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All four of the included fans are identical. Judging from the
model number, they are low speed and sleeve bearing, but the original manufacturer
could not be determined. The electrical rating of 0.14A is very high for a low
speed fan. If we had to guess, we'd estimate the maximum speed at 2,000~2,500
RPM. All four are thermally controlled, with the thermistor located about half
an inch off the outer frame.
Although they bear the same model number, the two rear fans differ
from the drive bay fans in one important respect: Header type. The exhaust fans
are intended to run off the power supply using Molex connectors, while the two
drive bay fans use the 3-pin header found on most motherboards.
This mysterious label leaves no clue as to the original manufacturer.
The photo below does a good job of summing up the installation process. It
involves cables. Lots of them. By and large, the most difficult work has already
been done; the various gadgets on the front panel are all wired to each other
correctly, and have reasonably well labeled cables ready to be hooked up to
the motherboard. With the possible exception of the control buttons, all of
the cables are more than long enough. This is a good thing, as the sheer volume
of cables made routing them a nightmare. Think the cable nest on back side of
your home theater compressed into the case itself. There are cables going to
and from everywhere, and it requires considerable foresight and planning to
prevent them from tangling.
There are a total of separate connections that need to be made for a complete
- Front Audio Ports
- Front USB Port
- Front Firewire Port
- Internal USB connection for flash card reader
- Internal USB connection for IR port
- Internal USB connection for touchscreen
- Power switch connection to motherboard
- Power connection for IR port (tapped from the Main ATX connector for +5VSB)
- Molex Power connection for LCD monitor
- Molex Power connection for blue power LED around the power button
- VGA connection for the touchscreen
Every one of these cables needs to be hooked up.
Although the instruction manual is detailed and well illustrated, it is very
easy to miss one of these connections. Making matters worse is the fact that
it's quite easy to pull out some of the pre-installed cables by accident while
working with the drive bays. We learned this from experience after we accidentally
disconnected the power switch and spent half an hour panicking about whether
or not our motherboard had died.
You'll need a motherboard with at least four internal USB ports to get everything
working, so if you intend to install the USB backplate that comes with most
motherboards, you'll want to spring for a high end model that has a couple extra
The empty socket on the far left taps the +5VSB signal
on the power supply and allows the system to be turned on via remote control.
The far right cable is the power switch, and is very easy to pull
Installing the drives is a matter of sliding the drives into one or both of
the drive bays and screwing them into place. The drives have about an inch of
play, allowing them to be pressed flush against the cooling fan or extended
out into the center of the case. From a cooling perspective, it's probably best
to leave a gap between the drives and the fan, but pushing the drives too far
out will most likely cause space issues for cables if both drive bays are in
use. The best configuration depends on the number of drives in use, but somewhere
in the middle should work most of the time.
Be sure to leave a gap between the hard drives and
the fan. Note the green thermistor poking up from the corner of the fan.
With four drives installed, there will be very little room in the middle
Aside from the cable issues, the Moncaso is a dream to work in. It's wide open
and very large. We had no problem maneuvering the motherboard into place even
with the CPU heatsink pre-installed, and there are no riser cards to futz around
with, making the graphics card a piece of cake.
However, as the photo above shows, finding a place to put all the spare cables
is a challenge. Even using cable-ties to form bundles of spare cable didn't
do much more than contain the worst of the mess. The worst section is shown
in the photo below.
A cable nest may be inevitable...
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