Review computer case Zalman M1

Review computer case Zalman M1

We were on the review body size was minitower Korean company Zalman, known primarily for its broadest line of cooling systems for processors, cases and other accessories. The model is called the Zalman M1, and is so far the only representative of this family of buildings designed for the assembly of a full-featured game system based motherboard format Mini-ITX.

Body is not trying to seem compact, in fact, its dimensions are much larger than most microATX-hulls, and given the width – and then in no small part to the full-size miditower. Engineers and designers from Zalman in his model M1 decided to offer potential customers a more convenient option of building a gaming PC, which would simply collect and Serviced, sacrificing the additional expansion slots PCI-E, which, in most cases, are still unclaimed. In fact Zalman – is not the first company to introduce the body with the chassis; the most famous and popular models of similar type is Bitfenix Prodigy.

Currently Zalman M1 comes only in black version. Body packed in a box of ordinary cardboard on which painted a very detailed specifications. The set includes two preset fan size 120 mm, a brief assembly instructions, mounting screws and a set of single-use cable ties to a neat cable management inside the enclosure.

Zalman M1: Arrangement

At the heart of the layout Zalman M1 is split into two volumes: the top and bottom. At the bottom of the case is the power supply bay for optical drive and full-size one universal seat for 3.5 “/ 2.5” drive is hot-swappable.

Review computer case Zalman M1

Directly above the power supply unit is a base for mounting the motherboard. The front part of the upper volume is completely given over to the slots for hard drives and solid state drives. Housing, as we have noted, is not small, which in combination with this arrangement allows the CPU coolers up to 160mm, graphics up to 350 mm, as well as the most convenient and accurate stacking produce all signal and power cables.

Zalman M1: Design

Dimensions Zalman M1 constitute 261 (W) × 394 (V) × 426 (D) mm Weight without power supply – 6.8 kg (together with packaging – as much as 7.8 kg). So a lot of weight due to both dimensions of the body and thickness used for its production were: 0.8 mm for the side walls and the order of 0.7 mm for the main elements of the chassis.

Base front panel of the case is solid plastic frame, which fills the upper part of the steel mesh of the particle filter and the bottom – plastic flip-down door with a thin aluminum plate to make housing more expensive and impressive looking.

If you press the top of the dust filter, then hold it open and latch steel mesh in the plastic base just fall out of the housing. It can be vacuumed or washed under the tap, and then just as easy to install in place.

Review computer case Zalman M1

Plastic-aluminum door is also locked due to spring-loaded latch, but offers a more or less smoothly and slowly through the use of a simple mechanism of two plastic gears at its base. Behind this door hides a seat for an optical drive and one multi-purpose tray for the drive is hot-swappable. Also here you can find on-off switch to control the speed of the two fans. Plastic switch, convenient, except that much backlash, but it’s hard not to strain during operation.

At the top of the front panel is a red LED that shows the activity of the hard disk (HDD_LED). All other elements are at the forefront of the top wall of the housing. They include: a large square power button, reset button is a small round, two USB 3.0 ports and standard connectors for microphone and headphones. In this case, the power button has a small stroke and fires with a loud click, and a reset button, on the other hand, rod is pressed deeply and publishes a quiet and pleasant sound.

The power indicator (Power_LED) built into the power button, it glows blue, but not too bright even in complete darkness. Much more fun (and someone and grief) in terms of lighting gives the front fan, equipped with a bright blue backlit nondisconnectable.

Review computer case Zalman M1

Both the side and top wall of the housing disassembled independently. Each of them holds two thumbscrews that are easily unscrewed and twist without using a screwdriver.

The side walls are not different from each other, except that the left side plate affixed to “M1”, and on the right there is no inscriptions. The central part of the panel there is a rectangular area with small perforations and a particle filter. Its presence on the right logical and reasonable, while the left was quite possible to leave a blank panel, but the engineers and designers have decided that it would be nicer and better in terms of cooling components.

