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CaseLabs Merlin SM8 Full-Tower Customizable Chassis Review

By: Chad Sebring | Full-Tower Cases in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 4:12 am
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: CaseLabs

CaseLabs Merlin SM8 Full-Tower Chassis




The front of the SM8 ships with two thin covers for the top two bays and then offers three-bay covers for the lower section covering all 11 5.25" bays. As the chassis is shipped, the front I/O panel is on the right side of the chassis.




The base chassis will get the pair of anti-vandal switches for the power and reset buttons. As for the four USB 3.0 ports and the HD Audio jacks, this is an option that will cost you to add it.




Pulling off the front bezel that is held in place with clips at the four corners allows you access to rearrange or remove the bay covers, and you can see the front I/O can swap sides, but more on this later.




The top of the SM8 ships with a plain solid cover, but I was given the ventilated version for this review. This will allow any fans under it to easily pass through this wide slotted mesh design.




Under the top of the chassis you see the same four metal clips that the front was held on with to attach the top as well. You also have four removable plates for fans, and a large opening to plumb a radiator at the front.




The left side of the chassis has a large black handle at the front that allows the doors to just pull open and move to the rear of the chassis. The usual SM8 ships with a smaller window, but I was given the XL window, which again costs more on top of the chassis price.




In the back I broke it up to cover everything. There is an optional place for a PSU at the top. Just below this is the top half of the removable motherboard tray showing the optional fan mount for a 120mm fan next to the rear I/O area.




Visible in this image as well as the previous one, you can see the beefy black hinges used to support the large doors. Between them here you see eight expansion slots next to some honeycomb mesh, with the standard PSU mounting position set up at the bottom.




The right side panel offers the same large handle at the front, but on this panel you also have a row of slits cut at the top and bottom to allow for convective air flow behind the motherboard tray.




The feet are included in the hardware, but for now the bottom of the chassis offers four 120mm holes for fans or radiators. One thing to consider is that the PSU will be using the one furthest left.

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