Author: Adam Wilson
If you’re an enthusiast, chances are you’ve heard of Case Labs. Some of their cases have garnered worldwide acclaim and the utmost care and attention goes into their designs, builds, and company ethos. Case Labs’ cases are 100% made in the USA, and are hand assembled in the Case Labs warehouse (if you opt for assembly!).
Case Labs recently launched the SM8, the first is their new “Merlin” line, boasting support for E-ATX boards. Crafted from 100% aluminum, with absolutely no plastic to be found, the Merlin SM8 is built incredibly well. Promising support for even the most demanding cooling setups, Case Labs’ newest case is staggeringly detailed. Case Labs were nice enough to send us over a Merlin SM8 for review, and we’ve put together a brief overview with an explanation of some of the features of this very well thought out case.
Product Link: Click Here
Provided By: Case Labs
Aluminum Construction: The case is made using heavy gauge all aluminum construction. Unlike some imports using thin aluminum (.040” – 1mm), our cases are made from .090” (2.3mm) for the frame and .063” (1.6mm) for the doors and covers for a case that can stand up to the rigors of large scale water cooling and frequent system tear-downs. Aluminum is much lighter than steel, dissipates heat better, and is easier to mod.
Quick Access: The doors and covers can be removed in seconds to facilitate access and minimize the chance of damaging exterior panels during a build. The doors are on hinges that allow them to easily swing out of the way for quick adjustments. The front and top covers snap on and off – no screws to slow you down or get lost. The “cover over frame” design allows the frame to be modified as needed without affecting the appearance of the completed build.
Slide-Out Motherboard Tray: The entire motherboard tray easily slides out and can be converted into a free standing tech station (with the included parts). Your build can be completely assembled and tested on a table top. No more working inside a cramped case trying to get everything in place. The tray is held in place with four self-retaining thumb screws – nothing to get lost. How many times has a screw rolled off the edge of your desk, never to be seen again?
Reversible: The SM8 can be reversed so the motherboard can be on the right or left hand side of the case, so if your needs change, the case will adapt to the new setting.
Mod Friendly: The SM8 was designed for modders. The case is screwed to together so it can be completely broken down. Each case component will available separately, so feel free to cut, drill and mod without fear of “destroying” the case.
Flex-Bay System: Almost every case on the market today has a fixed structure at the front of the case – maybe four or five 5.25″ bays on top, a 3.5″ bay below that and HDD cages below that. What if that layout doesn’t work for you? We’ve all seen people who have had to mod their cases (sometimes irreversibly) to fit things like radiators. With our Flex-Bay System, you can design that superstructure to be anything you need, and put things wherever you want and change it as often as you like, within minutes. In that respect, you become the case designer. We have a wide array of Flex-Bay adapters and mounts, so you have complete freedom to design it just the way you need it.click here for pictures and more information on The Flex-Bay System
Accessory Mounting System: If you ever wished that you could put a fan in a particular spot or needed a surface to mount something to, our Accessory Mounting System will make your life much easier. By using the holes around the perimeter of the case, or by using vertical or horizontal accessory mounts, you can place fans, reservoirs, pumps, and more, exactly where you want them (maybe just a flat plate to cover up messy cables). We have a wide variety of plates and fan mounts for almost every need. click here for more pictures and information on The Accessory Mounting System
Drop-in/Side Radiator Mounts: If you have ever mounted a push-pull 480 radiator inside a case, you know what a pain it can be. Our optional drop-in and side mounts (pedestal) let you assemble the whole thing on your desktop and install it as a single assembly into your case.
Size: 22.44″H x 11.18″W x 22.38″D (570mm x 284mm x 568mm)
Form Factor: mATX, ATX to 12.38″ x 10.75″ (315mm x 273mm)
Expansion Slots: 8
Flex-Bays (5.25″ bays): 11
Native Drive Support (without using 5.25″ bays): [14 using Optional MAC-102 HDD Cages]
- 2 HDD (3.50″)
- 2 SSD (2.50″)
Maximum Radiator: 120.4 (480)/140.3 (420)
Radiator Clearance (Top/Bottom): 114mm
Cable Management Clearance: 1.5″ (38mm)
Cooling Tower Clearance: 180mm
PSU Mounts: 2
Weight: 20.5 lbs. (9.3kg)
- Aluminum Construction
- Slide-out MB Tray/Tech Station Conversion Kit
- Anti-Vandal Style LED Power and Reset Switches
- PCI Back Plate: Hex Mesh or Fan Holes
- Top Cover: Solid or Ventilated
- Motherboard Door: Solid, Ventilated, Std. Window: 10.75” x 10.7” (273mm x 273mm) Clear or Gray.
- Cable Side Door: Solid, Ventilated
- Chassis Top: 124.4 Integrated, 140.3 Integrated, or Drop-In Style (Drop-in Mounts are not included)
- Chassis Bottom: 120.4 or 140.3 Integrated Mount
- Two (single) HDD Mounts & Anti-vibration Hardware
- One Dual SSD MountFour sets of 5.25” Device Mounts (MAC-125) [No substitutions]
- Flex-Bay Covers: Three triple and two single (solid).
- PSU Support Bracket and Cover Plate
- PCI Covers
- Misc: Thumb screws, MB standoffs, Tie Wraps, Plugs, Grommets, Extra parts, Owner’s Manual.
- Ships fully assembled (Flat-pack shipments available for international orders).
- Choice of Color: Black or White Matte
XL Window – 14.75” x 14.75” (375mm x 375mm) Gray or Clear: $15.00
Ventilated Flex-Bay Covers: 2 single (MAC-148) 3 triple (MAC-221): $10.00
120mm Ventilated Top Cover (Requires Drop-In Mounts): $60.00
Integrated USB 3.0/HD Audio I/O Panel: $25.00