Not quite convenient that all the buttons and I / O ports are located on the removable top panel. It can be completely removed from the housing only so long as the wire from the connectors are not yet connected to the system board. Directly under the top panel hides a plastic base for the installation of two additional case fans, which is attached to the chassis through six are not the strongest jaws and one thumbscrew.

On the back wall of the housing, a second complete fan size 120 mm. Plugs for two expansion cards removable, fixed separately. Oddly enough, the area above them undisguised – get albeit small, but still a hole for the passage of dust into the body. In the lower portion of the rear wall is worth noting amusing handle formed in a ring-style door. It is attached to the steel frame, to which, in turn, is attached power supply. It is assumed that this handle can be pulled from the power supply housing for some distance without having to remove the side panels.

Review computer case Zalman M1

The lower part of the body repeats the design of the upper. This is the same plastic overlay with chamfered corners, slots only at its edges is not decorative, but real. It is through these cool air is supplied to the power supply, because in the central portion of the bottom wall there are no holes.Body set on four feet of high-quality soft rubber, which is absolutely not slide on a hard, flat surface. Body fall to the side rather than budge even an inch, so the easiest way to reposition it by lifting and dropping the desired location.

Zalman M1: Cooling system

Zalman M1 boasts a very advanced cooling system that perfectly cope with any load, which can only create modern accessories. Just housing has 4 seats for Hull fans, 2 of which are pre-installed by the manufacturer.

First fan size is 120 mm in the front of the chassis and working on blowing. It is made of clear plastic and is equipped with nondisconnectable backlit blue. The diodes are secured in the corners and directed into the plastic, which gives at the output the effect of the X-shaped illumination.

A second similar-sized fan is installed at the rear and running, respectively, for blowing. This is a simple model of the usual black plastic without any illumination. Both fans are mounted with conventional screws Phillips screwdriver, and connect a standard 3-pin connector.

Another two seats for 120-mm plastic fans are located on the frame beneath the top panel. Same here, if you wish, you can set the same size radiator water cooling system.

Review computer case Zalman M1

To control the speed of the two fans in the Zalman M1 controller is provided with a two-position switch. The fans are connected to it by a conventional 3-pin connector (it can be as housing and processor fan). Controller is powered by a single 4-pin peripheral connectors, providing a through connection. The controller is able to bring to the fans voltage 11.67 V and 5.24 V in positions High and Low respectively.

The situation with the dust filters in the Zalman M1 is not bad, but it can not be called ideal.Conveniently remove and clean the filter only two out of five large on the front panel of the drawer filter fine synthetic mesh disposed directly under the power supply. Dust filter top wall is also made of a synthetic mesh, sandwiched between the plastic substrate and a thin metal with perforations.On the side wall of the structure is similar, but here instead of the fine mesh applied porous material thickness of about 2-3 mm.

Zalman M1: Assembling the system unit

The method of attaching the side walls – reclining sliding. The mechanism works fine including the vertical position of the body, the wall can be quickly put in place, and this does not necessarily put the body on the side.

Four hollow hex to install the system board, pre-installed by the manufacturer, but the rear bracket for the I / O ports are traditionally absent.

The main hard drive cage is designed to fit three drives format 3.5 “or 2.5”. Each disc is mounted in a plastic tray. When it comes to full-size hard drive, the tray it just stretched by the elasticity of the plastic, while the disc is recorded in small plastic stops located on the site of the usual screws.If you want to install the drive noutbuchnogo format, then it will have to fasten four screws Phillips screwdriver to the bottom of the tray.

Tray-mounted disk is put in the basket on the guide and kept it exclusively due to the presence of four rubber seals. Fixing obtain reliable in the horizontal plane, but in a vertical tray goes to 3 mm minimum. Possibility to lock the drive in the screws basket, sadly lacking.

If desired, the entire basket can be removed completely by undoing only one thumbscrew. However, no practical advantage, this procedure will not, because in this case the distance between the edge of the basket, and disc graphics textolite length is approximately 20 mm. Accordingly, these two cross member are unlikely, even if the back side of the graphics accelerator to be attached additional elements of the cooling system.

