The BitFenix Merc Alpha ships with a single, high quality fan and can be customised with the addition of many more fans to create a very high airflow case. BitFenix have once again designed a chassis that fits their mantra of “creating hardware and peripherals that grant the user the utmost control, strength, and performance”. This case can cater to your specific demands, whether you want a really quiet office style system, or the latest high airflow gaming system.
There are many excellent design points, and we have to praise the high engineering standards and build quality. The sides of the case also use a clever but elegant hinge concept … you simply slot the side in and then close it up.
The front of the case looks sleek and understated with a small mesh section at the bottom to enhance airflow. We also like the PCI locking system which works well and is painfree to use.
Negatively there are several things we don’t like. For instance, there is very limited space above the motherboard, and as such the Antec 920 only just fits. This also means it is very hard to make good use of the top two fan slots, especially when using a large cooler. In fact, when using something similar to the Antec 920 you cannot use the top fan slot, at the rear.
The fact the Merc Alpha doesn’t have USB 3.0 support is not a huge downside, especially for a design at this price. That said, it is a feature we are seeing included on nearly every new chassis in 2012, and as such it would’ve been wise for Bitfenix to offer support, out of the box.
Bitfenix haven’t tried to use a locking mechanism for hard drives, but instead have provided us with lots of thumbscrews, and while this is not the best solution, it is guaranteed to work every time. They have also allowed plenty of space for cable routing, with many cut outs to the side of the motherboard. We did find that there is limited space behind the motherboard tray for cables and we had to route power supply cables very carefully as they were just too thick to reside behind the tray.
Overall we are very impressed with this case, its acoustic performance is very good and it has a lot of cooling potential, even if in an ‘out of the box’ state it offers modest air flow. When you factor in the amazing price of £32.99 in the UK it is hard to knock a case that offers so much for such a low price.
- Can accommodate up to 8 x 120mm fans.
- Very sturdy and well built chassis.
- Lots of cut-outs for cable tidying.
- Sides of case fit easily and elegantly.
- Only 1 x 120mm fan included.
- No USB 3.0 support.
- Limited space for all-in-one cooling units or large fans.
Kitguru says: For the low asking price, it is hard to fault.