The internet is a wonderful place that you can easily get lost in, one day on my web surfing travels I found a picture of a case, it looked similar to some other cases I'd seen in the past, but this one looked different. Different in as it didn't look like a school project kinda way (so the case I found definitely wasn't a Mountain Mods case). A little research later and I had found out that this cases was from a relatively new manufacturer called Caselabs and they were based in California. So new are this company that they don't even have much of a website yet and have been relying on Facebook and forums to sell and promote their cases. The chassis we will be looking at today is amazingly the baby of the range called the M8, with no bolts that big in sight let's take a look at the specifications.
Base Price: $359.95
Size: 15"W x 19.06"H x 20.06"D (381mm x 484mm x 510mm
PCI Slots: 8
Form Factor: ATX/EATX (12.0" x 10.75”)
Max Radiator Size: 120.3
Radiator Clearance over MB: 100mm
Flex-Bays (5.25”): 10
HDD Capacity: 12 (24 using Flex-Bays)
Weight: 21 lbs.
Features common to all cases (standard equipment):
Case Configuration Options:
ATX Layout: Standard (N/C), Reverse (20.00)
MB Door: Ventilated (N/C), Solid (N/C), Std. Window (15.00), XL Window (20.00)
PSU Door: Ventilated (N/C), Solid (N/C), Std. Window (15.00), XL Window (20.00)
Top Cover: Ventilated (N/C), Solid (N/C), Ext. Ventilated (25.00 [35.00 "H" Cases]), Ext. Solid (25.00 [35.00 "H" Cases])
MB Back Plate: Fan Holes (N/C), Hex Mesh (N/C)
HDD Cage Assy: Standard (N/C), Flex-Bay (N/C)
Video Review - put the kettle on and get your popcorn because this is a long one!
Some reviews are so easy to write the words just fall on to the page, at first glance the M8 looked like it would be one of these reviews. Why? I hear you ask, well mainly because of the sheer amount of customisable options it pretty much has an available configuration to keep everyone happy. That is where the problem is..... There is just too much to talk about! Looking back at the video review there is already features I've realised I have missed! So I will try my very best to pull out the main features of this awesome case.
For starters and its something I quite stupidly forgot to mention in the video, and its quite a large thing to forget is that its entirely made out of aluminium, its a good thing really because if a case this size was all steel you would need a crane to move it off and on your desk!
Out of the box the case is a watercooler's dream. It supports 4 yes FOUR 360mm radiators two on either side of the partition, you would need some crazy spec kit to need to use all four, but lets face it having the choice of where you actually want those radiators placed is something that we are not generally used too. Doing everything in Multiples there is also the option of fitting 2 power supplies, it has 10 optical bays and with enough adapters to option of supporting up to 24 hard drives!
The options extras are endless, there are roof panel replacements to allow 60mm radiators to be place in the roof, a front panel adapter for yet another 360mm rad, HDD bays for 4 drives with a mount for a 120mm fan to keep them cool. Window panels in two sizes and 6 colour options! The front optical bays can either be solid or mesh even crazy things like an inverted motherboard tray are available!
The doors are on hinges and this will make maintenance a breeze, adding to the ease of use is the removable motherboard tray thats on slick bushes that means it slides in and out like it does when you've used too much lube on your girlfriend (*ahem* before she wakes up)
The pedestal is another optional extra that's awesome, easy support for yep you've guessed it another two 360mm radiators and there's also 3 optical bays you can use down there for what ever you wish. There are plenty of bay res and pump combos, if it was us however we would just have these as mesh panels maybe with a fan behind. Talking of fans there is the option of fitting two 140mm fans at the back of the unit to help airflow for the rads whether it be feeding or exhausting.
I've only really got a couple of gripes with the case, the USB's should be paired up and only be able to be fitted one way, those less experienced would risk blowing up their USB devises if fitted wrongly, its a very simple and cheap fix that is 100% needed in my eyes. The only other option would be to have very clear 'idiot proof' instructions. I think that the power cable braid not only needs upgrading but the braid ends far too far away from the ends and it leaves an unsightly amount of cable visible and actually gives the unit a cheap feel. Again an easy fix that I think needs to be done as its the little touches that all add up to a quality product. Why have an amazingly designed and built case then ruin it with low quality additions. I do also feel that with the amount of options available that there should be a panel for the base of the case with grommets in to help pass hoses and cables through to the pedestal. Lets face it if you buy the pedestal you will need them so why not just ship them with the unit itself and then you have the choice to use them or modify the blank panels that come with the case as standard.
Now the case at first glance appears to be quite expensive at $369 for the basic case with pretty much everything else being a cost option, but lets remember its all aluminium, its massive and for this level of quality and flexibility its actually very competitively priced. The design, build and quality is leagues apart from its main rival Mountain Mods. To the point where the Caselab's case makes ANY of the MM cases look positively prehistoric, and basic to the point of they now look like a school technology project.
Its because of the endless list of options, awesome design and high build quality that the Caselabs M8 deserved nothing less than the OC3D Gold Award if we had a higher award we would have to use it. I'll also go a step further though and give them a quote they can use:
"As far as OC3D are concerned Caselab's make THE best enthusiasts cases available on the planet today"
Now I know we are quite renowned for being incredibly harsh when it comes to rating cases and can find faults in everything, so that should really add a massive amount of weight to that statement because I don't go handing around lightly.
Thanks to Caselabs for the M8 on review today, you can discuss your thoughts in the forums.