To install an optical drive enough tilt door on the front panel, make the drive in and fix it with 4 screws Phillips screwdriver. It is a pity that the manufacturer has not provided the plug on this place, because the drive to the same full-sized, now very few people need, and a niche for its installation is very useful for laying extra cables from the power supply. With an installed drive open door looks normal, but without it catches the eye gaping hole in the bottom of which one can see some wires. It is understood that this and the door can not open, but nonetheless.

Review computer case Zalman M1

Plastic tray to install hot-swap drive, in fact, does not differ from those in the main tray basket.Wheels fixed therein the same way, the only difference is that in this fixed location is connected to the drive integrated SATA and power connectors. Of course, to the back of the pads need to bring the signal and supply cables, and power is not used for thin SATA-connector and a standard 4-pin peripheral connector.

On the main hard drive cage has a removable steel plate, which allows to install two 2.5 “drive. To do this, use the longer screws and rubber seals supplied. The screws are inserted into the seals and screwed to the side faces of the discs. After leaving only the disk match with the corresponding slots in the seat and move the disk toward the front panel to provide secure fixation. Drive though not screwed to the plate with screws, spacers rests on such a very reliable – backlash, even minimal, completely absent.

If necessary, this steel plate can also be removed from the body by unscrewing the 4 screws Phillips screwdriver. Theoretically, it can interfere with the installation of the radiator liquid cooling system, some non-standard, too large thickness.

Each of the two plugs for expansion slots PCI-E attached thumbscrews, although their easy loosening and tightening it’s better to use a screwdriver. In Zalman M1 can install any dual-slot graphics card up to 350 mm inclusive, while still have room for additional power cabling.

With the installation of the power supply engineers obviously a bit too clever by half.It would be enough to have a PSU in through the side wall and fasten 4 thumbscrews on the back. Instead, the garbage is proposed to dismantle the special frame fixed to the body 4 with conventional screws, then fasten it to the power supply 4 more conventional screws, and then start the PSU wires into the housing forward and screw the frame back. In this power unit is mounted on two strips of soft seal for vibration reduction, and is able to “roll out” of the body due to the presence of two plastic wheels on the bottom wall and the rear handle, which can be pulled over.

The design provides for installation of the power supply as the fan up to an additional cooling system board and the fan down – the classic version, in which the power supply gets cold air through the slots in the lower part of the body, produces hot through the rear wall and no further cooling system housing is not involved .

USB 3.0 ports on the front panel are connected monolithic 20-pin connector. Audio connectors are also connected monolithic connector standard HDA without backward compatibility with AC’97. Set of wires to connect buttons and indicators presented traditional loose.

It is important to note that due to the large width and thoughtful layout, Zalman M1 has a very convenient system of concealed cable management. All wires can be routed seamlessly as possible and without any harm to the quality of the cooling system. The only exceptions are the cables from the front panel, the length of which does not always allow them to pave the optimal way.

Assembling a PC in this package does not cause any problems even without using the complete instructions. It’s nice that all elements can always be easy to choose, including shoe front buttons and indicators, as well as the latch slot PCI-E graphics card to extract.

Zalman M1: Noise measurement

Noise measurement is carried out in accordance with our method using a sound level meter Octave-110A Eco soundproofed room with a typical noise level of 20 dBA. During the measurement, all appliances in the room are turned off.The noise level of the cooling system housing varies widely from 22 to 37 dBA, in the same range as wide changes and performance. When the fan supply voltage of 5 V noise level is very low even at the location of the microphone in the near field. However, with increasing voltage the noise increases markedly. Typically, the range of voltage regulation 7-11 in noise varies from low (26 dBA) to medium (36 dB) level with respect to typical values ​​for premises in the daytime. However, even when powered fan nominal voltage of 12 V noise cooling system is far from the threshold (“neergonomichnyh”) 40 dBA.

