The top cover is held in place with five machine screws and fitted with a thin foam gasket that runs along all four sides to prevent any chance of the top rattling. With the top cover removed, we can get a good look at the interior layout.
The Zalman HD160 enclosure exhibits excellent build quality and is fabricated primarily from aluminum plates and extrusions. The only exceptions I noted were the two steel drive cages and rear panel pieces. All the various parts are bolted together; not riveted.
Looking towards the rear of the case, the layout looks very similar to a typical mid-tower ATX chassis. The most notable exception is the inclusion of two 80mm exhaust fans. A pair of 60mm fans is the norm in many HTPC enclosures. Threaded standoffs come preinstalled for mounting the motherboard.
Along the front of the case are two removable drive bay enclosures and a printed circuit board for the VFD display, IR receiver, and front panel controls. There is a nice open area in front of where the power supply goes, which should be useful for bundling excess cables. There is also a lot of room underneath the optical drive bay/card reader, which should also help with tidy cable routing.
The Zalman HD160 comes with a universal card reader installed in the lower 3.5′ bay. There is room for one 5.25′ optical drive in the middle bay and brackets for mounting a single 3.5′ HDD on top.
The front I/O port connectors are securely mounted on a separate bracket underneath the optical drive bay and card reader.
Up to three 3.5′ HDDs can be mounted in the HDD cage. The U-shaped top section is bolted to the base of the drive cage with four small machine screws. The two front screws are rather hard to reach, especially when it comes to putting them back in. (A captive-grip or magnetic tip screwdriver is almost a necessity here.) Each HDD rests on a pair of foam rubber pads and locating pins at the base and is secured with two screws (inside rubber grommets) at the top.
A series of ventilation slots under the HDD cage area allows cool air to be pulled in to help cool the drives. Unfortunately there are no side vents beside the HDD cage, which could be even more effective at cooling HDDs. I wish Zalman had placed vent openings at both the front and rear of the left hand side panel, instead of just at the rear. However, an optional fan can be mounted under the HDD cage for added cooling.
With the HDD cage removed you can see all the various connectors located across the bottom of the front panel circuit board. A 24-pin ATX power adapter cable is provided, which plugs into the main power cable going from the power supply to the motherboard. This adapter ties into the +5VSB line and supplies power to the VFD and IR module even when the PC is turned off (as long as the power supply is switched on).
Â· HDD LED
Â· Power LED
Â· Standby power (from ATX power adapter)
Â· Reset Switch
Â· IR Module USB
Â· Power On Switch