Caselabs M8 Review

Caselabs M8 Review

 Caselabs M8 Review

Intoduction

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.

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):


  • All aluminium construction - .090" (2.3mm) chassis .063"(1.6mm) doors/covers.
  • Choice of ventilated or solid doors and covers (on a panel by panel basis).
  • Slide out MB tray.
  • Choice of one HDD cage assembly (4 drive capacity): either standard or Flex-Bay mount. Note that the flex-bay mount deletes one of the 3U filler panels.
  • Choice of hex mesh or 40mm fan holes on MB back plate.
  • Four single bay filler plates and two/three triple plates.
  • Four sets of mounting brackets for 5.25” devices (Flex-Bays)
  • Lamptron anti-vandal style switches (power & reset) and wiring harnesses: blue ring for power and red dot for HDD activity. They are standard switches that can be easily swapped out for custom color combinations.
  • Filler plates for top and bottom fan openings, 40mm fan openings on MB tray (if selected), card slots, and one PSU.
  • Four rubber feet with screws (casters are available).
  • Misc. hardware: Thumbscrews, MB standoffs, Tie-wraps, etc.


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!



Conclusion

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.

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Most Recent Comments

22-08-2011, 05:06:30

tinytomlogan
We take a look at the baby of the Caselabs range the M8. Dont get confused though this is no MITX chassis!



Continue Reading

22-08-2011, 05:18:31

SieB
I think this case is a good case and the amount of options and customization it offers is mind blowing, but, to me it just looks like a giant box.

A case like this is more suited to server type builds than a normal desktop sat on top of your desk, if you have one big enough to put it on that is.

I'd like to see them do a stylish full tower case though and offer the same level of customization and options. Obviously you wouldn't have as many option because of size but if they can make a nice normal sized modular case i'd like to see it.

22-08-2011, 05:21:27

jonowee
Just watched the video this afternoon, and I think like TTL, I'm lost on where to even begin modding or building a system considering the many options... SO MANY OPTIONS . Even if the P&H will kill non-continental USA customers, but for sub-$400 base level I think this case is a freakin' bargain. The tool-less build is the biggest winner of this case for me, too many custom case makers insist you have to unscrew twelve or so hex head screws to even get the side panel off.

22-08-2011, 05:29:06

Solidarity
I see this as a case for someone with more hardware than sense, it's just too customisable.

22-08-2011, 05:51:39

Casmund
I have watched this review 2 times since its release. As a MM owner for 7 years now I have to say I seriously want a CaseLabs case. The quality of build and engineering is excellent by comparison. For basically the same price you get so much more with the Caselabs. I have seen some builds on the TH10 model as well and both it and the M8 blow me away. I think part of the real beauty of these cases is with the amount of radiators you can put in there the additional surface area would allow you to run pretty much silent. Yes the cost of fans is going to be hideous I saw one guy that had the Magnum TH10 had 2x 120.3 rads on the floor(no pedestal) and 2x 120.4 rads on the top (inside the case not above the case) with 28 fans on the rads and then another 6 or 7 mounted to the case. But like Tom said its an Enthusiast case and more about the performance than the cost. I for one will be putting money away to save for a TH10 or MAGNUM TX10 Extreme Edition (Under Development). Cases like these last a long time I have almost had my MM 8 years and its basically ATX MB tray and spacelimitations more than durability that will have me upgrading from it to a CaseLabs. I am extremely impressed and I cannot wait to see what Tom puts into his M8 but if I had to hazard a guess I would imagine Sandy Bridge E LGA 2011 related hardware.

22-08-2011, 06:15:23

yassarikhan786
It has a lot of customization options, but I just don't like the look of it. Great review though, you covered all of the points.

22-08-2011, 06:25:46

Natashaful
<-- I think this Sums up what i think of the Case Labs Range.

22-08-2011, 06:40:35

Excalabur50
Fantastic case more mod options than you can poke a pc part at just not something I would use

22-08-2011, 07:10:46

dugdiamond
if meccano made cases.....

i noticed that @~38mins through the vid... when you mentioned 180mm fans (oops!) 140mm.... the case only has SIX mounted screw-holes.... shouldn't there be EIGHT !!!! ??????

kudos to caselabs... the shipping must have cost a small fortune to get it to you

22-08-2011, 07:22:57

SPS
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugdiamond View Post

if meccano made cases.....

i noticed that @~38mins through the vid... when you mentioned 180mm fans (oops!) 140mm.... the case only has SIX mounted screw-holes.... shouldn't there be EIGHT !!!! ??????

kudos to caselabs... the shipping must have cost a small fortune to get it to you
I think if you look closely there are actually 8 holes but only 6 screws in them

22-08-2011, 07:31:59

Lollipop

22-08-2011, 07:33:24

Lollipop
Can you imagine if caselabs did a non-cube case with a pedestal? you could have a nice clean case with all the crap in the bottom where it cannot be seen

22-08-2011, 08:06:10

dipzy
would be perfect for a x79 build

22-08-2011, 09:47:48

badtaylorx
silverstone and corsair must be crapping their collective pants hoping these guys DONT venture into the normal atx size market!!!