The housing is equipped with a full-time two-position fan controller, which is based on the passive switch and requires connection of two supply voltages: 5 V and 12 V, which includes a controller in a certain way. The advantages of such a scheme can be attributed fully silent operation of the switch, as well as the lack of noise from the fans having neaerodinamicheskoe origin, which sometimes occurs due to the work of the PWM controller.

Rate acoustic ergonomics of the body can be positively: the minimum supply voltage noise is very low, and at the maximum supply voltage noise becomes noticeable, though, but is stored at a comfortable level.

Zalman M1: Testing the effectiveness of the ventilation case

This phase of the study is testing with the help of software that load the various subsystems of the computer, which in turn, causes powerful enough heat. Thus it is possible to evaluate the performance and capabilities of the cooling system housing.

In testbed consisted of the following components:

  • Motherboard Asus P8H61-I LX
  • Processor Intel Celeron G540
  • CPU cooler Glacialtech Igloo i630 Light
  • Graphics card AMD Radeon HD 5750 with passive cooling
  • Hard drive Seagate ST9640320AS
  • RAM Kingston KVR1333D3N9 (2 bars)

This configuration is a standardized test for all small cases, so it includes a 2.5 “hard drive and CPU cooler with a height close to the minimum.

The temperature in the room during all tests remained unchanged at 24 degrees. Register temperatures SpeedFan program made in the following modes:

  • Idle – idle: the operating system, Windows 7 Home Premium with the included Antivirus MS Essentials and background processes for 1 hour.
  • Video (CPU) and Video (DXVA) – view video Full HD (BDRemux) with the player VLC 2.0 is turned off and turned on hardware decoder for 1 hour.
  • LinPack – CPU load calculation program benchmark Intel for 1 hour;this software is notorious for creating unusually high load on the CPU, warming it up to the maximum level.
  • FurMark – load the graphics accelerator, and to a lesser extent in specialized CPU benchmark for 1 hour.
  • FurMark + LinPack – simultaneous launch of both benchmark and run for 1 hour;here the load on the components of the PC should be maximized.

Testing has shown that the cooling system body copes well with their responsibilities, but for its most effective use is necessary to apply a higher CPU cooler and a video card with active cooling.

Passive radiator Radeon HD 5750 is out of the main air flow case fans, but even with such an unfavorable scenario, the difference between the fans 5 and 12 volts is 9 degrees at maximum load.

Hard drives in Zalman M1 have no direct heat sink on steel chassis housing, so completely disconnect the front fan, responsible, primarily, just for blowing the main basket, definitely not worth it.

Zalman M1:Positioning and conclusions

The creators of the Zalman M1 clearly positioning this body exclusively for enthusiastic gamers who for one reason or another wanted to collect a powerful gaming PC based motherboard format Mini-ITX. Use it to build a HTPC or general purpose computer is meaningless, because for this purpose on the market there are a large number of smaller and less expensive housings.

It is important to understand that the dimensions of Zalman M1 is much larger than that at most only Mini-ITX-, but microATX-competitors. He does not fit in most of the narrow niche of computer tables, and the table will take a lot of valuable space. But in the “working” place an enthusiastic gamer M1 will fit very harmonious, there will incidentally and its design, and the fan with lighting.

If you look globally, scold Zalman M1 almost not at all. It is possible to install full-size components (except the motherboard), it is well-designed cooling system, and collect the PC in this spacious housing pleasure.

Claims (and very important) to the body can only occur in humans pragmatic appreciating things in primarily conciseness, minimalism and lack of extra small elements made at a low level both in terms of design and in terms of technical implementation. In this case, can not be disabled lights, dangling hard disk trays that falls on the front grille, plastic gears, wheels under the power supply handle and a la knocker on the rear wall – all these little things, taken together, can easily spoil the impression of a good product . But here, again, all highly dependent on the subjective perception.

Review computer case Zalman M1 updated: January 17, 2015 author: John Malkovich