This year, we've had at least one pleasant surprise from Korean company Zalman in the shape of the Z9 Plus. Today we are taking a closer look at the larger Z11 Plus. Both are quite affordable, and you get a lot quality for your money. You can pick the Zalman Z11 Plus for £51 and the Z9 plus for £44.
There was a time that the CPU cooler to get was from Zalman. One of the first complete liquid cooling sets came from Zalman, the imposing Reserator 1 Plus. Zalman also excelled at making computer chassis, from the deluxe aluminium Z-Machine to the practical MS1000-HS2.
In recent years the Korean brand has been quieter, however, so we were happy to see the Z9 Plus perform so well in our group test of budget chassis. So when we had the opportunity to test the Z11 Plus, we couldn't resist.
The Z11 Plus costs an average of £53 or € 65, but its specifications and dimensions are those of significantly more expensive chassis.
It proved to be a bit of a challenge to find a lot of comparable casing for the Z11 Plus. We've only a handful of chassis that are directly comparable in terms of pricing. All bar the Z9 Plus and Corsair Carbide 200R are more expensive.
The cheaper models are usually in a different segment when it comes to size and features, and that's the case with those two. The Sharkoon Rebel9 Pro Window was part of the earlier group test, but has since gone up in price and now costs slightly more than the Z11 Plus. The Antec Three Hundred Two is slightly more expensive, and the Corsair 300R even more so.
We included some mid-range entry-level chassis, and also the popular (but more expensive) Cooler Master CM 690 and the Lian Li PC-7HX. The latter is an example of a stripped-down high-end chassis that performs well yet remains affordable.
The Zalman Z11 Plus has a noticeable design, with diagonal lines and protruding transparent side panels and large air intakes on both side. Those air intakes give it a bit of a jet or hotrod feel. It's definitely not a dime-a-dozen design.
It weighs less than 8kg, because Zalman used thin steel, but it's sturdy enough. The diagonal lines add to the exterior dimensions, it makes it a little larger. On the previous page you saw that the Zalman Z11 Plus is the largest of the chassis we are comparing in this review. In the front there are four externally accessible 5.25-inch slot and a 3.5-inch slot. At the top the power button is located.
Behind it is a little tray where you can put things like USB sticks. On both sides the frontal connectors, consisting of two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, and audio in and output.
That's pretty good for this price class. A minor gripe is the fact that the USB 3.0 ports don't have internal connectors, you have to sacrifice the two USB 3.0 ports on the back if you want to use the frontal ones. You can read the rest of this review on Hardware.info