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Zalman Z11 Neo ATX Case Review

With more radiator space and a more-modern design, does Zalman’s Z11 Neo have the combination of cool and quiet to get our stamp of approval?

How We Test Cases

The components we used in this article only deviate from our official 2015 Reference system in motherboard. We swapped out the reference system's 10.5"-deep MSI X99S XPower AC for a standard ATX (9.6") model: the X99S Gaming 7.

Test System Components

Settings

CPU4.2GHz (42x 100MHz) @ 1.2V Core
MotherboardFirmware 17.8 (02/10/2015)
RAMXMP CAS 16 Defaults (1.2V)
GraphicsMaximum Fan for Thermal Tests

Drivers

GraphicsNvidia GeForce 347.52
ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.2.1019

Noctua’s NH-U12S fits a myriad of cases and motherboards, but cooling our overclocked Core i7-5930K is more challenging for its single-tower sink and one fan compared to the firm's larger designs.

Triple axial fans in Gigabyte's GV-N970G1 Gaming-4GD keeps its GPU exceptionally cool at moderate noise, while dumping its heat directly into the case.

Power comes from the 80 PLUS Platinum-rated Dark Power Pro 10 850W by be quiet!

Benchmark Suite

Our new test platform runs hot and quiet, negating the dramatic performance differences its predecessor was designed to produce.

Prime95 v27.964-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 threads
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3.0, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped
Real Temp 3.40Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/2 m, corrected to 1 m (-6 dB), dBA weighting

Noise is measured .5m from the case’s front corner, on the side that opens. The numbers are corrected to the 1m industry standard used by many loudspeaker and fan manufacturers by subtracting six decibels.

Comparison Cases

  • Alexandru Tudor Sarbu
    I have one and it's awesome! :D
    Reply
  • danlw
    I would be interested to see it up against the Fractal Design R5. That's the case I'm planning to get, but I can be swayed.

    But really, Zalman? Break away slot covers? You came so close to knocking it out of the park...
    Reply
  • Steveymoo
    So, 6 months before all your components get covered in dust? :D
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15895020 said:
    So, 6 months before all your components get covered in dust? :D
    Put in another intake fan if you want positive pressure to trap most of your dust in the front filter :)

    Reply
  • King Kii
    I would be interested to see it up against the Fractal Design R5. That's the case I'm planning to get, but I can be swayed.

    But really, Zalman? Break away slot covers? You came so close to knocking it out of the park...

    go for the Fractal. Fractal's build, material quality, and thoughtfulness is very hard to beat. you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to their stuff.
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    Those hard drive mounts look like corsair rip offs.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15900142 said:
    Those hard drive mounts look like corsair rip offs.
    Nearly every time I see a statement like that, I'm able to find a previous product from a third brand to contradict it. Many of these ideas come from the ODM itself, rather than the brand that has the product customized to match its market.
    Reply
  • Eggz
    Great performance, a little ugly.

    But if you like the way it looks, then it seems like a great deal!
    Reply