Installation & Use
When we see the phrase "High End Gaming Enclosure," we assume that the biggest, baddest components on the market can fit inside. Amongst the components we decided to install in the GT1000 were two of the biggest and baddest you can buy: the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU heatsink and a GeForce 8800 GTX. If either of these components didn't fit in the GT1000, we'd have to call Zalman out for misleading consumers. We'll go into the details more a little later, but let's just say for now that we weren't disappointed. Our installation included the following components:
- Motherboard: Asus Striker Extreme nForce 680i SLI
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Q6600 Quad-Core
- CPU Cooler: Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme w/ Scythe 120mm Fan
- Video Card: MSI GeForce 8800 GTX
- Hard Drive: Maxtor 120GB SATA
- CD/DVD Drive: Lite-On DVD ROM
- PSU: Enermax Liberty 680W
Overall, we found the installation and use of the GT1000 to be rather simple and convenient. Before we get too far into the details, let's show the answers to the questions above. In the first of the two pictures below, you can see the 8800 GTX fits with about half an inch to spare. We'd like a little more space between the 8800 GTX and hard drive cage, but we're happy enough to see it fit without having to alter the case. In the second picture, you can see the Thermalright Ultra-120 fits with plenty of room to close the side panel.
We have mentioned the tool-free features several times throughout this review, and now it's time to see how (and how well) the tool-free drive installation works. To install a hard drive in the hard drive cage, you lift up the arm with the rubber roller and then insert the drive. You simply push it back as far as you can and make sure the bar comes down in front of the drive to secure it, as you can see in the second picture below. Each drive can be further secured by the thumbscrews you see on the left side of the drive cage. We're happy to report that this system works quite well.
As we mentioned previously, the GT1000 also includes two positions inside the bottom of the case that can hold hard drives. It's a rather simple and elegant design. Remove the four rubber-covered screws, screw them into the hard drive, unlock the securing mechanism, slip the drive in position, and finally lock the securing mechanism. The drive actually sits on two rubber strips to prevent vibration in the case. We aren't sure how many people would put drives here unless the drive cage were full, but we commend Zalman for the clever inclusion of this option.
We finished installing the rest of the components without any problems. The GT1000 is a great case to work in, and the view through the window is pretty nice. We're also fans (pardon the pun) of the red LEDs in the fans. The black and red combination looks great together.