Moneual MonCaso 301 Desktop HTPC Case

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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

  • Moneual MonCaso 301 at 1m
    — Nexus 120mm CPU fan @ 930 RPM (17 dBA@1m)
    — Nexus 120mm CPU fan @ 930 RPM and Nexus 80mm Sys fan @ 1020 RPM (20 dBA@1m)

Comparatives:

FINAL THOUGHTS

The MonCaso 301 is an excellent product that hits the mark in all the important categories. The enclosure is well-built with thick non-resonant panels. A good level of ventilation is provided, especially in the area around the CPU and expansion slots, to facilitate cooling. The unit is pleasing to the eye with a smooth brush aluminum front panel, stealthed face-plate for the optical drive, and a nifty looking VFD. The iMon Pad, Moneual's remote control puts the 301 over top. Its range is excellent, the control it allows is superb, and the level of customization available gives it unparalleled potential.

With the right components, the MonCaso 301 can be the base for a stylish, versatile theater PC. The Moneual 301 system as shipped to us is a lesson in what not to use. The hardware inside was substandard at best and generated far too much noise to be considered quiet in most environments. We don't recommend it for any of our readers — the level of modification required to bring its noise level down to tolerable levels is high, and not worth the time, effort, and/or monetary investment. The case and remote aren't enough to counterbalance its inherent weaknesses. Hopefully Moneual has updated the system with more up-to-date components of higher quality and lower noise.

The MonCaso 301 case can be found for as low as US$190. Considering its aesthetics, build quality, and the exemplary remote control, it's a very good value at the price. It is a slim case, so only low-profile expansion cards and shorter CPU coolers can be used. It doesn't have enough room for a powerhouse system, which is OK for HTPC. It's exceptionally well-suited for a home theater PC.

Our thanks to Moneual for the Moneual 301 system sample.

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