Touch-Screen HTPC: Three Premium Cases Compared

Moneual MonCaso 972

The MonCaso 972 hasn’t changed since we first reviewed it. However, this time we received a black version instead of the silver model. While the other HTPC cases placed the display on the left side of the front panel, Moneual selected a centered position. Just like the other products, it has the same ten control buttons, power switch, IR sensor, and a solid volume control wheel. All other front elements are hidden behind the I/O panel, which we photographed while open.

Inside and Noise

The case comes with two pre-installed 80mm fans mounted on inner-rear side, right above the I/O panel. This is the ideal position for extracting heat from system components and exhausting it out the back. Two drive cages, one on the left- and the other on the right-front section, accept a pair of 3.5” drives each. If you want to make sure that installed drives are cooled properly, you can add an additional 80mm fan under each cage. Two openings on top of the chassis help ensure heat can ventilate upward should you have the proper components for a fanless configuration. We measured a 39 dB(A) noise level at a standardized position on the front of the case. However, the results cannot be directly compared to prior reviews.  


The stealth panel hides microphone and headphone jacks (3.5 mm), one 1394a FireWire port, one USB 2.0 port, and a multi-card reader capable of all common formats, including high-capacity CF and SDHC. The case is made entirely of aluminum, but since it’s larger than Zalman’s, it is also a bit heavier.

One 5.25” drive bay is accessible from the front for an optical drive. The Moneual case has the largest dimensions of our three; Zalman is just slightly wider. Because of the larger dimensions, though, we found this case to be the easiest for component installation.