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My pc build with the Zalman S3 TG ATX Mid Tower Case (2024)

My new pc build with the the Zalman S3 TG: great design aesthetics, cooling, hardware compatibility.
Sid Metcalfe

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


December 27, 2023


I recently acquired the Zalman S3 TG ATX Mid Tower Case from a colleague to build a new desktop for gaming / productivity tasks. The price of the case is definately on the friendlier side. Below I’ll elaborate on the pros and cons of it.


Property Value Property Value
Brand Zalman Motherboard Compatability ATX
Case Type Tower Recommended Uses For Product Business
Color Tempered Glass Material Tempered Glass, Alloy Steel, Plastic
Cooling Method Air Model Name S3 TG
Fan Size 120 Millimeters Item Weight 11 Pounds


Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Design and Aesthetics of the Zalman S3 TG Case

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When it comes to the Zalman S3 TG ATX Mid Tower Case, the first thing that catches the eye is its full tempered glass side panel. There’s something satisfying about being able to glance over and see the inner workings of your PC in all their glory. It’s like the case is showing off the components you’ve meticulously selected and assembled – and why not? If you’ve spent time and money on a build, it makes sense to go for that panoramic view.

Here’s a quick rundown of the aesthetic aspects I find worth mentioning:

  • The luxurious hairline front panel design paired with the dual intake gives off a sleek yet functional vibe.

  • An edgeless premium tempered glass side panel is not only about looks but practicality, with hand screws ensuring easy access.

  • A metal and plastic build strikes a balance between durability and a lightweight structure, avoiding the heft of all-metal cases.

The design isn’t just for show; it has its practical aspects too. The dedicated power supply unit space improves airflow around an area that can often become a heat trap, which is a thoughtful touch for thermals. And speaking of airflow, the magnetic dust filters on top and bottom are smart additions that manage to keep things clean without much fuss.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The metal which feels a bit thin doesn’t exude the sturdiness of more premium cases, and the limited space for the power supply and cable management could take patience to maneuver, especially for the uninitiated.

Yet, despite these drawbacks, the overall look and feel lean towards positive. There’s an undeniable charm to its practicality wrapped in an aesthetic shell. The case is made to accommodate a variety of motherboards (ATX, mATX, Mini-ITX) support, making it versatile despite its compact nature. Even the front panel’s ports - a mix of USB 2.0 and 3.0 - cover the basics most users need without the case trying to be something it’s not.

All in all, while it may not be the tankiest of cases on the market, the Zalman S3 TG has a minimalist grace to it. For someone who’s not looking to go overboard with an excessively large build but still wants an ATX form factor, this case hits the spot. It’s got the looks and gets the job done without burning a hole in your pocket.

Functionality and Cooling Performance Evaluation

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Evaluating the functionality and cooling performance of a case like the Zalman S3 TG is crucial because even the most beautiful build is a no-go if it can’t keep its cool under pressure. So let’s talk about how this mid-tower case stacks up.

First up, the cooling setup. You get pre-installed fans – two at the front for intake and one at the rear for exhaust. It’s already a solid setup for maintaining airflow without additional costs. Plus, 120mm fans hit that sweet spot between effective cooling and noise.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Pre-installed fans: 2x 120mm front, 1x 120mm rear

  • Cooling Method: Air

  • Dust Filters: Magnetic top filter and bottom filter

  • Additional Cooling: Room for more fans or an AIO solution

We’ve got decent noise levels too. These fans aren’t whisper-quiet, but they’re not going to drown out your Spotify playlist either. Headphones on, and you’ll likely never notice them.

Now, let’s get into the layout. Airflow is generally well-thought-out, with the front design promoting a steady flow through the case. Plus, the dust filters on top and beneath are magnetic – easy to remove and clean. A big plus for long-term maintenance!

However, there’s a bit of a mismatch with the front intake, which uses a molex connector against the more modern (and controllable) 3-pin rear exhaust. It’s not a deal-breaker but something to note for those who love to fine-tune their setups.

As for cooling challenges, the power supply unit (PSU) space feels a bit cramped. If you’ve got a PSU with a ton of chunky cables, things can get tight. But hey, with some patience and strategic cable work, you’re good to go.

I’m a fan of the tempered glass panel. It’s not only for showing off your build but also easy to remove for access. The thumb screws mean no tools required – a nice touch.

But let’s be real: this case isn’t meant for monster builds. You’re working with limited space, so oversized GPUs and giant coolers need not apply. Perfect for those looking to keep things compact and tidy.

In terms of potential heat issues, keep an eye on your high-wattage components. And if you’re thinking about overclocking, you might want to consider adding extra cooling to the mix, just to keep temperatures in check.

