Taking into account everything we just saw with the Zalman MS800, some things impressed me, while other things bother me a bit, but I understand why it was done the way it was. Starting off with the good I like the styling, the shiny plastic is a bit much for me, but I like the design and layout. On the inside I really like the bay drive setup, it allows users to do whatever they want, and with some creativity, you could get fans in there, too. The motherboard tray is well ventilated, has a large access hole for the CPU, and offers plenty of holes and tie points to manage the wiring. Another thing I like is that they have a GPU support system that will work on standard video cards as well as video cards like mine with unusual coolers or ones with no access to the edge of the PCB to get its grip. Adding a fan to the top is a cool feature, but with no option to point the fan at anything, it's more or less just blowing air at the CPU cooler, it can't blow at anything on the board.
Then there were the things that sort of turned me off from this design. I understand the need to push the slots back to make room for 300mm video cards, but I don't like having the cover and needing to go outside the case to remove a cover or install a card. The motherboard tray could have been set in a bit further, but if that was done, even the bump is the door wouldn't be big enough to allow the usual suspects in tower coolers to even fit. I am glad there was just the 8-pin and two fan leads that needed to go to the right side, there isn't much room for more. Even on the left side of the tray it takes quite a bit of planning, running the wires, taking your time, and tucking the extra length back into the top of the chassis to keep things clean inside. I realize there isn't a way to see inside without the door panels being off, and since I had to pry at these to release them, you likely won't be showing your friends as you don't want to look like a tool fighting the door before they even get to see what's inside.
On the whole, the MS800 did pretty well. The cooling, its feature set, and the design and aesthetics are all something that will draw in the buyers. With a price before shipping of $89.99, I think the chassis would have been priced right on point. My real issue, and the reason I gave another case a low score, was for this very reason. If you fight to get in the chassis as the first encounter with it once it is out of the box, it is a real disappointment for one, and sort of brings that cloud over the case, making you look for other things that may have not received the attention is deserved.
To me the most functional thing on a chassis should have to deal with access to install my components, and without being able to offer that, I really can't get behind the MS800 with my recommendation. If you don't mind fighting the case every time you need access, by all means consider this chassis, it does have a lot of other cool things that can help sway your vote.
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