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The TNN 500A is the type of case you build once and then leave it alone, as it takes quite a lot of effort to open it and change any of the components inside. One of the sides can be opened by removing six allen bolts, but access is still fairly limited compared with modern ATX cases.
During our weeklong test the system never seemed to get especially hot, apart from the hard drive, but this is common with today’s high-end drives and shouldn’t be of any concern. Due to the way the TNN 500A has been designed to act as a giant heatsink the outside does get warm, but never hot to the touch. It is however worth noting that good ventilation is needed around this case to get the heat away from it, so you don’t want it pushed into a corner.
Poweroid has done a good job configuring the 1204 and for your money you get an Asus P4C800 Deluxe motherboard, a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 processor and 1GB of PC3200 memory. This is a very good base specification, but due to limitations in the current implementation of the TNN 500A you’re limited in your choice of graphics card. Because of this Poweroid has fitted a Gainward Geforce FX5700 Ultra Golden Sample graphics card which is fine for all but the hardcore gamers out there. The Gainward card offers D-SUB and DVI outputs as well as S-Video out. A massive 250GB Western Digital hard drive with the aforementioned fluid dynamic bearings is the main storage drive, with an LG 4081B super multi DVD writer as the main backup device and a 16-speed Sony DVD-ROM drive to boot.
A Creative SoundBlaster Audigy ZS 7.1 soundcard with FireWire and a 56k V.90 modem has also been fitted. But Poweroid doesn’t supply any speakers, keyboard, mouse or monitor at the price listed above.
The 1204 is a very fast machine due to the components used, but I can’t pin-point the target market that Poweroid is aiming this specific configuration at, but as this is a demo system that is meant to show off the TNN 500A more than the components I won’t dwell on this too much.
This is a product that is very hard to sum up, as it is horrendously expensive, even taking the high specifications into account. But for those that need a computer that makes almost no noise this is the ideal solution. In environments like sound recording studios, a machine like this one would be highly desirable.
The TNN 500A is the first of its kind and a revolution in quiet computing, but how successful it will be only time can tell. Hopefully Zalman will develop a version of the TNN 500A that is more accessible and affordable to the mass market, as it’s a great concept, and everyone would love to have a truly quiet PC.
With regards to the Poweroid 1204 there is little to fault this system as it has been designed to show off the TNN 500A, but at £1878.83 inc VAT it’s a little outside of most peoples' budget. Poweroid provides custom made solutions based on the TNN 500A, so if you want a truly silent PC, you can have one built to your own specifications.
The Zalman TNN 500A is a huge leap towards the noiseless PC and Poweroid can build you any system you want inside one of these boxes. With the complete removal of cooling fans it is truly a ground breaking product. Let’s hope that Zalman can somehow get the price down.