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Zalman TNN-500A Totally No Noise Case

Introduction to the Zalman TNN 500A
Existing noise control solutions and their limitations
Zalman TNN 500 description and technical specs
What we like about the Zalman case
What we don't like about the Zalman case
Top of our wish list
Conclusion, other reviews, where to buy
Full image gallery of the Zalman TNN-500A


Our top features:

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. 

Reduce PC fan noise, Dead Silent PC Enclosure, PC Enclosure with Low Noise, Noise Absorption in PC Enclosure

Having the wheels is of course a useful feature on this heavy 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. That's where you rotate the control on each foot to extend the feet down. 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, it's easily corrected).

Power Supply: The power supply is the noisiest part in most PCs. It's the main route for hot air being pumped out. Not only to 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 solutions.











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.

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 in the TNN500A. The location of the processor varies widely from one make and model of motherboard to another and, irrespective of where on the motherboard your CPU is you should be able to find a location on the case body where you can position the blue heat sink blocks so that the neat transfer pipes can connect properly from the CPU heat sink to the heat sink blocks. 

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 it's right heat sink plate). 


And the best features are the ones that do not add much to the look of this case but are the most important components for a completely fan free case: 

  • The heat pipes that transfer heat away from the CPU and AGP card

  • The clever design of heat sink blocks to help in that transfer

  • The innovative use of heat pipes to transfer heat to the heat sink blocks

  • The amazing body of the case, with it's radiator fins, ventilation holes and thick aluminium construction that work together to dissipate all the heat transferred to it.

The first image shows a heat sink on the processor with five heat pipes coming out of it and screwed into the heat sink blocks on the case body. 

The lower picture shows the heat pipes from the graphics card connected to a different set of heat sink blocks on the case body which together provide 50 watts of heat dissipation. Note that the two heat pipes here (which are included as standard) won't provide adequate cooling for anything above a GeForce 5700 Ultra 128/256 MB or a Radeon 9600XT. For any cards above these you need an optional extra two heat pipes which can be ordered from your case supplier. Zalman do however provide a range of different sized heat sink blocks to fit onto the GPUs of most standard AGP graphics cards. 

If you are using a Matrox Parhelia card, workstation graphics card like the Quadro, FireGL, Oxygen, Wildcat and similar note that the processor on the graphics card (GPU) could be substantially larger than the ones on most GeForce FX and ATI Radeon cards. It will be up to you to ensure that whatever heat sink block you fit to the GPU completely covers the GPU itself or you will risk burning it out.

The cooling fins on either side of the case to dissipate that heat (see image below).

what we don't like about the case






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Last updated: Jan, 2007 


Reduce PC fan noise, Dead Silent PC Enclosure, PC Enclosure with Low Noise, Noise Absorption in PC Enclosure