two handles on its top offering portability; but due to its dimensions and weight, this chassis would not be an optimum choice for gamers or users who move their PCs frequently.

The construction material of the 500A is aluminum. Our sample case was finished in black with a smooth finish. Considering the thickness of the case, ranging from 5 mm to 7 mm, there was no obvious bend or twist to the case. The TNN 500A offers a door in the front, which displays a smooth and sturdy action, and was well constructed and appropriate for this type of case.

The case only offered 2 USB 2.0 ports in the frontand of course these are hidden behind the door so one has to open the case to access them. Considering the cost of the TNN 500A, this is an unacceptable arrangement. The internal components of the TNN 500A were fairly well finished. We did find a few rough areas, but for the most part, the case was free of any areas that would injure the user during installation.

The radial fins and corners of the outer shell of the case, on the other hand, can be more problematic, as bumping into one of these at the right angle, will certainly inflict some pain to the unfortunate clumsy person. The overall look of the TNN 500A is very professional, which certainly goes along with the market that Zalman is trying to reach.

It would be nice to see Zalman use some fancier graphics or a paint stripe or two to dress up the TNN 500A, or perhaps something to call attention to the fact that it is a noiseless solution. The TNN 500A's look is acceptable, but not stellar.