CaseLabs Mercury S5 Case Review
Most cases that claim customizability actually only offer a limited number of options but CaseLabsí approach is both unique and appealing. Unlike enclosures like Cooler Masterís HAF Stacker, the CaseLabs products offer a long list of factory options which allow gamers and overclockers alike to built additional functionality into their selection or go with a bare bones approach.
At this time, there are two different ways to get access to one of these cases: either order it directly from CaseLabs or buy it from an online retailer. There are positives and negatives associated with each. Online retailers have preconfigured setups that will often cost less than the fully customizable cases on CaseLabsí site but youíll be sacrificing the one thing that makes these cases so unique: the ability to personalize your purchase.
The Mercury S5 represents a mid-tier product for CaseLabs but, as with all of their cases, it comes in numerous colors, has an impressive number of water cooling options and is relatively compact. The S5 even has a an add-on pedestal which expands its small mATX form factor with additional place for water cooling radiators, storage, pumps and other items. Even though this is one of the least expensive cases in the CaseLabs lineup, it still costs $260 alone (or $372 when fully optioned out) or $410 with the pedestal. That may sound like a lot for an mATX case but when compared against the competition, this one is simply a cut above from a functionality and build quality standpoint.
CaseLabs really doesnít need to adorn their cases with flashy add-ons and pointless ďfeaturesĒ since their primary focus is on basic usability rather than covering up cheap construction with fancy plastic bits. With that in mind, the Mercury S5ís all-aluminum exterior is rather utilitarian but totally functional. It has various side and top panel options which can add either more ventilation or a cleaner look with uniform, unblemished options or even windows to show off your build. All of these are mounted on tool-less, replaceable hinges so getting access to the interior is easy and doesnít require removing countless thumb screws.
As with most of the S5ís exterior elements, the bay drive covers are customizable with several options available. Many of these are geared towards water cooling with a dual 120mm cover that allows for a front-mounted radiator setup. Even the front panel connector is replaceable which various layouts being available, though we prefer the classic power / reset plus dual USB 3.0 port offering.
The Mercury S5ís interior is where all the fun happens. Even though this is a relatively small mATX chassis, CaseLabs has designed it in such a way that every square inch is utilized to its fullest potential. For example, the motherboard tray is completely removable so the primary components can be assembled without being restricted by the caseís confines. There are also numerous SSD and HDD mounting options within the S5, all of which are cleverly positioned so cable clutter remains minimal.
For those who decide to go with the pedestal, CaseLabs includes a round cut-out on the Mercuryís bottom for cable and tubing pass-through. This is a great choice since this area would normally be used for the aforementioned water cooling and additional storage space, providing an enthusiast with the ultimate combination of minimal size and high end system specs.
Thereís just so much to discuss about the CaseLabs Mercury S5 that it canít all fit into this limited overview. Make sure you check out our video review above for a blow-by-blow system build of this interesting, high end case. Is it really worth over $300?
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