If you’ve never bought a case from Zalman because you always thought they are too expensive, we have good news. Zalman is going to release a mainstream case series, called Z7, in March. Featuring two models, Z7 (USD 65 MSRP) and Z7 Plus (USD 75 MSRP), we had the privilege to review the Z7 Plus model one month before its launch. Let’s see if this product will be a good buy and in tune with Zalman’s reputation for quality.
The difference between Z7 and Z7 Plus is the presence of a meshed side panel on Z7 Plus, which comes with a 120 mm fan installed and a space for installing a second 120 mm fan (which comes with the product) and a controller to allow you to control the speed of these two fans. Interesting enough there is no other place that this spare 120 mm that comes with the case could be installed, so we wonder why Zalman wouldn’t simply ship this case with this fan already installed (Zalman explained us that depending on the height of your CPU cooler, this second fan can’t be installed, so they decided to ship this case with this fan uninstalled). These fans spin at up to 1,100 rpm, produce a maximum airflow of 44.72 cfm and a maximum noise level of 22 dB. You can, if you want, replace the side fans, as the two spaces available support 80, 92-, 120- and 140 mm models. On the regular Z7 you can add the two side fans, but no speed controller is available.
Another difference between Z7 and Z7 Plus is the presence of an eSATA port on Z7 Plus.
Z7 and Z7 Plus have nine external 5 1/4" bays, and on these case’s default configuration the top four are to be used with 5 1/4" devices (optical drives and liquid cooling solutions), the bottom one is to be used with an external 3 1/2" device, a hard disk drive or an SSD, and the other five are used by the hard disk drive cage. We will explore all the possible configurations later. All bays use meshed covers featuring air filters.
The case comes with a 120 mm attached to the hard disk drive cage, glowing blue when turned on. It uses a standard peripheral power connector, so you can’t install it on your motherboard in order to monitor its speed. Technical specifications are identical to the side fans.