Zalman's latest cases are sleek, pricey

Computex — Alongside the usual mix of coolers and PSUs, Zalman is showing off a handful of new enclosure designs in Taipei this week. In a word, they're gorgeous. The star of the show is easily a new tower prototype crafted entirely from brushed and anodized aluminum.

A lot of aluminum enclosures use thin panels laid over a steel subframe. Not this puppy, whose aluminum walls are three millimeters thick and incredibly sturdy all on their own. With no need for scaffolding, the case's innards are nice and clean. Unfortunately, there's nowhere to hide a system's internal cabling.

I'm inclined to forgive the lack of cable routing options because I'm too easily distracted by the beautifully machined drive cages. Then there's the outer shell, which wraps a single sheet of aluminum around the top and left-hand sides of the case. Despite being riddled with ventilation holes, the panel feels just as solid as everything else. Of course, all this artfully crafted aluminum won't come cheap. Zalman says the tower will cost around $700 when it hits the market later this year.

Thick aluminum panels have become a staple of high-end Zalman cases, and a single one makes up the company's new Mini-ITX enclosure—not that there's anything enclosed about it. Based on a Zalman monitor stand, this case hides mounting brackets for a Mini-ITX motherboard, 5.25" optical drive, 3.5" hard drive, and microATX PSU. There isn't much clearance for CPU coolers or expansion cards, but it's an interesting concept for minimalists with deep pockets. Zalman says the case (if you can even call it that) will sell for around $170 and be available soon.

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