Moneual Sonamu G100
Earlier this year, Moneual showed off its new Sonamu micro-ATX case. Sonamu is derived from the Korean word for pine tree. This is Moneual’s way of emphasizing how much each of our carbon footprints can be minimized by cutting power consumption.
Overall, the build quality of this chassis is average at best. Compared to some of our recently-reviewed mini-ITX cases, this solution is similar to Antec’s ISK 310-150. Moneual isn't trying to be fancy with the Sonamu's looks. This is simply stamped steel with a coat of black paint. All of the edges are partially tapered, but some are still rather sharp, so caution is recommended.
Priced at $140, the construction of the chassis feels lacking. The power button is loose, and is made of rather thin plastic. In addition, the I/O panel door requires quite a bit of force to open and close.
Update (7/26/2011): Moneual just let us know that it now offers a version of the G100 with an 80 PLUS Bronze power supply (still a 300 W model) for $150. This doesn't change any of the conclusions made in the rest of the piece, and in fact means you pay more upfront for potential savings down the road via improved efficiency.
Clearly, the Sonamu's focus isn't high-end construction. Instead, Moneual puts its emphasis squarely on saving energy. As part of this eco-friendly theme, there is a dedicated button located near the top of the case that puts the system into hibernate/deep sleep mode. The manual completely lacks instructions on enabling this function, but there is a four-pin plug that goes into a motherboard's front-panel USB connector that enables this feature.
The power supply is where all the action happens. Upon opening it, we find a surprisingly simple design. The energy-saving feature driving the Sonamu's marketing is simply a big resistor with an electrical switch attached. The front on/off switch (grey cable) functions as a kill switch to cut all power to the PC, including power that would otherwise be leeched when the computer is turned off.
The auxiliary power outlet is similar to Belkin's Conserve Smart AV in that it's power depends on power drawn from the master outlet. Instead, it passes power through when the circuit tied to the pictured four-pin Molex connector is active. If this cable is not connected to the power supply, the auxiliary power circuit does not receive current when the system is on, and no power is supplied to peripherals. If you want to control more than one device controlled this way, you'll need a power strip, unfortunately.