Warning, what follows is verbose and not easily texted…
Before I get started, let me just say I own an SMA8 and it’s the only CaseLabs case I’ve ever owned and can speak to from actual experience. Still, I’ve read plenty about the other models by way of this and other forums, and find they all more or less share some things in common.
Whether or not they were originally designed to cater to a few niche markets at certain price points, that’s what they appear to do today. They’re well made, solid, and built using the sort of quality materials we used to see in (e.g.) Corsair and Silverstone products a decade or more back. They also lend a great deal of truth to the adage “you get what you pay for,” for the most part (more on that in the next paragraph, where I get on my podium);
Part of the equation that factors into getting what you pay for involves customers’ sales and aftermarket experiences (more so the former in this instance). While these certainly seem to have already been beaten to death (ad nauseam?) given the number of relatively recent comments here on OCN, such practices can and do impact a brand’s marketability both from the standpoints of marketers and those with the cash in their hands looking to buy.
‘Nuff said on that (it’s that ad nauseam thing), but I will make two recommendations:
If you advertise a certain shipping date, by all means do your best to adhere to it, customer’s really don’t want to hear excuses. Yes things happen, but the bottom line (your bottom line) will be determined by just how happy your customers remain. If you can’t meet the deadlines you’ve promised, let your customers know up front (my second recommendation, transparency). Looks like you’re try to get a handle on things now, so good on you and we’ll see how it goes (and my apology if this seems out of context for this thread. Again, I love my SMA8).
Now for my on topic recommendations, most of which are repeats (some verbatim) of what has already been suggested:NOTE
: while a number of these are neither easy implemented, nor necessarily inexpensively accomplished, you might consider increasing your pricing for such options. Maybe do so at higher cost to those customers who would like these options, as well as grasp the reasons why they need to be priced and paid for accordingly).
- Tempered glass for windows (one of my preferences, though I have a fairly sound understanding of what it takes to implement such an offering. I priced such a window myself for my SMA8, and a one off would cost me upwards of $200 when it was all said and done; that includes my providing the artwork myself, which is on my to do list);
- USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 options (probably a good idea now that the technology has gotten there);
- I don’t see any real need to mess with the HDD mounting options, as your existing accommodations for them are adaptable enough that people can choose to use them or lose them. By people, I mean any respectable case modder. That said, perhaps modify the areas where HDDs can be mounted to also accept SDD mount brackets to satisfy those craving such. I’ve got a two ton arbor press here that I might just use for that purpose someday;
- Bring back customization and two tone support (agreed, certainly couldn’t hurt if you find the means to eventually support it again, at least logistically speaking; again, maybe do so at higher cost to those customers who would like the option; also include the primer option again);
- Possibly a vertical GPU mounting solution where motherboards are mounted vertically. If trends continue with respect to the use of multiple GPUS, making such available might help alleviate “that empty feeling” I’ve heard mention of in examples built using your larger offerings. Some seem to categorize it as an aesthetics issue;
- Retrofit the SMA8 to include drop in radiator mounting, if at all possible. I’d also like to see an option to mount 140’s up top; again, if possible;
- A sliding mid-plate would be nice, at least one you could slide in and out once the screws were removed; not sure how much that would impact the structural integrity of your cases though, where implemented;
- Maybe some additional ventilation in the side panels which don’t have windows. Just food for thought, while I’m also thinking about dust filters (another option to consider, I’m not crazy about DEMCifilters);
- More modern exterior aesthetics? Not sure about this one. I’m more of a utility look and feel guy myself.
Lastly something that hasn’t been suggested in this thread yet, but tweaks my grey matter: lighting options. For example, mid-plate acrylic lightboxes, channels & strips for use there and elsewhere in the cases, etc. They’re easy enough to install once they properly designed/produced, and you might even think about sourcing them somewhere else. I’ve seen excellent third party examples, mostly out of Deutschland. If you use the right materials and layouts, such mid-plate lightboxes should also be modifiable to accommodate pass-through tubing;
That sums it up for now, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t covered everything I could think of. My apologies (again) if I seemed long winded. I’m a long-winded sort of guy (with decades of experience hanging around think and thoughtless tanks).Edited by iamjanco - 6/12/17 at 7:20pm