PC Components

Zalman Z9 Iceberg – A white colossus with a lot of space in the test

Zalman Tech Co. is a world-renowned manufacturer of computer cases and other PC components. Zalman was founded in Korea and has been established on the market for 22 years. Especially with uniquely designed CPU coolers, the manufacturer has been able to attract attention again and again. One of the most famous products is probably the CNPS9700, which could prove itself as a very performant CPU cooler 15 years ago. In the 2010s, however, it has become much quieter around Zalman.

In 2021, Zalman has now introduced some new products. Among the new components is the Z9 Iceberg case. This midi tower is supposed to convince with generous space and a versatile design, which is suitable for both air- and water-cooled systems. In terms of price, the Z9 Iceberg starts at 99.90 (MSRP) in black. For the white version, you have to put about 20 euros more on the counter. Whether this price is justified for the Zalman Z9 Iceberg, you can find out in this review.

Technical Details

Model: Zalman Z9 Iceberg
Case Type: Midi Tower
Dimensions: 245 mm (W) x 496 mm (H) x 473 mm (D)
Weight: 9.6 kg
Material: Steel, plastic, tempered glass
Color: White
Front connectors 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1x headphone, 1x microphone
Drive bays: 2x 3.5″/ 3x 2.5″ (internal)
2x 3.5″/ 2.5″ (internal)
Expansion slots: 7x horizontal
Form Factors: E-ATX, ATX, mATX, ITX
Ventilation: Front: 3x 120/ 140 mm or 2x 200 mm
Rear: 1x 120 mm/ 140 mm
Lid: 3x 120 mm or 2x 140 mm
Radiators: Front: 1x 240/ 280/ 360 mm
Rear: 1x 120/ 140 mm
Lid: 1x 240/ 280/ 360 mm
Max. CPU cooler height: 185 mm
Max. Graphics card length: 390 mm (without AiO water cooling in the front)
Max. PSU length: 270 mm (390 mm without HDD cage)
Cable management space: 30 mm
Price: € 118.91 *
Features: Dust filter, cable management, tempered glass, 2 pre-installed fans

Scope of delivery

Delivered the Zalman Z9 Iceberg in a large brown cardboard box, on which a schematic product image and all technical specifications can be found. Furthermore, an additional listing of the most important features is hidden on one side. Inside the box, Zalman has given the large midi tower two elements of soft foam and a plastic sheet. Since the tower weighs almost 10 kilograms and comes with Tempered Glass, soft foam is the right choice as a material. The manufacturer has placed the mounting accessories in a white box, which was placed in the hard drive cage. Included there are some cable ties, a motherboard speaker, brackets for vertical GPU mounting, an illustrated installation guide, and all the necessary screws. Also included are two pre-installed 140-millimeter case fans, two dust filters and covers for the I/O panel.

Exterior impression

The front panel of the Z9 Iceberg is made almost entirely of plastic and is painted white. Corresponding to the prongs of an iceberg, the front panel is geometrically shaped, forming an overall “Z”. This design is probably a reference to the manufacturer’s name. For better ventilation of the interior, the panel has a fine mesh grille on both sides without an additional dust filter. The front element can be removed with a strong jerk and reveals the pre-installed 140 millimeter fan behind it as well as mounting spots for additional fans or a radiator.

In the lid area, the Zalman Z9 resembles many current cases. Namely, for better heat dissipation from the interior, the lid is dominated by a large fan opening with various mounting holes and rails. Zalman has also equipped the Z9 Iceberg with a dust filter with a plastic frame to protect it from dust. Finally, the I/O panel can be found on the right side of the lid. It is equipped with five USB ports (1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0 Type), two jacks for headphones and microphone as well as three buttons for power, reset and LED.

The side panels of the Zalman Z9 Iceberg couldn’t be more different. On the left side, you can see an element on tempered glass. This is about 4 millimeters thick, is not tinted and was glued to a steel frame. This allows it to be attached to the rear with two thumbscrews. Identical knurled screws can also be found on the right side panel. However, this is made of steel and has a sufficient stability and material thickness of 0.75 millimeters. As an additional feature, the panel has a recessed grip, which can be useful during disassembly.

