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Top-Tier Chassis Zalman H1 Review

Zalman has long been deprived of a full-tower flagship PC chassis, after it discontinued the line of GS1200. The anticipation of a new etalon was accompanied by an overall market uncertainty as for the future of desktop platforms. Luckily, laptops and tablets couldn’t fully satisfy the customers’ growing needs, so Zalman decided to fire off with a new top-tier case, entitled H1. Stylish and magnetic from outside, this model has a lot of interesting options in the bins. Let’s have a look at them.

Key Features

Zalman H1 is a full-tower case, featuring 561x238x570 mm dimensions. The chassis is made of steel, aluminum and a high-quality plastic, with exterior and interior totally painted black. Internal layout allows for the installation of motherboards with elongated PCBs, including E-ATX and XL-ATX models. The model houses three external bays for 5.25-inch drives, seven internal bays for 2.5-/3.5-inch drives as well as nine expansion slots.

The case boasts some peculiar facilities, i.e. a thermal sensor, dust filters, a hot-swapping system, a 8-pin demountable CPU power supply extension cord, GPU support stand, an acrylic side window, three independent switches for front, rear and top fans, AHV system for an automatic startup of top fans and the opening of the top panel that depends upon the temperature within the chassis.

The H1 is delivered with a wide range of enclosed components, namely: a user’s manual, a set of three SATA sockets with a common power supply for a fast connection of drives, four one-shot cable couplings, eight framing nails for fans, seven additional stands for the motherboard (six are preliminary installed into the tray), six screws for PSU and expansion cards, thirty-five screws for the motherboard, ODDs and drives. This might be a comprehensive kit for a build-up of a high-performance system.

Exterior Options

The first thing that strikes the eye is a stylish exterior look, soaked up form the best chassis examples in the market. Thus, the frontal panel boasts the availability of grid-like hollows all the way around; they are intended for an optimal ventilation. Here, one might also find three blind plugs, covering 5.25-inch slots, as well as a special lid made of finished aluminum; the latter is targeting to ensure some additional ventilation when opened.

The frontal part of the top facet accommodates I/O panel. It consists of two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two 3.5 mm mini-jacks, Power and Reset buttons, and HDD/SSD indicator.

Alongside of the panel one will find three handles for the adjustment of fan rotational speed; the first two handles support a single fan each (frontal and rear), whereas the third one supports two fans and has the power to open/close the top shutters. Moreover, the top facet is equipped with a blue indicator for the shutters, indicator for an automatic ventilation mode, temperature set button, and thermometer window.

The left-side panel is equipped with an acrylic window, while the right-side panel is blind. Both facets are removed by pushing back, due to die-formed handles. The chassis itself stands on four plastic leg pieces; they ensure an appropriate isolation from vibrations and an optimal surface traction.

Internal Framework

Zalman H1 supports the installation of various motherboards, but only in a vertical aspect. The layout is ready to accept CPU coolers of up to 190 mm in height. Graphics cards (with the embedded drive cages) of up to 345 mm in length (without cages – up to 480 mm). The length of compatible PSUs is not limited; however if the user is going to install an additional stand for expansion cards, the length of PSUs should be limited by 200 mm.

To continue, this chassis offers a highly-efficient cooling solution for hard-core components. Hence, the top facet features two pre-installed 120 mm fans (ZA1225ASL), based on a slide bearing. Their maximal rotational speed makes up 1200 RPM at 45 dB noise level; still, their start-up speed makes up 500 RPM. The rear facet houses a single seat for 120/140 mm fan and two grommets for liquid-cooler tubes. The frontal facet comes with two seats for 120 mm fans (nonetheless, initially it is equipped with a single 200 mm fan with blue LED, rotating at 450-700 RPM), whereas the bottom section is all about perforated grids with two dust filters.

Nine expansion slots are fixed by means of thumbscrews. PSU bay is furnished with rubber dampers which reduce vibration and noise. Frontal facet is secured by six plastic levers; it might be removed if there is need to change the fan or retrieve the 5.25-inch plugs.
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  • 10 January 2015, 16:09
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