Large and expensive computer cases are not for everyone. Actually, their market share is very limited, as many users seek the most cost-effective and practical hardware. Today we are having a look at Zalman’s latest case design, the Z9 Neo. The Z9 Neo is a case designed to provide high performance and versatility while preserving a very enticing price tag.

Introduction

Zalman is a well-known name in computing enthusiast's cycles, having provided advanced cooling solutions from 1999. During the last half decade, the company was diversifying into other segments of the consumer PC market, such as cases and power supplies, but the progress of the company slowed down after Moneaul's scandal in 2014. Zalman legally severed their ties with Moneaul and, despite that setback, is moving on as an independent company since then, releasing new products and diversifying into other segments of the PC market.

It took several months for Zalman to recover and start introducing new products, but it does look like the company is ready to established a firm foothold into the market once again: Zalman has introduced a number of new cases, coolers and gaming peripherals during the past several months. In this review we are having a close look on the Z9 Neo, one of their most popular recent case designs. On paper, the specifications of the Z9 Neo seem very impressive, especially for the case with a price tag lower than $80.

 

Zalman Z9 Neo
Motherboard Size ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 2 × 5.25"
Internal 2 × 3.5"/2.5" (Drive's cage)
2 × 2.5" (Directly on the motherboard tray)
2 × 3.5"/2.5" (Into unoccupied 5.25" bays)
Cooling Front 2 × 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm (2 × 120 mm included)
Rear 1 × 120 mm (included)
Top 2 × 120 mm (2 × 120 mm Blue LED fans included)
HDD -
Bottom -
Radiator Support Front Up to 240 mm or 280 mm
Rear Up to 120 mm
Top Up to 240 mm
Side -
Bottom -
I/O Port 2× USB 3.0, 2× USB 2.0, 1× Headphone, 1× Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 160 mm
PSU 180 mm
GPU 420 mm
Dimensions 490 mm × 205 mm × 482 mm
19.29 in × 8.07 in × 18.98 in
Prominent Features · Optimized air flow cooling structure
· Exclusive cooling for Power Supply
· View through side smokey acrylic
· Black cover sash
· USB 3.0 Support & Convenient interface
· Dust filter installed
· Soundproof pad applied
· Separable upper panel
· Excellent expandability and wide space
· Velcro & rubber type hole
· Tool free HDD installation
Price $73.40

Packaging & Bundle

We received the Z9 Neo into a simple but sturdy brown cardboard box. The artwork is monochromic and based on a rough schematic of the case, with its basic specifications printed on the sides of the box. Although it is not much to gaze upon, the sturdy box and thick Styrofoam slabs provide adequate protection during shipping.

Zalman is trying to keep their products cost effective, so the very basic bundle was not a surprise for us. Only the basic mounting hardware, a few cable ties and a simple manual are being supplied alongside with the Z9 Neo. 

The Exterior of the Zalman Z9 Neo
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  • HollyDOL - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Oh, my tomcat would definitely love this case... especially those little USB inserts. I'd give it about half hour tops before being discovered and ... privatized :-) Reply
  • HollyDOL - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Not to sound ironic, it seems like a good case, esp. related to the cost. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    What does that have to do with it not being cat-proof?

    I think you'd be ok if you removed the transparent section on the top and didn't use the port covers. The other parts are a bit big for a cat to make off with. Although I say that, my cat has stolen my razer and hidden it before.
    Reply
  • Haravikk - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    Get rid of the cat; problem solved.

    No really, pet-related problems are the fault of having a pet, not products being designed around pets. Cat hair is one of the worst things for computers in general, so get rid of the cat and you not only save a ton of money, but solve that problem completely.
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    How about you get rid of that disgusting attitude you have towards other animal species?

    I have 4 adopted cats I take care of, not because I went to an adoption center, but because of crappy people like you who leave them abandoned on the street, with no home, no shelter, and no food. Just like me or you, cats didn't ask to be born. They just do their best to live another day. I was gracious enough to accept not one, not two, not three, but four abandoned pets from my neighborhood and gave them a loving home.

    Also, cat hair isn't an issue. Regular vacuuming and A/C filter replacements takes care of that issue. It's a matter of PEBCAK. In other words, you're too lazy to vacuum (whereas you should regardless of whether you have pets or not) and you're too lazy to replace A/C filters throughout your home on a regular basis.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    I'm constantly amazed how much full size ATX is still used. Reply
  • Kepe - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Why? mATX and mITX motherboards support 0 expandability. For example, I have a fast PCIe SSD and a PCIe sound card. And of course a PCIe GPU, and room for even more stuff. Also, I have support for SLI and CrossFire. You couldn't have those on a smaller motherboard. mATX has its place in the market, for people who want to build as small a PC as possible, or for those who want a living room media PC. Reply
  • Black Obsidian - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    All of your points are true, but also irrelevant for (I would guess) north of 90% of all users, who need 0 expandability. SLI is relatively rare, PCIe sound cards rarer still. And yet full ATX remains the most common form factor.

    IMO, it's motherboard selection that's holding people back more than cases. I have one CPU, one high-end GPU, one PCIe M.2 SSD, and no expectation of ever needing any additional PCIe slots... and yet I have a full-ATX motherboard, because Asus didn't offer any mATX motherboards with the features I wanted.
    Reply
  • just4U - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    I'd say it's not Motherboard selection.. We have had some variety for awhile now.. What's lacking is casing... casing.. casing. Can't stress that enough.

    I'd kill for a good ole lian-li type PC-60 without all the 5.25 drive bays /w a wider chassis to accommodate 120MM fans.. and cable management.. provided it had the old school removable MB Tray..

    Can think of about 50 other cases out there that would be great sellers to if these case makers would just shrink them down for the Mitx market..It's not rocket science to know what works and what doesn't.
    Reply
  • Azethoth - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    I still buy a big case so I can have a bunch of 200mm fans. Big and slow = quiet but good cooling. It is pretty empty in there these days though. Although 64gb of 2800 RAM sure made that empty feeling go away quickly once the lid closed. Reply

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