The back of the Z9 doesn’t hold any major surprises for us. The PSU is placed in the bottom and slides into the PSU tunnel from the back via a modular panel. Above that, the midi tower has been equipped with seven horizontal and three vertical PCI slot bezels. All bezels are reusable, but only the horizontal ones are fixed inside with thumbscrews. Lifting your gaze, you’ll find the second pre-installed 140-millimeter fan. There is also another ventilation grille above the fan.

If you lay the midi tower on its side and look at the bottom, you can see that four large plastic feet provide a secure stand. To reduce vibrations, these have also been covered with rubber strips. Furthermore, the easily removable dust filter for the power supply and two mounting rails as well as two thumbscrews can be seen here. The latter suggests that the HDD cage can be moved or removed inside.

Overall, the exterior workmanship of the Zalman Z9 looks solid. Unfortunately, however, we discovered a few paint pimples in the lid area, which tarnish the overall result somewhat. The plastic front panel also can’t quite keep up with the rest of the body, both haptically and in terms of quality. Another flaw is also the visible color difference between the white tones, which is also well visible in the pictures.

Interior impression

The interior of the Zalman Z9 Iceberg is very spacious and open in design. This is achieved by a familiar chamber system that divides the interior into two zones. The upper chamber houses the motherboard, graphics card and possible radiators. Due to the lack of mounting options for hard drives, the front fan can transport cold air into the interior unhindered. In addition, there is enough room to mount radiators both at the front and above the mainboard. To improve cable management, the motherboard tray has three openings in the upper area and a large channel with cover to the left of the motherboard.

The lower area of the interior is protected from prying eyes by a power supply cover, which can also shine with two openings for cables. Furthermore, the cover has a cutout that allows mounting long radiators in the front. Since Zalman did not place its logo in the front, it naturally has to find a place elsewhere. In this case, the side of the power supply tunnel had to serve for the silver lettering.

At the back of the motherboard tray, things continue to be spacious. With almost 30 millimeters of space, every usual power supply cable should be able to be routed reasonably here. There are also numerous eyelets for cable ties and three reusable Velcro strips, which are located directly behind the cable channel. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the PSU is mounted at the bottom of this midi tower and rests on oval rubber strips. In front of it is the modular PSU cage. This can take five different positions or, if a particularly long PSU is used, can be removed completely.

In total, the Z9 Iceberg can accommodate up to five data media. The HDD cage offers space for two 3.5″ or two 2.5″ variants. These can either be attached without tools (3.5″) or with four screws (2.5″). Alternatively, two 3.5″ or three 2.5″ HDDs can be mounted to the mounting plate on the back of the motherboard tray. However, screws are always necessary here.

The interior workmanship and paint quality is good. The steel is a solid one millimeter thick and no paint defects or sharp edges were detectable.

System build in the Zalman Z9 Iceberg

Now we get to the system build. For hardware, we’re using a AMD Ryzen 5 1400 on a MSI B350 PC Mate with 16GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT gray DDR4-2666. The Ryzen is cooled by an LC-Power Cosmo Cool LC-CC-120-RGB and is overclocked to 3.8 GHz (1.25V). A GTX 1060 6GB from Gigabyte AORUS is responsible for the image output. The power supply is handled by the fully modular LC-Power LC550 V2.31 Platinum with an 80 Plus Platinum efficiency rating.

The installation of all components was done very quickly. Due to the spacious interior, everything was quickly in place and could be easily screwed into place. In addition, the suitably pre-installed spacers, which can hold the motherboard at least briefly without screwing, due to their design. The cabling of all components was also quickly completed. The cable management system seems very well thought-out overall. However, the cable channel and its cover is a bit impractical from our point of view. Since the normal power supply plug would have been bent too much, we had to resort to cable extensions and lead the cable around the cover once. That might already be too much for cabling minimalists. Still, the assembled system looks pretty neat overall and is easy to view through the side window.

