The CaseLabs S3 is a mITX case that has redefined what an mITX case could be. For a start it’s probably one of the largest mITX cases out there. Indeed there are quite possibly smaller ATX cases. So in this review we will be addressing why this mITX case is so big and why you might still want it.

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Let’s start with the dry and boring specs:

Technical Specs
Base Price (US Dollars) $199.95
Flex-Bays (5.25 bays) 7
PCI Slots 3
Motherboard tray size (width x height) 6.57″ x 7.69″ (167mm x 195mm)
Native HDD Locations 1
Native SSD Locations 2
Total possible HDD locations with extra HDD cages (using additional mounts) 9
Total possible SSD locations with extra SSD mounts (using additional mounts) 18
PSU Mounting locations 1
Weight (Pounds) 10
Optional Front I/O Panel Yes
Compatible Motherboard Form Factors
mITX Yes

 

Dimensions     
Exterior (width x depth x height)(dimensions shown are for the case only. Rubber feet add .75’’ (19mm) to height, optional standard casters add 2.6’’ (67mm) and HD Casters add 3’’ (76mm)) 10.54″ x 15.03″ x 14.94″ (268mm x 382mm x 379mm)
Maximum Radiator/Fan clearance above motherboard tray with standard height top cover 90mm
Cooling Tower Clearance (air cooler) 200mm

 

Case Features and Included Accessories
All Aluminum construction Yes
Flex-Bay System Yes
Accessory mounting System
Quick Release Exterior Yes
Flex-Bay 5.25 Device Mounts – Standard (MAC-125) 2 sets
Flex-Bay 5.25 Device Mounts – Short Adjustable (MAC-213) 1 set
Integrated Radiator Mounting (beyond 120.1/140.1) Yes (optional)
Drop-in Top Radiator Mounting Yes (optional)
Drop-in Side Radiator Mounting
Side Radiator Mounting
Isolated Cooling Chambers
Dual Chamber Design
Reversible
Slide out motherboard tray with tech station conversion kit
Anti-Vandal style power and reset switches with MDPC-X sleeved cables Yes
Included PSU support mount
Compatible Radiator Sizes (may require additional mounts)
120.1 – 120.2 (120 – 240) Yes
140.1 – 140.2 (140 – 280) Yes

 

So in short this is a full aluminum case that starts at $200.  But how much does it really cost once we’ve configured it in the “right” way as we do in the above picture:

$200 base price
+$20 for Gunmetal Grey color (Black is no charge)
+$16 for a drop in radiator mount for the top
+$15 for a right side window
+$15 for a left side window
+$20 for front mount USB3 ports
+$20 for a 240 flexbay radiator mount
= $306 + tax + ship

So as usual from CaseLabs, this is not a normal mITX case and nor is it priced like one.  Most mITX cases are not designed with high quality in mind.  After all the theory goes that the user who buys mITX is on a budget.  But these days with powerful ITX motherboards and individual graphics cards occasionally running over $1000 then an mITX build can not only be a serious power house but can cost serious money.

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We did a quick high end build in the case to test it out and configured it as follows:
4770K – $340
Asus Maximus VI Impact – $230
2x4GB Corsair Dominator GT 2133 DDR3 – $170
EVGA GTX 980 – $550
Corsair AX850 – $180
Sasmung 840 Pro 256GB SSD – $140
EK FC-M6I Monoblock – $123
EK FC-980 GPU Block & Backplate – $179
2x EK PE 240 Radiators – $120
5x EK Vardar Fans – $90
EK DDC 100 X-RES PWM – $131
EK Uni D5 + DDC Mount Holder – $15
10x EK Compression Fittings – $60
7x EK Rotary Adapters – $42
AquaComputer Aquaero – $220

Hardly the highest or lowest end build given what we could have put in – and this simple but high end build adds up to $2590 without any applicable taxes and shipping. So the S3 is priced roughly around 10% of the cost of an entire build that is reasonably likely to occupy it. So relatively that’s not a crazy amount of money given the kind of builds that this case is designed for. So yes it could be smaller and cheaper, but given that it’s not let’s review it for what it is – a high end watercooling friendly mITX case.

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So what features does this case have that other smaller mITX cases don’t?

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