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Best Of The Best, Part 2: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

Building With The Merlin SM08

CaseLabs packs the SM08 with a strip of foam tape, which you cut and paste to the power supply tray before securing it to either the top or bottom rear-panel mounting locations.

In theory, you could assemble your system without the tray, since the power supply screws to the back panel (and not the tray itself). Doing so, however, would increase stress around the four mounting holes.

Silicon grommets dampen the vibrations of mechanical drives within the SM08’s two 3.5” aluminum cages. Shoulder screws keep you from squashing those grommets.

Though CaseLabs recommends installing 2.5” drives with their connectors on top, actual orientation should be determined by cable arrangement. The single included cage holds two drives, and limited vertical space precludes the use of 90° cables.

The motherboard tray slides out with its screws still attached. Four included feet attach to the underside, transforming this tray into an external test stand. But the cover must be removed to open the CPU cooler support plate’s access hole.

By placing internal drive cages behind the tray and shipping the Merlin SM08 with its external drive brackets uninstalled, CaseLabs creates vast space inside this otherwise standard-sized full-tower.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.