The Exterior of the Zalman Z9 Neo

The Zalman Z9 Neo sports a modern design, with the company trying to balance it between elegance and aggression. Measuring 49 cm tall, 20.5 cm wide and 48.2 cm deep (19.3 × 8.1 × 19 in), resulting to a volume of 48.4 liters, the size Zalman Z9 Neo is relatively small for a midi ATX tower case. It significantly smaller than cases designed for high thermal performance, such as the Riotoro CR1280 (28.1% larger) and the Cooler Master MasterCase 5 (36.2% larger). It is about the same size as the Corsair 400Q (12.4% smaller), which lacks any external drive bays. We received the white version of the Z9 Neo, which still has a black frame surrounding the faceplate and interior.

11.2 oz (330 ml) can inserted as size reference

The faceplate door opens from left to right, revealing a black plastic fascia with two 5.25” drive slots. Zalman installed a thin layer of sound absorbing material to the inside of the door.

In order to reach the front panel intake filter, the entire front panel needs to be removed. This is an easy task, as the panel can be simply pulled off in an instant. However, the front intake filter is nothing more than a nylon mesh and cannot be removed. It will have no effect on smaller dust particles and the only way to effectively clean it, without bending its metallic holders, is to use a vacuum cleaner directly on the case.

The front I/O ports and buttons are at the top side of the front panel, on the black plastic frame that surrounds it. Starting from left to right, we can see a large power button with a LED ring, a small round reset switch, two 3.5mm headphone jacks, two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. Simple rubber inserts have been installed into the USB ports, to prevent dust from accumulating. Having to remove them each time a USB device is going to connect can become annoying for some users, plus these inserts are so small that they are almost begging to get lost.

A look at the rear of the Zalman Z9 Neo reveals that the PSU compartment is located at the bottom, a common design nowadays. We can also see the 120 mm rear exhaust fan and notice that it cannot be replaced by a 140 mm fan, which was also hinted by the specifications of the case, as it is too narrow. There are no holes for cables or liquid cooling hoses.

The top panel of the Zalman Z9 Neo is made of plastic, not metal. It has vents on the sides and on the top. What looks like a cover above the two top exhaust fans cannot be removed, with the exception of its semi-transparent smoked acrylic surround. Zalman claims that removing this surround can improve the thermal performance of the case, but we can assess that its removal will have a marginal impact on the airflow impedance of the fans.

The Zalman Z9 Neo stands on four plastic feet with rubber anti-slip pads installed. The feet are particularly tall for a case that has limited underside ventilation (only for the PSU). A nylon filter can be seen covering the PSU intake, which can be removed from the back of the case.

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle The Interior of the Zalman Z9 Neo
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • ShieTar - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Honestly, once you decide you want 2x2.5" bays and 2x120 mm fans in the front, you do have the space to put a full size ATX behind it anyways.

    I would expect more than 50% of the standard users to actually fit a mATX board into such a case (cause they are cheaper then the full size boards).
  • strangeone - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Well, I'm a happy owner of this case.

    Looks great, but there are some real disadvantages.
    1. 5.25'" slots seem really odd today. Yes, you can put one 3.5" or even two 2.5" drives on holder shelf, but it looks really terrible. The only cases I can remember without 5.25" slots for today is NZXT. There are also good solutions for 3x5.25" slot cases - you can easy find rack mount (at a very small cost) which allow you to have 5x3.25" drives (90 degrees rotated) on the same space.
    2. Screw-free holders for HDD are terrible. They don't hold tight in slots providing small but HDD-killing vibrations.
    3. Power supply & HDD case in lower part which isolates these parts from other case volume (yes, this is good for cooling - you can pull down front fan and it will blow right through this case) consumes a lot of space.
    4. Upper side-located HDD mounting place is located very close to GPU. I installed MSI GTX 980 Gaming card (279 mm) and it is located deadly close.

    It seems that Zalman tried to save owner's money in too many ways. Still, good cooling and good look.
    P.S. Sorry for my english.
  • mr_tawan - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Personally I use BD once in a good while. I'd get the case with 5.25 so I don't have to put the drive in some kind of casing. It's not very popular nowaday so I understand your point.

    Anyway if I do gaming system without optical drive, I'd put fan controller there instead.
  • LordanSS - Sunday, May 22, 2016 - link

    I understand what you're talking about, but there are many uses for the 5.25" trays. I am an owner of a Corsair 900D and make plenty of use of them.

    - BluRay burner for M-Discs definitive storage. Very good for storing my photos, videos and other things, and not have to worry (too much) about them "going bad".

    - Fan controller. In addition to the 4 fans that come with the case, mine has an addition of 6 low noise fans for (absolute) positive pressure, and the controller has 3 thermal diodes so I can see temps on the GPU/CPU area, HDD area and overall intake air temp.

    - One hot-swap tray for 3.5" HDDs, mostly for convenience. The 900D already comes with a hot swap HDD cage, but with this I don't need to open up the panels, and can use the couple HDDs I have for "on the go" usage. Might be bulkier, but cheaper than 2.5" USB ones and with more storage.
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Good review, thanks! It's nice to see something other than an all black case or a black and red one and the price is pretty reasonable. I think it makes up for shortcomings like a non-removable filter on the front.

    As always, the Coca-Cola can size comparison makes me smile a little.
  • qlum - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    As someone who uses the cheapest zalman cases quite regularly at work I do recognize their flwas but overall they always seem to be a decent choice for simple pc's that just need to work.
  • Axiomatic - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Whats up with rainbow side window? Did that side window plastic not cure completely? Looks awful in my opinion Zalman. I am hoping that is an artifact of the camera lens and the side window really is not iridescent.
  • TheUsual - Friday, May 20, 2016 - link

    Please post the weight in your case reviews.
  • basiliadufrene - Sunday, May 22, 2016 - link

    Valuable article - I was fascinated by the information - Does anyone know if my business would be able to locate a sample Residential Real Estate Lease example to use ?
  • paulpdx - Sunday, May 29, 2016 - link

    I think the RAM sticks are installed incorrectly in the interior photo. I wanted to point this out because readers may use the photos as guidance for their build. Should be A1/B1, not A1/A2.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now