Zalman TNN-500A Fanless PC Case Review - What's Good About the Zalman Case
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Having no fans is great of course. We do also like:
Overall Build Quality: Solid, unshakeable, impeccable quality build. Even the Thermaltake (Xaser III) and the Coolermaster ATCS 710 (which has been described as a Sherman tank) look flimsy in comparison. This case has presence. It's imposing. It weighs the better part of 40 KGs when fully built, and the volume of space it occupies could be used for a small housing complex (or at least a couple of standard ATX midi tower cases).
Castors: Highly thought out, well-designed implementation. This case can take the combined weight of both my mothers-in-law (only kidding!), and according to Zalman each foot can support a ton. Looking at the castors/feet you'll have no doubt that this is indeed possible.
Having the wheels is of course a useful feature on this heavy of a case, but what if you want to put the case on a desk? You don't want to take the chance of it rolling off the table onto your toes. Ouch! That's where you rotate the control on each foot to extend the feet. The wheels then lose contact with the table and your PC is rock stable on the four very solid feet. (If you do have a wobble it's because you haven't extended all the feet to the same length, and it's easily corrected).
Power Supply: The power supply is the noisiest part in many PCs. It's the main route for hot air being pumped out. Not only do PSU fans tend to be a lot larger than other fans in a PC, but they also tend to create a lot more noise. Building a PSU without a fan is a technical achievement itself but Zalman has gone even further. The TNN-500A PSU is only 300 watts but bear in mind that you need a lot less power in this PC as you have no fans. However, the 300 watts it does provide is subject to review and, it appears, they are working on beefier units.
Handles: Strong, sturdy design of pewter finish handles adds that little sparkle to the top of this all black case. And it's a nice touch. The fact that there are two handles suggests that the case never really was designed for a single person to lift. However, it doesn't take an Arnold Schwarzenegger to get the case off the ground and on to a table. A reasonably fit adult could probably do it. Having two handles rather than one does make it easier to share the load.
Versatility: Heat transfer pipes connect the graphics card and CPU heat sinks to the blue heat sink blocks that are screwed down at various locations on the inside of the case. There are several sets of holes for you to screw these blocks into. The advantage in being able to move these blocks around is that you can use pretty much any motherboard (not all!) in the TNN500A.
Door hinges and clasps: The clasps that hold the doors shut have a nice "clunk" to them and they even have some limited adjustment to increase/decrease the holder wheel play. The hinges are solid and more than capable of taking the weight of the two side plates - Zalman calls them the left and right heat sink plates. (Left heat sink plate is open in the below image with the PC resting on its right heat sink plate).
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