The Merc Alpha did everything I asked it to, and while I could continue with parodies on it against a hired killer, let me just say this. The Merc series cases are those good bones that will carry you from a beginner and on up to an avid overclocker. As the case is shipped it is pretty basic; you don't get grommets for the wiring, USB 3.0 is also nixed, and tool-less clips were done away with in favor of easy to use thumbscrews. The outside of the chassis offers a slick looking chassis that isn't going to stand out against the rooms decor while still offering plenty of room and optional cooling placements. As I built the PC in the Merc Alpha and powered it up, the only thing I saw missing was the glow of LED to accent the front intake as well as a pair of them in the roof of this chassis. Once that is done you complete the look of what this chassis could be in all its optional glory.
With seven expansion slots, multi card systems are very easy to place inside here. There may be some issues if you plan to add hard drives to all the bays as there is a battle for room between them and the end of your graphics cards in this layout. The motherboard went in easy, especially with the pin style riser in the middle of the board. It allows you to not have to keep pressure on the board to align the risers, giving you both hands to get the other screws into the board. The large open holes for the wiring through the tray and next to the hard drives allowed me to hide longer wires, tie a few up and have room for wires left had I not been using a modular power supply. To top it all off, even if you do get a little out of hand with wire bundles, the way the doors hinge from the front allow the side panels to compress the wiring as the panel shuts versus having to slide it past it and binding the door.
The limited availability is going to hurt the overall score, but that isn't directed to BitFenix; I'm sure they would love to be on as many shelves as possible. As I type this out my money would likely be going to Xoxide.com as they are the most well known of the four locations I was able to locate the Merc Alpha via Google. It's sad to think that no matter where you shop, shipping is going to cost half of what the case requires for ownership. With a sub-$40 price tag everywhere I looked, it will be nearer to $60-65 once you add the shipping. Comparing to the similarly priced NZXT offerings, we lost USB 3.0 connectivity and a fan, but the appearance of the Merc Alpha and or Beta both appeal to me more! I think having a chassis I like to look at over a fan and a single USB 3.0 port is well worth the trade off.
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