22-08-2011, 10:04:44

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by badtaylorx View Post

silverstone and corsair must be crapping their collective pants hoping these guys DONT venture into the normal atx size market!!!
Q1 2012 they have a 'normal' sized case and an MATX coming........... before anyone asks - yes both of them.

22-08-2011, 10:42:47

DiggyDiggyHole
I am sorry but...The black one just looks the absolute dogs danglies! I MUST GET THIS!!!!.....I may pare this cases larger brother with a new Sr-3 Wink, hint,wink

22-08-2011, 10:50:18

Tenu
Great review mate, really interesting case.... Just wish I had the money for something like that!

One day maybe......

22-08-2011, 11:13:40

16ReasonsWhy
Great review as always.

Regarding the removable floor of the pedestal, my best guess is that it's there so that you can get hands in both sides when installing rads, etc--the two holes to be able to hold the plate with your fingers.

Love the case and seriously thinking about it for my next build. I'd love it if you did a review of the Silverstone TJ11...I was considering the TJ until I learned about Caselabs. TY

22-08-2011, 12:33:33

Lollipop
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

Q1 2012 they have a 'normal' sized case and an MATX coming........... before anyone asks - yes both of them.
m-atx you say? CAN'T F'ING WAIT!!!

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) Best line ever xD

22-08-2011, 13:25:48

JADOOM
I'm guessing the M-ATX is a rubix cube?

22-08-2011, 13:30:34

JADOOM
Quote:
Originally Posted by yassarikhan786 View Post

It has a lot of customization options, but I just don't like the look of it. Great review though, you covered all of the points.
I think it's meant for people who stick hurricane fans on 12v to the side of every knook and cranny they can fit a rad in then put their rig in a corner/ another room/ in a soundproof box/ use soundproof headphones/ are deaf.

It's clearly not built for convinience/ looks if it's that cumbersome and huge

22-08-2011, 14:41:53

Lollipop
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADOOM View Post

I think it's meant for people who stick hurricane fans on 12v to the side of every knook and cranny they can fit a rad in then put their rig in a corner/ another room/ in a soundproof box/ use soundproof headphones/ are deaf.

It's clearly not built for convinience/ looks if it's that cumbersome and huge
if you put 2 360 rads with low RPM fans it is going to be near silent

22-08-2011, 14:53:24

badtaylorx
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

Q1 2012 they have a 'normal' sized case and an MATX coming........... before anyone asks - yes both of them.
but good healthy competition drives innovation.....personally i cant wait to see their proverbial responses sans a new case!!!

22-08-2011, 15:16:19

JADOOM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollipop View Post

if you put 2 360 rads with low RPM fans it is going to be near silent
Yes, and run hotter. If someone was going to the trouble of running 4+ 360 rads I think they'd be using something well over 100cfm if not 200

22-08-2011, 15:55:18

G-Dubs
Stunning.....Simply stunning.

and just itching to be modded.

22-08-2011, 16:03:13

Lollipop
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADOOM View Post

Yes, and run hotter. If someone was going to the trouble of running 4+ 360 rads I think they'd be using something well over 100cfm if not 200
As long as cpu temps don't go over the recommended temp it doesn't matter how much cooler Joes cpu is

22-08-2011, 16:05:33

JADOOM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollipop View Post

As long as cpu temps don't go over the recommended temp it doesn't matter how much cooler Joes cpu is
It might do if Joe is some watercooling mega nerd trying to set records

22-08-2011, 23:59:36

mayhem
my fluids that case . if the whole right section was 2 different reservoirs ... nom nom nom

23-08-2011, 01:17:17

Stl Drifter
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem View Post

my fluids that case . if the whole right section was 2 different reservoirs ... nom nom nom
I was thinking along the same line.

23-08-2011, 04:02:27

Natashaful
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem View Post

my fluids that case . if the whole right section was 2 different reservoirs ... nom nom nom
Did you see the TH10 beast ?

23-08-2011, 05:09:36

Casmund
I think the TX10 Extreme Edition is even going to have an option for horizontal motherboard tray.

23-08-2011, 05:32:09

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADOOM View Post

Yes, and run hotter. If someone was going to the trouble of running 4+ 360 rads I think they'd be using something well over 100cfm if not 200
I think you are missing the point and no one running 4 rads will be running 100cfm fans. Thats just a n000b statement in my eyes.

And no matter how many rads you use you wont get below ambient temps of the room so a mega nerd trying to break records wont be fussed with water

Again - n000b statement

23-08-2011, 06:33:57

Natashaful
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casmund View Post

I think the TX10 Extreme Edition is even going to have an option for horizontal motherboard tray.
I honestly don't see the point though, If your going to run thease cases with 480 rads you're more then likely will be running full CPU/ GPU /Mainboard blocks, Otherwise people are kinda wasting their money on such a big case based around watercooling. So you won't have any heat in the case really since the water cooling is removing it all.. Heat rises, So the best possible position in the case for the Rads is the roof.