In summary, the Zalman S3 TG does a solid job at maintaining airflow and avoiding becoming a miniature sauna for your hardware. While there are some areas for improvement, it stands as a testament that good cooling doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Just bear in mind the space limitations and plan your build accordingly.

Cable Management and Hardware Compatibility Considerations

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I’ve had my fair share of builds and, let me tell you, cable management and hardware compatibility are critical, especially when working with the Zalman S3 TG ATX Mid Tower Case. Here’s the rundown based on my experience:

  • Modular PSU: Absolutely a lifesaver. Pre-attach the cables before wrestling the unit into its snug corner.

  • Hardware Sizing: Measure twice! There’s precious little wiggle room for error with ATX motherboards and large GPUs.

  • Cable Routes: With limited clearance behind the motherboard tray, cable routing can be a tight squeeze.

  • Drive Installation: The tool-less plastic caddy guides for the hard drives are a nice touch.

The compact nature of the case means you have to approach building methodically. Attaching cables to a modular power supply before slotting it in is mission-critical. Those extra few minutes of planning and connecting can prevent a lot of frustration. And speaking of planning, knowing your component sizes cannot be overstated. There’s just enough clearance to fit a standard ATX motherboard, and bulky GPUs will make you sweat a little as they slide in.

Cable management can often make or break a good build, aesthetically and functionally. In the Zalman S3 TG, the space behind the motherboard tray is tight—think “no room for leftover spaghetti” tight. Careful routing is key, and it might have you wishing for a little extra room back there. It’s possible, but expect some puzzling.

Drive installation is a bright spot, though. Those plastic caddies for the hard drives slot in easily, and that’s a breath of fresh air when you’re dealing with a smaller space and potentially frazzled nerves from the cable management game.

On the flip side, if you’ve got a power supply with a Medusa’s head of chunky cables, patience and some creative angling will be your best pals as you tuck them in. It did surprise me that, despite the cable gymnastics required, it’s doable without any chassis mods.

One little gripe I have is with the front fans—they use molex connectors. Sure, they’re manageable, but they feel a tad outdated and limit control options. Props for the fans being pretty quiet, though, so running them full blast isn’t a deal-breaker for noise-sensitive folks like me.

Putting these thoughts into practice, the build experience was calming and slightly challenging in equal measure. While you might encounter a snafu here and there related to component fit or cable placement, the Zalman S3 TG ultimately serves well for those who don’t mind a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. It teaches you compact build discipline—something every PC builder should learn.

Value Proposition and Summary of The Zalman S3 TG

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The Zalman S3 TG ATX Mid Tower Case certainly packs a punch for its budget-friendly price tag. It’s got a look that appeals to those who prefer their builds to have a sleek and understated aesthetic, combined with practical design choices that, for the most part, favor function over form.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons that stood out to me:


  • Excellent airflow with pre-installed fans and options for adding more.

  • Good space for a mid-tower, fitting in components nicely without being too bulky.

  • The tempered glass side panel and the hairline front panel design add a premium touch.

  • Pretty lightweight which could be a bonus for those who move their PC around.

  • Dedicated PSU space and top-and-bottom magnetic dust filters contribute to a clean build.


  • The metal does feel a bit thin which might be a concern regarding durability.

  • PSU area is cramped, which could be a challenge for those with non-modular or large PSUs.

  • Cable management is doable but can be tight given the space constraints behind the motherboard tray.

  • Some instances of craftsmanship could be improved.

Despite these drawbacks, the S3 TG appears to be a solid choice for someone looking to construct a compact ATX build without breaking the bank. Zalman seems to have cut the right corners here – yes, the metal is thin, and the PSU area might test your cable management skills, but these are trade-offs that don’t necessarily disrupt the case’s overall performance.

I was pleasantly surprised that the included fans were quite quiet and that Zalman opted to pre-install them; not something you see with every case, especially at this price point. Additionally, the magnetic dust filters are a nice touch, helping keep the internals clean without much fuss.

As for the shortcomings, they aren’t deal breakers but worth noting. Thicker materials might give a more premium feel, and the PSU space might be an area where prospective buyers will want to measure twice and install once. And, while I usually love a good challenge, those with limited experience might find the tight cable management space a bit frustrating.

In summary, the Zalman S3 TG strikes a balance between affordability and functionality. It’s not perfect, but it offers what many in the market for a discreet, functional case are looking for, without any flashy, unnecessary features. For a budget-conscious build that still wants to keep a sense of style and reliability, the Zalman S3 TG is a contender that deserves consideration.