The excellent interior space is also reflected in the hardware compatibility. There are 185 millimeters available for CPU coolers and 390 millimeters for graphics cards, if you do without a radiator in the front. If, on the other hand, a water cooling system is to be used, then the lid and front offer space for two 360-millimeter radiators. For the PSU, 270 millimeters are available with HDD cage and up to 390 millimeters without HDD cage. All in all, all standard components can be accommodated in the Zalman Z9 Iceberg.

Zalman installs two black ZH1425ASL fans in the Z9 Iceberg ex-works. Features include a 140 millimeter frame width, hydro-bearing, and a 3-pin power connector. At full speed, the 9-bladed rotors reach a RPM of 900-1000. Regardless of the speed, slight bearing noise can be heard during operation.

Lastly, we come to the temperatures reached in the Zalman Z9 Iceberg. During the stress test, Prime95 and FurMark were run for minutes. The room temperature was around 21 °C during the tests.

Scenario
Temperature
CPU: 50% PWM (1125 rpm)
GPU: 50% PWM (1650 rpm)
2x 140 mm on 50% (600 rpm)
CPU: 72 °C
GPU: 66 °C
CPU: 50% PWM (1125 rpm)
GPU: 50% PWM (1650 rpm)
2x 140 mm on 100% (925 rpm)
CPU: 69 °C
GPU: 66 °C
CPU: 50% PWM (1125 rpm)
GPU: 50% PWM (1650 rpm)
2x 140 mm on 100% (925 rpm)
Without side panel
CPU: 65 °C
GPU: 60 °C

In the stress test, the Zalman Z9 Iceberg does quite well and is comparable to many other cases with a closed front and side vents. Increasing or decreasing the fan speed had no effect on the GPU’s temperature in our test scenario. The processor, on the other hand, reached slightly higher temperatures when the case fans were throttled. Despite the worst-case scenario, neither component reached critical temperatures at any time. If you leave the side panel open, then 4-6 °C better temperatures can be achieved. This indicates that the front panel restricts the possible airflow.

Conclusion on the Zalman Z9 Iceberg

Let’s move on to the final conclusion about the Zalman Z9 Iceberg in white. What we liked about this case is the amount of space and the very good features. Thus, the midi tower comes with two pre-installed fans, reusable PCI slot bezels and a customizable GPU mount. The modular HDD cage and the USB Type-C port in the front panel are also positive highlights. The spacious interior also allows for the installation of all current graphics cards as well as CPU coolers and makes assembling the system very easy. Optionally, the Zalman Z9 Iceberg is also compatible with two radiators. The cooling performance of the midi tower is average and does not differ from other cases with a closed front.

Unfortunately, we could also discover negative aspects. At least in our sample, there were slight paint defects in the lid area. However, the color differences of the used white tones of steel and plastic were particularly striking. Considering that the white version is about 20 € more expensive, we wonder a bit how this surcharge came about.

At € 118.91 *, the white one is quite a bit more expensive than the black variant and is thus in a range where manufacturers like Fractal Design, Corsair or Lian Li could already establish themselves well. Overall, the Z9 Iceberg is basically convincing. However, if you don’t care about the color choice, we would rather recommend the black version due to the price and the color differences.

Zalman Z9 Iceberg

Workmanship
Structure
Features
Cooling
Value for money

84/100

The Zalman Z9 Iceberg is a very well-equipped and particularly spacious midi tower that also scores with an interesting look. Unfortunately, Zalman charges a significant surcharge for the white variant.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Zalman Tech Co. is a world-renowned manufacturer of computer cases and other PC components. Zalman was founded in Korea and has been established on the market for 22 years. Especially with uniquely designed CPU coolers, the manufacturer has been able to attract attention again and again. One of the most famous products is probably the … (Weiterlesen...)

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