23-08-2011, 07:41:09

Scoob
Hi,

I think I might have to get me one of these for my next build...I can see myself going a little crazy with all the options available however.

Sorta thinking a nice dual-loop set up with different colours for CPU and GPU loops...hmm, maybe separate GPU loops too with another colour! Gotta keep it tidy though.

While Tom has almost sold me on a nice external rad set up for my current build, I do like the idea of a fully internal setup. There's ample room for that in this case for sure.

The cool thing is that with Sandy B. running so cool (the single 25mm thick 120mm rad on my Antec Kuhler 620 keeps my CPU in the low-60's in Prime95 @ 4.6) we can use the lions share of the cooling potential for our hot GPU's. Cooling a pair of 590's or 6990's should be well within this cases abilities, while remaining a tidy internal build. Add to this we expect the Ivy B. to run cooler still, for a given clock, as well as the 7*** from AMD and 6** from NV will in turn, one expects, be no-worse than what we have now. I can see a case like this lasting quite some time.

Gonna go fantasy case shopping & start specing up those extras...after I ask someone to hide my credit card...

Cheers,

Scoob.

23-08-2011, 08:11:34

Scoob
Ahhhh,

I made the foolish mistake of checking out Caselabs other cases...the TH10...damn, that's a sizable case. Turn it on it's side, stick four wheels on it and you've got a medium sized family saloon!

Cheers,

Scoob.

23-08-2011, 11:14:22

Mr Muggles
This is my favourite TTL video simply for his enthusiasm alone. I laughed quite a few times as he ran out of breath in his amazement of this case.

It wont win any beauty prizes but that's not what it's about. What a fantastic case though eh TTL lol

23-08-2011, 11:49:23

DiggyDiggyHole
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natashaful View Post

I honestly don't see the point though, If your going to run thease cases with 480 rads you're more then likely will be running full CPU/ GPU /Mainboard blocks, Otherwise people are kinda wasting their money on such a big case based around watercooling. So you won't have any heat in the case really since the water cooling is removing it all.. Heat rises, So the best possible position in the case for the Rads is the roof.
I could see people just enjoying that design, that is why you see some mad men watercooling the Rave RV-02

23-08-2011, 12:03:47

sheroo
This guy has 3 580's and a 2600K in the M8:-

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXSMxnLYOd0&feature=player_detailpage[/media]

23-08-2011, 12:55:23

Scoob
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

This guy has 3 580's and a 2600K in the M8
Surprised those 580 fit...lol.

Kidding!

I think that's the joy of a case like this, the space and component mounting options etc.

Scoob.

23-08-2011, 17:59:30

Ravious
Nice case and nice review as always

24-08-2011, 01:19:53

Cold
Definitely not built for looking at

24-08-2011, 05:16:26

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold View Post

Definitely not built for looking at
I don't know, have a look at the vid I linked ^^^^ I think it looks quite good in black with the right kit in.

24-08-2011, 07:38:52

Scoob
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

I don't know, have a look at the vid I linked ^^^^ I think it looks quite good in black with the right kit in.
Agreed. Big window option, nicely laid out and lit water loop...appeals to me.

Scoob.

24-08-2011, 08:15:08

sday03
Big ol' case, shame it doesn't have USB 3 on the front.

25-08-2011, 14:20:10

Natashaful
Quote:
Originally Posted by sday03 View Post

Big ol' case, shame it doesn't have USB 3 on the front.
You can buy a 3.5inch hub, It's certainly has enough slots

25-08-2011, 15:09:36

Scoob
I'd not be surprised if a USB 3.0 front panel becomes an option before too long if not a de-facto standard. Not actually even used a USB 3.0 device myself yet though...

Scoob.

25-08-2011, 17:07:23

FunnelWeb
G'day from down under guys.

I just watched the Case Labs M8 review and WOW! what an overwhelming piece of kit! After seeing the incredible amount of space available in the M8 I had an unusual idea which I would like to share with you all. As most of you would know any water cooling system takes time to heat up from when it is turned on. The larger the volume of coolant in the system the longer it takes for all the coolant to achieve what I guess you would call "thermal equilibrium" Now here's my idea. What if there were two water cooling systems somehow set up so that you could use one system to cool the components and then (when the first system had fully warmed up) switch to the second system that was at room temperature while the first system cooled down. I am not an experienced water cooler and as such do not know much about fittings etc. Would there be a way to have two different water cooling systems on one loop? Perhaps with splitters with some kind of one way flow valve or something? How would you automate switching from the hot system to the cold system? How could it be set up so that the system that was not cooling the components could still run though its radiator? Perhaps this is not a workable idea, but I think it would be fun to brainstorm about. Who knows, maybe we could come up with something really cool?

Well there you have it, just a simple idea from an inexperienced water cooling noob that I thought could be fun to run with.
Reply
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