Today we are very excited to be reviewing the new CaseLabs S8. The S8 is part of the Mercury line up. Mercury was originally designed to be a lower cost mITX case while still maintaining the CaseLabs quality, look and design details. That first case was the S3, and it was so popular that there was a significant demand for a larger mATX version. That became the S5, and as soon as that was released there was pressure to make a full size ATX case which is now the mighty S8.
For those of you who are new to CaseLabs they are a boutique case vendor based near Los Angeles. All the design and manufacturing is done in house and they use their manufacturing knowledge to create top of the line high quality cases out of Aluminum that cater to the enthusiast. CaseLabs makes the cases to order, there is no stock and unlike many enthusiast cases there are a metric ton of possible options for each case. So let’s start with the S8 chassis. CaseLabs cases always have an interior frame that is strong enough to build the entire rig in, then at the last second the ‘dress’ panels can be snapped on and the case is complete. The best example I’ve seen to really show the case construction is this timelapse of building the case made by “cpachris” at OCN – you can see more of the build by clicking this link here:
Bear in mind the pink is not an orderable option from CaseLabs. The case does typically ship partially disassembled to save on shipping and it typically takes a first timer about 30 minutes or less to build. So this is how the internal frame looks on the S8 once the outer panels are removed:
Of course this version is black, one of the many options is in choosing the color. The case can be delivered in black or white, or a gray primer suitable for painting on. CaseLabs have also recently added a “gunmetal” grey option that may or may not stick around. If these options are not enough you can even specify which panels get to be which color. Of course this is not free either in terms of delivery or cost ($35 up charge for two colors). The frame shows the basic layout of the case. On the right of the front panel is a large cutout for up to 9 5 1/4″ drive bays that can be mounted with some accessories. Alternatively they can be filled with CaseLabs own “flexbay” accessories including easy to use radiator mounts. The back panel shows the cutout and pcie backplates for the motherboard, while underneath is a power supply mount. This is more easily seen from the rear:
On the underside there are four areas that look like fan cutouts. The one with hex mesh is not for mounting a fan but for providing fresh air to a power supply if it’s mounted in that orientation. The larger hole is for a 140mm if desired and the two smaller holes are for 120mm fans. The double 120mm fan spacing is of course the right size for a 240mm radiator.
The rubber feet are also another option – you can spring for caster wheels instead if you think your finished rig will be obnoxiously heavy.
Another nice feature is that cover plates are provided for all these holes if you desire to seal them for dust purposes. Here we see the 140mm fan hole covered as well as a “partial” cover of the 120mm fan hole that crosses between the psu sub section and the HDD area:
This cover plate is interesting because there is a 1/4″ gap between it and the wall, allowing for wires and some airflow. This plate is thus serving a different purpose than sealing a chamber. Instead it makes life easy if you wish to mount something to it. It can be easily removed for drilling and mounting a pump or reservoir for example and then quickly reattached using thumb screws.