I don’t think that I have ever had a more favorite case than the Zalman LQ-1000 Z-Machine. Back in 2009 it was my dream case and if you were modding back then you know what I mean. It had the double swing doors side panels that worked like an all aluminum Swiss built watch with the outside of it looked like the luxury that the price asked for. The only thing that I didn’t like about it was those two 80mm fans at the very bottom of the front panel. The fans were noisy back then and 80mm fans sounded like angry bees in a tin room. The Zalman Flagship looked like a professional artist designed the case and a fleet of engineers milled the inside from a solid slab of aluminum. The analog gauges lit up like a luxury car’s interior and there were also LED readouts and indicators cleanly marking everything and the entire shell looked like a prototype from the skunk-works R&D facility during some classified military test. Even the official looking etching of the outer part of the case was super impressive but so was the price. Back then, a man would have no problem spending 6 to 8 hundred dollars for a case like the LQ-1000 Z Machine; that is, if he could afford one but those days are long gone and so is the build quality of those mega chassis. Well at least the outside was amazing but the stand-offs were way off and one could only get a few of them to line up. Something that a Connoisseur of fine cases should never have to endure.
Now we fast forward a mere 8 years. Eight years is 50 years in “technology years” In that “far ago” time when water cooling was done by guys with welding torches and made their own CPU block with machining equipment and companies like Danger Den were making handmade cooling loops and air coolers were the only way to go on the main stream building scene.
Now is the time of less money and light steel and little luxury, but the cases are so much better as they were back then. Back in that early “before time” only the high dollar cases could handle a full water cooling loop but alignments were hit and miss, and now they are almost standard equipment and there are even some smart cases out there now. While cases are not made like they were back as far as 30 pounds of pure Aluminum were, the newer cheaper units do so much more at a price point most of us can easily afford. But I have to say that I really miss those “Glory Days” of mega cases and wish I still had a few of them around to build in.
The Z11 NEO is what the Greek word “NEO” suggest. It’s “a new or revived form of” the earlier generations of the Zalman Z11 series of case that have been very popular for quite some time. While the Z11 has been around for a while the Z11 is a much better improved updated and redesigned NEO looks better and gives more with a price that in earlier days would have cost a builder three times what this case costs now.
What really sets off the Zalman Z11 series is the puff out serviceable gills on the sides that make it look like a stealth fighter bomber or a high dollar Lambo theme case. The case has a cockpit like window on the side that makes it even more appealing in a man vs. machine sort of way. The Z11 NEO in big letters on the side harkens some back to the days of the older Zalman LQ-1000 Z machine series that made it look serious on anyone’s work space. The branding lets onlookers know that your computer is something different than the average everyday work a day business machine. Having the Z11 NEO is an Artistic statement as much as a very well built case, so let’s take a look at what the NEO brings out in the new and revived version of the Zalman Z11.