A Case of Get­ting What You Pay For

The Mer­cury S8 is pricey, but worth ev­ery penny

Maximum PC - - IN THE LAB - TUAN NGUYEN, EDI­TOR-IN-CHIEF

AS OF­TEN AS I’VE TRIED to stop fid­dling with a PC, I just can’t—it’s in my na­ture. I’ve built count­less com­put­ers, from the very sim­ple to the in­cred­i­bly com­plex. And I’ve come to re­al­ize that the chas­sis you build in af­fects the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence from be­gin­ning to end.

In 2015, I built the Dream Ma­chine us­ing a giant CaseLabs chas­sis that was amaz­ing to work in. Just a few weeks ago, I de­cided to try my hand again at an­other CaseLabs chas­sis that was smaller, but no less as­tound­ing.

Com­ing to cus­tomers in a flat-packed box, CaseLabs prod­ucts are in­cred­i­bly easy to as­sem­ble, and as you put them to­gether, you’ll no­tice nu­ances that make you think, “Wow, some­one is re­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion to the de­tails.” The drive cages, for ex­am­ple, in the Mer­cury S8 I worked on, mount on rub­ber rings to the whole frame, and the frame it­self snaps to­gether, in­clud­ing the pan­els. Ev­ery­thing is clean and ex­act. While some com­peti­tors have sim­i­lar fea­tures, CaseLabs, to me, seems con­sis­tent in its de­sign and at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Ev­ery CaseLabs chas­sis can be op­tioned and cus­tom­ized to your lik­ing be­fore order, and CaseLabs makes this read­ily ap­par­ent on its web­site. Some of its prod­ucts are mod­u­lar, and can be ex­tended if need be. The Mer­cury S8 I or­dered even comes with in­te­grated ra­di­a­tor mount­ing, and plenty of room to spare if you want to go all-out on cus­tom loops. Some of the best cus­tom­loop sys­tems use CaseLabs, and it’s easy to see why.

De­spite all the good things I can list about the Mer­cury S8, there is a caveat: price. CaseLabs prod­ucts aren’t cheap. In fact, the Mer­cury S8 will set you back $470, but you get what you pay for. Se­ri­ous builders only.

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