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Three High-End Liquid-Cooling Cases Compared

Zalman Z-Machine LQ1000 Design and Features

We showed a run-down of Koolance’s component prices, so it’s fair to show the same information for Zalman’s LQ1000.

ComponentPart NumberPrice
Case KitLQ1000$700
CPU Water BlockIncluded0
PumpIncluded0
NozzlesIncluded0
TubingIncluded0
CoolantIncluded0
Total Price$700

Zalman’s liquid-cooled case contains all the basic components needed for CPU cooling, and the company also offers water blocks for graphics cards and chipsets. Zalman’s selection of graphics coolers isn’t nearly as extensive or current as Koolance’s product line, but buyers are welcome to mix-and-match various brands of cooling components as desired.

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Zalman produces its own cases, and this allowed the company a little more flexibility in design. Manufacturing its own designs also allows Zalman its choice of materials, and the biggest thing that sets these apart from other brands is the extensive use of aluminum plate, rather than thinner sheet.

At only 18 3/8” tall, 19” deep and with front panel ports near the center of its front panel, the Z-Machine is designed specifically for you to place it on a desk. Similar dimensions were common in traditional case designs, but we’ve not seen a performance chassis this slight in a while. Also traditional, the “Power On Top” layout eases cable routing while allowing the power supply’s fan to assist the exhaust fan in removing system heat.

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Notice the finish, which is so matte that we had to use special lighting placement to get any reflection from it.

Four thumb screws hold hinged side panels shut. The screw holes are recessed for use with Allen screws, if desired. Deep fins on the rear door hide ventilation slots.

The right side has a matching door on its front portion for easy access to drive screws, but opening it requires an included Allen wrench. The finned rear portion is a removable motherboard tray, held by eight more Allen screws.

The LQ1000 radiator occupies around half of the left-rear door, while a reservoir above it consumes most of the remaining usable space. A 120 mm blue-LED exhaust fan is pre-mounted, while the radiator fan is boxed separately.

The LQ1000 includes a pump rated at a maximum of 300 liters per hour, which is mounted on a noise dampening pad. A support bracket over the top needs to be removed after shipping. Notice that the hose connector at the bottom of the radiator points directly away from the side panel, pushing any coolant line beneath expansion cards. Also notice the short piece of tubing, which is followed by a union and more tubing, but with one clamp missing.

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The LQ1000 includes Zalman’s retail-boxed ZM-WB5 CPU water block and installation kit, a 220 mm blue-LED fan, a bottle of coolant and funnel, an Allen wrench, a power supply jumper wire for “burping” the system, installation hardware, and an extra length of silicon hose.

The bottom of Zalman’s ZM-WB5 water block is almost perfectly smooth and appears to be plated in black nickel.

  • or buy a cheap case... mod it with a 50 $ dremel... and then add your own watercooling setup and get much better cooling performance...

    thats what i'm going to do... not buy some case w/ water cooling.... unless its like a modded lian-li case... but those are like 800 bucks... so no thanks
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Whoa the 4870 is still a pretty hot one even with that massive Koolance radiator. I wonder if that can be improved using a custom build with 2 separate loops and radiators - would be a bit more hassle though. Also be interesting to see how it compares to a 4870 X2 - my first assumption would be the X2 is hotter but that might not be the case as there could be a larger flow and surface area to allow for more heat dissipation. If your talking W/C for silent running, then custom built systems with big passive radiators (Toyota anyone?) and a good pump or 2 has to be the only true solution. Otherwise you're just running fans like an air cooling rig and the name of the game is still who has the quietest one..
    Reply
  • yadge
    nerrawgWhoa the 4870 is still a pretty hot one even with that massive Koolance radiator. I wonder if that can be improved using a custom build with 2 separate loops and radiators - would be a bit more hassle though. Also be interesting to see how it compares to a 4870 X2 - my first assumption would be the X2 is hotter but that might not be the case as there could be a larger flow and surface area to allow for more heat dissipation. If your talking W/C for silent running, then custom built systems with big passive radiators (Toyota anyone?) and a good pump or 2 has to be the only true solution. Otherwise you're just running fans like an air cooling rig and the name of the game is still who has the quietest one..
    I'm pretty sure the videocards weren't water cooled.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    thogromor buy a cheap case...Yea but alot of cheap cases are fugly.
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Hehe whoops you're right - I guess I should have looked at the pics - no wonder it was so hot. Don't understand why they didn't use some splitters and cool 4870beast #1. Can't see how you can complain about noise and temp when you're not even using your full 750-1000W water cooling capasity. Also good eye editor on changing frames per sec to temperature celsius on graph X axis.
    Reply
  • gaiden
    nice info, though i'm not sure, as hardware gets smaller - lesser heat, would i need a water-cooled setup. personally i think fan setup with a top of the line HS would do plenty. the TJ-09 and Lian Li's are very well built - i have a 7 fan setup + IFX-14 in a lian li 2100 plus II cant hear anything at all. (though it really helps to get good fans :) for GPU's there are several 'spot-cooler' options. overall 7-8 'good' fans + 1 'awesome' cooler would cost only less than 1/2 of the $500 TH spent on water-cooled solution, and the air-cooled should improve air movement inside the case as well.
    Reply
  • stoner133
    I find it strange that the video card temps are so high, I run a Koolance system and using their waterblocks on both of my 4870's in crossfire my temps never get above 42c after hours of playing Crysis and my coolent reaches the GPU's after it goes thru the CPU waterblock. The two degree temp difference does happen, AOD does show the first card at 40c while the second is 42c.
    Reply
  • stoner133
    thogromor buy a cheap case... mod it with a 50 $ dremelhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dremel ... and then add your own watercooling setup and get much better cooling performance... thats what i'm going to do... not buy some case w/ water cooling.... unless its like a modded lian-lihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lian_Li case... but those are like 800 bucks... so no thanksThe Koolance cases are modded Lian Li cases and there no where near $800, they start at just under $400 and go to just over $600
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    They could have silver plated the Koolance CPU-340 block instead of gold plating it (silver > than gold in heat transfer).

    These kits are worth an entire PC so imo, I would mod it my self. It's not that hard to do, providing you have the time to do it.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9463632 said:
    The Koolance cases are modded Lian Li cases and there no where near $800, they start at just under $400 and go to just over $600

    The case with no pump, water block, or reservoir is $400, but what do you do without the parts? A basic liquid cooling kit from Koolance, complete with only the needed parts, starts at around $600.

    Also notice:

    Test Configuration
    Liquid cooling often offers excellent cooling capacity, but that wouldn’t matter much if hot case air destabilized another part of the system. In order to test both, we used an overclockedhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking Intel Core 2 Quad processor to heat the liquid and a pair of HD 4870http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radeon_R700 X2 graphics cards to heat the air.

    Graphics was left air-cooled to help determine effectiveness of case airflow. It would have been even better to use two 4850's for that, since they don't vent outside the case.
    Reply