Moneual MonCaso 301 Desktop HTPC Case

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Moneual MonCaso 301 HTPC Case

July 6, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Moneual MonCaso 301
Multimedia/HTPC Case
Manufacturer
Market Price

The last Moneual case we reviewed, the MonCaso 932, established that Moneual is an ambitious player in home theater cases. The Korean manufacturer sent us a sample of a complete desktop HTPC using a simpler, slimmer case. Our initial impressions of the Moneual 301 were good — the case looks fantastic and the package came with a remote and a compact wireless keyboard with trackball.


The MonCaso 301.

Unfortunately our opinion soured a bit once we read the specifications. At the heart of the Moneual 301 HTPC is a X2 4400+ processor and MSI motherboard based on the AMD 690G chipset. So the parts are a little-dated, but still good enough for high definition video playback. However, things deteriorated further once we got a chance to sample its noise level and take a look under the hood.


The interior of the Moneual 301. Full component list.

The source of our woes: The power supply, the CPU cooler, and side fan. The Zumax 400W power supply was surprisingly loud. At idle, while drawing only 55W from the wall, it was louder than many of the power supplies we've reviewed with loads many times higher. The unit even had a button at the back to push the fan into 'turbo' mode, to drum up even more noise! The PSU build quality was also suspect — it was very lightweight and the interior appeared to be mostly empty. The SilentFlux CPU cooler also contributed a great deal of noise to the system. Its fins were too restrictive and Noiselimit's "bubble flex" technology (supposedly a poor man's version of watercooling) couldn't get the job done quietly — reducing the fan's speed to tolerable levels resulted in very high CPU temperatures. The 80mm fan mounted at the side was also acoustically subpar.

Not only was the system underpowered, but quieting it would mean replacing over half the components. The one thing we really admired about the system was the enclosure, the MonCaso 301 case. The case is well-built with thick panels, plenty of ventilation, and an appealing appearance. When we discovered the case is available separately, we decided to focus on the case alone. Our hope was that with proper components, it could be the foundation of a quiet HTPC.

Moneual MonCaso 301: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Case Type Desktop
Dimension (mm/inch) 432W x 105H x 410D /
17.00W x 4.13 H x 16.13L
Available Color Black / Silver
M/B Type Micro ATX
Max.Dimension (mm/inch) 254W x 232L /
10.00W x 9.13L
PSU Type Standard ATX
Dimension (mm/inch) 150W x 85H x 140L /
5.94W x 3.38H x 5.50L
Front Display iMon VFD OEM
Fan(s) 1 x 80mm on the side
External 5.25" Bay 1
External 3.5" Bay 0
Internal 3.5" Bay 2
Expansion Slots 4 - Low Profile Type
Weight (Case Only) 5.44Kg / 12 Lbs


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