Three Mainstream Home Theater PC Cases Compared

Moneual MonCaso 312

The MonCaso 312 by Moneual, also a Korean company, is a half-height HTPC barebones product. Unlike other small HTPC cases, it works with full-size ATX power supplies, yet it still requires microATX motherboards. While the GMC case looks like a home theater DVD player, the MonCaso 312 truly feels like a premium hi-fi unit. The front cover is made of brushed aluminum available in black or silver. There are only few front panel control elements: an IR sensor, power switch, eject button for a full-size optical drive, and a volume control dial. The dial has an illuminated crown colored orange (with the black case version) or blue (if you select the silver).

You can install any standard-size optical drive in the case’s stealthed 5.25” bay. You can remove the bay panel, but obviously you’ll want to make sure the front of your optical drive matches your case color. The front panel includes several additional elements and interfaces, which are hidden behind a wide bottom bezel. You simply push where it reads “open” to get access to these components. You’ll find a multi-card reader, hard drive activity and power LEDs, two USB ports, one FireWire connector, and mic and headphone ports.

The MonCaso 312 has a height of 10.5 cm, which is enough to accept a regular ATX power supply as well as half-height expansion cards. Since there’s no space left to install a riser solution, you can’t use full-height cards. In exchange, though, you can install up to four expansion cards if your microATX board allows. Internally, there’s room for two 3.5” internal drives.

We found many ventilation openings on every surface of the case. The top cover has two openings, plus there are ventilation slots on both sides and the bottom. The latter is necessary for ATX power supplies that come with 120 mm fans. However, this type of solution won’t contribute to system ventilation.

We found three mounting positions for fans at the middle-rear of the case. Unfortunately, these only accept 40 mm fans. Since the amount of air they're able to push is limited, some 40 mm models work at increased rotation speeds, which may cause a lot of noise. Our recommendation is to install all three fans, but limit their rotational speed. Moneual includes a remote control as well as all necessary cables and screws.