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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

Inside the Merlin SM8




Two pins hold the door in place, and with a slight tug on the black handle, the door will swing wide open. For normal access, the doors will open past 180 degrees, and with four screws removed, the entire panel can be pulled from the hinges.




On the inside of the chassis you can see that there are no pre-determined locations for anything in the 5.25" bays. This will allow you to add drives, reservoirs, fan controllers, or card readers anywhere you want them to go for easiest access.




Inside of the top of the SM8, there is plenty of room to hang a radiator and some fans without running into the motherboard. You can also see the aluminum covers for each hole, and you remove them as needed.




The solid section of the motherboard tray offers ten large holes with grommets on them to support the wire management, along with 14 tie points. The smaller section of the tray is completely removable and is made very strong.




On the floor of the chassis, all four of the 120mm fan holes have the plates still in place. With the PSU bracket installed at the bottom, you can see how it easily blocks one fan hole, if not more when wiring is involved.




We discussed most of what you see here already from the outside. What we couldn't see was that CaseLabs uses longer thumbscrews to secure cards into this chassis.




The right side panel opens just as the left does, from front to back, and will open fully to get out of the way short term, and can be removed for a full build.




Behind the tray you have mounts for a 3.5" drive at the top, a pair of 2.5" drives near the front I/O wiring, and another 3.5" drive at the bottom. I also like that the I/O wiring is sleeved and is long enough to connect on the motherboard.




To get the motherboard tray out, you simply loosen four spring loaded screws at the back. Once the screws are loose, they do stay attached to the motherboard tray as you see now, so that you don't misplace them.




Now out of the chassis, this motherboard tray is much easier to work with, and if you want to install a back plate after the motherboard is in place, you need to pull this tray for access.




To add some strength as well as cleaning up the looks of the motherboard tray, there is a piece of aluminum screwed to the back. These five screws need removed to access the back of the motherboard.

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