The internal layout of the FC-ZE1 chassis is pretty typical for a standard mid-tower ATX style case. The Fatal1ty enclosure is slightly smaller (shorter) than most, so there isn’t a lot of extra room inside, especially around the edges of the motherboard. I usually install the power supply first, followed by all the drives, and then the motherboard (with CPU, CPU cooler, and RAM already mounted). After the major parts are in place I route the cables and make all the various wiring connections. Once the assembly work is done I’ll stick in the video cards, sound card, etc. As with most mid-tower ATX style enclosures, the overall installation of parts into the Fatal1ty case was basically straightforward with a couple notable exceptions. Here’s a list of the parts I installed.
- Zalman ZM600-HP modular heat pipe cooled 600W PSU
- Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe nForce4 SLI Intel edition motherboard
- Pentium Extreme Edition dual core 955 (3.46 GHz at 1.22 Vcore)
- (2) Corsair CM2X512-8000UL DDR RAM
- (2) nVIDIA 7800GTX 512 MB 550/850 video cards in SLI
- Creative SoundBlaster Audigy2 sound card
- WD1200JD SATA HDD
- Sony DVD, NEC DVD RW
- NEC DVD R/W
- Multifunction card reader
- Windows XP Pro with SP2
- nForce 91.31 drivers
Side Panel Door
As I mentioned earlier, the large side panel door is hinged but is not easily removed. It opens slightly past 90Â° so it will stay open, but sticks almost straight up when the case is laid down on its side to work on. There isn’t a stop for the open door to rest against so you need to be careful not to put too much pressure on the open door or something will give.
The Fatal1ty case would be much more convenient to work on if the side door could just be easily removed. (This will be one of the first modifications I make to this case.)
The obvious choice for a power supply is the Zalman ZM600-HP modular heat pipe cooled PSU. This is a high quality unit that can deliver up to 600W of clean, stable power. You can read our review of the ZM600-HP here.
Zalman thoughtfully included extra-long power supply mounting screws with the case that are needed because of the thick back panel. The power supply must be installed from inside and as I quickly discovered, proved to be a little more difficult to mount than it should have been. Holding the PSU in position, lining up the holes, and starting the mounting screws required several frustrating attempts. Two problems here: (1) there is no internal support bracket to help hold the power supply in position and (2) the open side door is in the way!
Exposed Drive Bays — Optical Drives
Before you can install any drives in the exposed bays, you must first take off the smaller right side panel (F-plate). I think this would be a great place for a hinged door! Drives are mounted with the provided screws (no rail system) and all of the various drives I tried fit snuggly inside the machined openings (Sony, Plextor, and NEC).
Internal Hard Disc Drives
One of the more unique features of the Fatal1ty FC-ZE1 enclosure is the internal HDD cage. It will hold up to three 3.5′ HDDs, is permanently mounted, and located right behind the two front intake fans for cooling.
Each HDD is held between apposing pairs of rubber rollers, which help isolate vibration and minimize noise. To install a drive, you simply insert it into an open slot and then gently push it back against the foam block in the rear to let the rubber roller in front fall down and securely hold the drive in position. Small locking screws are provided on each of the front roller assemblies to lock them in place if desired.
I installed a full size Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard into the chassis without issues. The Fatal1ty case uses threaded standoffs for mounting points and everything lined up perfectly.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
Peripheral Expansion Cards
The PCI expansion slots use break-away style covers, which can not be reinstalled once removed. I don’t understand why Zalman used this design instead of providing replaceable slot covers.
Both of my double-wide video cards fit perfectly but when I tried to install a sound card into the bottom PCI slot it would not go. After a little investigation I found that the case frame was preventing the card from seating properly. Oops, some body in QC missed this one. (This will be the second modification I make to this case.) The following pictures illustrate the problem but were taken after I cut a slot into the aluminum frame member for clearance.