Zalman Fatal1ty FC-ZE1 Champ1on Series Aluminum Case
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Frank Stroupe
Date: 11-26-2006
Provided by: Zalman
First Look

As you can see from the picture on the previous page, the Fatal1ty certainly has a unique styling that may attract some while turn others off. On the exterior, just at first glance, the case looks really nice; very high quality... perhaps too high?

The first thing I noticed about the Fatal1ty is the weight, a whopping 27.6 lbs. One would think that the use of aluminum would make this case light-weight, but that is not the case here. The reason for that?

5mm thick panels. I applaud Zalman for using aluminum as a building material, but 5mm thick is major overkill. I did a quick search to find out just how much this case weighed in comparison to other common cases on the market. I was unable to find a single aluminum case that weighed anything close to the Fatal1ty. For example, SilverStone's huge full-tower system: only 24.2 lbs. Right out of the starting gate, it's clear that the Fatal1ty will NOT be LAN party friendly.

Anyway, moving on, I will start at the front of the case and work my way around from there.

Here we have a close-up of the lower portion of the front bezel. As you can see, there is quite a bit of "text" all over this case. From a distance you really can't tell much of what it says, but upon further inspection, you see that 80% of the text is just instructions or recommendations, such as the one seen here on the front bezel. Two 92mm red LED fans sit directly behind the mesh covering and serve as intake fans, which also help to cool the hard drives mounted directly behind them. Above the intake fans, we have the power and reset buttons, as well as power and hard drive activity LEDs. To the right of this, audio jacks, two USB ports and a FireWire port. The placement of these ports is rather nice; not too high or too low to be out of reach.

Above the power and reset panel, we have a built-in card reader with support for multiple card formats. This is the first case I have reviewed with a built-in card reader and it is a welcomed addition. You can also see two of the three 5 1/4" drive bezel covers. Zalman claims these are laser etched.

Here is a better look at the three drive bay covers. Zalman left the top drive bay empty to accommodate your optical drive.

Move along as we check out the windowed side panel next...

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