Being completely honest, previous cases from Zalman may have looked unique on the outside, but when you got inside, it was like looking at a blast from the past for the design and layout. With the Z11 Neo, this has all been addressed, and while it is missing grommets inside, and it does have multi-colored wiring, there is plenty of modularity and up to date offerings to be had. The removable cages are great for water cooling use, and space needed for longer video cards. We also like that while only one 5.25" bay is accessible outside the chassis, it is done behind a stealth panel, and the second and third bays are then offered up with brackets as storage bay options. So, even with all of the HDD rack out of the chassis, you still have three locations for storage, so they won't be missed all that much.
Yes, we know the front is plastic, but that doesn't stop us from liking the brushed metal faux treatment that is only broken up with the chromed Zalman name at the bottom. We like the way it is rounded back from the center, we like the forward lean it has, and we definitely dig the ducts used at either side. Some may think it is childish, but the ducting does work, and there is additional flow added to the mostly blocked LED fan placed as the main intake fan.
The blue LEDs are a nice touch, but we wanted more of them. They are at least placed where they can be seen well, like looking through the ducts or peering down at the top of the chassis, and the use of translucent louvers in the top is also a nice touch to help that top fan really shine. So, while you may think cooling is limited in this design, the way Zalman offers up the Z11 Neo, airflow inside of the chassis is of no real concern; especially when the HDD rack is removed like we had it.
You may very well be able to find a mid-tower chassis that has a couple more features like grommets, a bit more room or compatibility in the water cooling department, or even a chassis that has all of the wiring in black, if those are things that will really bother you. However, the exterior design, and the grapes it takes to do something so outside of the box and the automotive like take on design has us liking this case a whole lot. While the amber tinted window does make this chassis scream for interior lighting for a good view through it, for around $80, the Zalman Z11 Neo mid-tower chassis is indeed worth the investment.
For those looking for aggressive and bold styling, just a hint of sophistication mixed in, and a feature set that will appeal to the masses out there, this chassis is one that is well worth a look and serious pondering when looking for your next mid-tower chassis.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||93%|
|Bundle and Packaging||92%|
|Value for Money||96%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||94%|
The Bottom Line: Zalman stepped out of its tradition and delivered an aggressively styled, yet sleek chassis that has an automotive vibe and ton of cooling. For what they offer in the Z11 Neo, we feel it is very much worth the investment.
PRICING: You can find the Zalman Z11 Neo for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The Zalman Z11 Neo retails for $77 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The Zalman Z11 Neo retails for £63 at Amazon UK.
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.
Canada: The Zalman Z11 Neo retails for $152 CAD at Amazon Canada.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [Zalman Z11 Neo Mid-Tower Chassis]
- Page 4 [Inside the Z11 Neo]
- Page 5 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 6 [Case Build and Finished Product]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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