The Interior of the Zalman Z9 Neo

Even in the white version, the interior of the Zalman Z9 Neo is all black, including all of the cables. The motherboard stand-offs are bronze and the blades of the front and rear cooling fans are white. The matte black paint that the chassis is sprayed with is not highly prone to fingermarks, but not resistant either. A large opening on the motherboard tray allows for the installation of aftermarket CPU coolers without having to remove the motherboard from the case. Zalman extended the opening to the boundaries of a flex ATX motherboard, maximizing compatibility, but the opening will not be fully covered if a Mini ITX motherboard is installed.


Numerous openings for the routing of cables are present along the edges of the motherboard. Strangely, those to the right and the bottom of the motherboard are covered with rubber grommets, but those above the motherboard are not, even though their size is identical to those below the motherboard. Zalman probably thought that these are too high to be visible from the windowed side panel. A metallic cover with the company logo punched on it separates the main system from the PSU compartment. Two more openings can be seen on this cover, again without rubber grommets. The cover is not removable.

Drive support is a little complex. Zalman claims that the Zalman Z9 Neo can hold two 5.25” drives, four 3.5” drives and six 2.5” drives. This is partially accurate, with the correct definition being “up to” that number of drives. Two 2.5” drives can be attached directly on the motherboard’s tray, beneath the 5.25” cages. Two 3.5” or two 2.5” drives can be installed into the plastic trays in front of the PSU area. Finally, two 5.25” drives or two 3.5” drives or two 2.5” drives can be installed onto the 5.25” drive cages.

The plastic trays that Zalman chose for the 2.5”/3.5” drive cage are somewhat oversized, with a plastic bumper in front of the drive. 3.5” drives can lock without tools but 2.5” drives will have to be attached with screws.

It is also interesting to note that the 5.25” drive cages are removable. By default, their position cannot really block and long cards or large coolers, but we believe that modders will appreciate the function.

A look at the top of the case reveals two clear blue LED fans, bringing the stock number of fans that the Zalman Z9 Neo comes with up to five. There is also a lot of clearance above the motherboard, allowing the comfortable installation of liquid cooler radiators up to 28 mm thick.

For the means of this review, we installed a Corsair AX760i with the red cable set, for strong visual contrast. The AX760i fits like a glove inside the Zalman Z9 Neo, with enough room for managing the cables. The cables are also more than long enough for a typical system. With a full 2.2 cm clearance at the back of the motherboard, numerous cable tie points and cable straps across the side grommets, cable management should be a breeze even for amateurs.

A standard ATX system fits inside the system area of the Zalman Z9 Neo with relative comfort. There is a long of space in front of the motherboard, allowing cards up to 420 mm long to the installed. Very long cards will block access to the 2.5” drive slots, forcing the user to remove the card(s) if the 2.5” drives need to be removed/installed there. Our only concern is that the case is rather narrow, limiting the height of the CPU cooler up to 160 mm. Although this is enough for the majority of mainstream aftermarket coolers, it negates compatibility with nearly every top tier air cooler currently available. Other than that, the Zalman Z9 Neo is relatively spacious for a case of its size, allowing the installation of top tier hardware and AIO liquid cooling solutions.

The Exterior of the Zalman Z9 Neo Testing & Results
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  • 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.

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