Zalman MS1000-HS2 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on December 8, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Let’s take a look at the latest steel mid-tower case from Zalman, MS1000-HS2, which features six hot-swap bays and much more. Of course the use of steel instead of aluminum made this case to be heavy, but on the other hand allowed it to arrive on the market with a nice price tag for a product with so many features.

MS1000-HS2 is officially available in two colors options, black or white, but we could only find the black model being sold in the USA.

Like other cases from Zalman, MS1000-HS2 has a very sober and professional looks.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 1: Zalman MS1000-HS2 case.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 2: Zalman MS1000-HS2 case.

In Figure 3, you can see the front panel from this case. As you can see, this case doesn’t have a front door. This case has four external 5.25” bays (two of them coming with 5.25”-to-3.5” adapters, and one of these featuring a 2.5” adapter) and like other cases from Zalman (like GS1000 and GS1000 SE) the hard drives bays are accessible from the front panel. Each square module you see in Figure 3 is a removable cage that holds three 3.5” hard disk drive bays. We will talk more about them later.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 3: Front panel.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 features a huge air filter on its bottom panel, accessible from outside the case. You need to remove one screw to remove this filter.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 4: Bottom panel.

Introduction (Contíd)

The reviewed case comes with one 120 mm fan installed on the top panel (no word about specifications; this fan uses a regular peripheral power connector, so you can’t install it on your motherboard to monitor its speed) and a space for installing another 120 mm fan, which doesn’t come with the case. Both spaces also support 140 mm fans.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 5: Top panel.

On the top part of the case you can find a panel containing two USB ports (too close to each other), an eSATA port and mic in and headphone jacks.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 6: Connectors found on the top panel.

Finally we have the rear panel in Figure 7. On this case the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case. This case has a 120 mm fan on its rear panel (no word on speed, airflow or noise level; like the top fan it uses a regular peripheral power connector) and two holes for hoses from water cooling devices. These holes use a rubber cover, so you won’t need to break anything on your case to have them available.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 7: Rear panel.

This case has a very interesting feature: the expansion cards are screwed from outside the case, instead of being screwed from inside. It also has a plate for holding the cards attached to the rear side using a thumbscrew.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 8: Expansion cards are held from outside the case.

Let’s see how MS1000-HS2 looks like inside.

Inside MS1000-HS2

The side panels are attached to the case through thumbscrews, which is great. Both panels are made of steel using a plastic sheet outside, but only the left one (portayed in Figure 9) has a foam sheet attached in order to reduce the noise produced by the computer.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 9: Side panel.

In Figure 10 you have an overall look from the interior of this case.  The motherboard tray has a big hole for accessing the retention mechanism from the CPU cooler, allowing you to replace it without the need of removing the motherboard from the case, and four smaller holes on the edge to allow you to route cables (especially the ones coming from the power supply) through the back of the motherboard tray, helping to reduce the number of loose cables inside the case, organizing thing inside the computer and improving the internal airflow.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 10: Inside MH1000-HS2.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 11: Back of the motherboard tray.

Another overall look inside the case can be seen in Figure 12. As explained the daughterboards are fastened from outside the case and not from inside.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 12: Overall look.

On MS1000-HS2 the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case, with its fan facing down, matching the existing air filter. On the bottom panel there is a space for installing a 120- or 140 mm fan, which also uses the bottom filter.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 13: Bottom panel.

The Disk Drive Bays

As mentioned, this case has four external 5.25” bays, which use a completely screwless mechanism, shown in Figure 14. The bottom two bays come with two adapters. One of them allows you to install 3.5” devices and the other one allows you to install both 3.5” and 2.5” devices. Both support floppy disk drives and hard disk drives.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 14: 5.25” bays.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 15: Adaptors.

The 3.5” hard disk drive bays are definitely the highlight from MS1000-HS2. They are available in removable two cages that are accessed from the front panel of the case. Each cage has three drawers featuring hot swap connectors, so you can add and remove hard drives to this case without needing to install cables to the drive (you will need to install the cables to the connectors available on the rear part of the cages, of course). What is important here is that all six bays have hot swap connectors – usually cases with this feature only have one or two of them.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 16: One of the cages viewed from the front panel.

The Disk Drive Bays (Contíd)

You can see one of the hard disk drive drawers in Figure 17. If you pay attention you will notice several rubber rings that work as noise absorbers.

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Figure 17: One of the drawers.

The rear part of each cage is really interesting. The top cage comes with a 92-mm fan installed (details about specs weren’t given), but the bottom cage doesn’t.  So you should install your first three hard drives on the top cage (or on the bottom cage, if you move the fan to it). The cage has an individual high/low speed controller for each fan, which is really nice. In Figure 19, you can see all the connectors present on each cage.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 18: Hard disk drive cages.

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case
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Figure 19: Connectors on one of the cages.

Since the cages are removable, you can, if you want to, remove one of the cages to gain three extra 5.25” bays. In fact you could even remove the two of them in order to gain six 5.25” bays.

Main Specifications

Zalman MS1000-HS2 case main specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

Zalman MS1000-HS2 is a mid-tower case targeted to the high-end user that wants a case loaded with features – in particular hot swap connectors – but doesn’t want to buy a more expensive full-tower model.

Strong Points

  • Outstanding quality. No sharp edges that you could cut yourself while building your PC.
  • The number of hard disk drive bays is enough even for the very high-end user.
  • Hot swap connectors on all the six hard disk drive bays.
  • Anti-vibration mechanisms for hard disk drives.
  • Meshed slot covers.
  • Expansion cards are fastened from outside the case.
  • Noise dampening foam on the left side panel.
  • Air filter on the bottom panel for the power supply fan and optional bottom fan.
  • Holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray.
  • Hole for accessing the backplate from the CPU cooler.
  • Screwless mechanisms for fastening optical and hard disk drives.
  • Support for one 2.5” device.

Weak Points

  • The two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
  • Could have come with four USB ports instead of only two.
  • Could have come with a foam sheet also on the right side panel.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Zalman-MS1000-HS2-Case-Review/880


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