TNN 500 A Totally No Noise Case
we don't like about the case
and security: Please note that the below comments are based on the
initial prototype of the case and actual shipments to customers
may not suffer the same issues.
The case looks like it's shut but despite a door both at the front
and the back the guts of the case are more accessible than in any
other design of case. You don't need a screwdriver, you don't even
need to take the side panel off to access the RAM, PCI slots and
CPU! Unlike any other PC case we've seen - when you open a door
(front or rear) you can insert your hand right through the case to
the other end of the machine.
child could open a door (either at the front or rear) simply by
push-clicking the door open. He can then put his hand deep into
your PC, pull out the power cable going to your hard disk, unseat
your graphics card, pull your RAM out and even unplug you from the
power supply. You'll try to power your PC up later and be left
tearing your hair out because you can't find why it's not booting.
There are other implications for internal components being so
easily accessible, especially by kids. Drink spills reaching the
motherboard accidentally, sticks poking your PCI cards and
chocolate ice-cream being smeared over your RAM are all things the
parent of a two year old will have nightmares about. For the older
kids - this is a convenient place to hide your unwanted broccoli
:-). If you're missing your hamster or pet mouse have a look
inside this case first. It's a nice warm place to hide. And it
can't be locked.
disk attachments: Maybe we were just unlucky but we've had no
joy with this. The idea of
incorporating the ZM2-HC1 hard disk heat sink with the TNN-500A
case was a good one
but we are not particularly excited about the ZM2-HC1. It comprises two metal plates
that fit either side of the hard disk and a set of pipes that
connect from one plate to the other. This creates a larger surface
area for heat from the hard disk to disperse. So far, so good. But
the ZM2-HC1 connects to a case via a set of four very, flimsy rubber bushes (bottom, inset).
We don't know whether it was just our unit or whether there is a
design fault with these bushes but we had a problem. We set it up in
a PC and
before long the combined weight of the hard disk and the heat sink
caused two of the bushes to break (visible to the left of the hard disk
here) leaving the hard disk balancing on the other two and we
doubt those would have lasted long. The
ZM2-HC1 is definitely something that you
wouldn't want to fit into a PC that you are trusting to a knock
-it-around courier. The normal rough handling PCs get at most
couriers is bound to damage something this delicate. Poweroid will not be
using this hard disk heat sink in PCs we build. Our couriers are
better than most ...but they don't have an unblemished record. Fortunately, there
are other 3.5" locations within the case that will take up to
four/five hard disks. It's been pointed out to us that Zalman have
a revision to this product coming out shortly in the form of the
ZM2-HC2. This hopefully will not suffer the same shortcoming.
The easy access to internal components does raise some security
issues. We don't know why you'd leave this expensive a case in a
less than secure environment but a thief could nick all four of
your RAM modules in under ten seconds. And he doesn't even need to
have any tools on him.
We haven't had to dust one of these babies down yet but if you're
using this case in a dusty location it could take a while to wipe
down all the fins. (Who said men don't think about all these
things? :-)) The good news is that not having fans pumping air
into and out of the case reduces the amount of dust that collects
inside the PC.
block: The centre CPU heat sink block (blue one to the centre
top of the below image) can be relocated parallel to the
motherboard but there aren't the screw holes to move the block
to the motherboard. This may be an issue if you're using a
motherboard which has a CPU located further away from the right
edge of the board. The example in the picture here is a P4C800
Deluxe motherboard and as you can see the CPU heat sink is fairly
close to the edge of the board. Zalman does provide a full list of
motherboards that they have tried in this case. The manual lists
about 90 motherboards that are "approved". These include
cheap makes like Asrocks to expensive ones like Asus and several
in-between, including the DFI LAN party (yeah, right ;-))
The packing could be a bit more robust. The external cardboard box
seems sufficient to hold the empty case but it wouldn't be strong
enough to ship a completed PC in.
packing is as in the picture below. Well, at least that's how they
were all supposed to reach us.
By the time
Amtrak couriers finished with them this is what one of the boxes
The polystyrene blocks that go
at the bottom and top of the case are brittle blocks and liable to
break if the box is dropped thereby reducing the shock protection
available to PC components like the hard disk.
case itself is like a bomb raid shelter. If the courier driver did
indeed drive into this box he's probably got a dented van now -
and it serves him right ;-)
of our wish list