Assembling the Moneual Sonamu G100

The essential problem in assembling the Sonamu G100 is that it really should be easier than it is. The removable drive tray is easy enough work with, but you'll run into several annoyances in the process.

By taking out the drive tray and moving the power cables you wind up with a healthy amount of room to work inside the G100. Popping the motherboard in is easy enough, but connecting the front panel headers is still troublesome due to the card reader using only a five-pin connection instead of a ten. Maybe I'm spoiled, but I've gotten used to USB headers being keyed and easy to plug in, so having to consult the manual was a small nuisance.

This is, of course, nothing compared to the drive tray. Nothing here is toolless, everything has to be secured using screws, and there isn't an ounce of care taken to reducing vibration—there are no rubber grommets, and worse, no 2.5" drive mount. That makes the G100 the first case I've tested for AnandTech that didn't offer a way to easily mount an SSD—exactly the kind of hardware that belongs in a micro ATX, "environmentally friendly" case. That also means I had to go digging through my hardware boxes to find a 2.5"-to-3.5" mounting kit.

Expansion card clearance is also a fairly low eight inches, so whatever cheap entertainment I'd hoped to glean from trying to power a GeForce GTX 580 with the bargain basement Logisys power supply was stolen from me. This isn't actually a huge issue since anyone who tries to mount such a powerful graphics card in an enclosure like this deserves what they get.

Where the pain sets in is routing and connecting cables. There isn't any clearance or routing behind the motherboard tray (nor a cutout for mounting heatsinks), and the power supply turns the whole experience sour in a hurry. Including just a single SATA lead off of the power supply is inexcusable in this day and age, especially when there's a floppy drive power connector. For what intended use, I can't say, since there isn't anywhere to actually put a floppy drive in the G100. Having to dig back through my boxes of hardware to find a molex-to-SATA converter was an experience I hadn't expected to have. Not being able to take advantage of hardware fan control with the included 60mm is frustrating, too.

And then there's the fact that because the power supply must have come out of a Cracker Jack box, every wire in it is loose and results in the kind of cable spaghetti people buying even a $40 Antec power supply can thankfully avoid. Every expense was spared here. But it's okay: Moneual includes a couple of zip ties for your trouble, and you'll want to use those to keep the wires from the power supply from going wherever they please.

Honestly, the more I delved into assembling the Sonamu G100, the more my irritation grew. Any enclosure released in the past five years should be better equipped than this, and for all of Moneual's talk of conservationalism and saving power they ice the cake by dumping an awful power supply into their case. Having to suddenly dig through my hardware just to find the necessary adapters for basic tasks that every other case I've reviewed can handle fine on their own was inexcusable, particularly given the target market.

In and Around the Moneual Sonamu G100 Testing Methodology
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  • tomoyo - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Wow this case sounds like one of the worst ripoffs in a while. At least crap cases like Raidmax with low end power supplies are actually priced properly. I feel like any 3 year old antec case is far more worthwhile then this, at least they mostly all come with decent psus, versus a psu you would only give your worst enemy. Definitely not a company I'll be recommending. Reply
  • Operandi - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Looks like your typical lump of plastic and steel to me, I see no out standing features to justify the ridiculous price tag. I for one don't find overprices low-end cases very exciting.

    Lian Li is making some pretty interesting iTX cases, review one of those.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    If everything we reviewed was a winner, how would you know what was bad? :) Reply
  • ppeterka - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Thank you for occasionally reviewing bad products! I think the answer to the "what's bad" question is more important than the question to the "what's good", given I want to shell out money for something I'd like to use every day.

    And I like the style too. Reminded me of Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson reviewing FSO Polonez. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5gETRjT470
    Reply
  • Operandi - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Really?

    Just browse Newegg and look around, 95% of it looks just like this piece of crap and is just as bad, are you going to review all the POS cases out there?

    Review the stand out products, high quality, innovative, or at least interesting in some way. Ignore the mediocrity and shitty, nobody cares.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Sometimes it's difficult to really know how bad something is until we have it in-house. Moneual offered this unit for review, why would we assume it wasn't at least halfway decent?

    As it turned out, it wasn't remotely decent. I honestly feel like we're doing the readership a solid by pointing out what a bad deal this case is.

    A reputable site publishes the good and the bad, that's how you know they're not in someone's pocket. If everything we published was golden, we'd be the hardware version of GameSpot.
    Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Negative reviews are indeed essential and valuable to the readership but I don't see the point in reviewing out right junk. Perhaps there is something there that caught your interest before reviewing it but I can't imagine what it was, I saw the picture on the front page and thought "that looks like a piece of crap", the review pretty much confirmed it.

    I guess my main point is there isn't any purpose in reviewing mediocrity. Every product has design goals, and on a case like this the goal was obviously set pretty low. Even if it had not utterly failed, it would still not be an interesting product or review.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Plugging all your non-essential peripherals into a surge protector and turning it off does a far better job of being green, total cost: about $10 for the surge protector. Doesn't everyone do that these days? You would think all the TV commercials urging people to unplug their chargers and whatnot would be taking us in that direction, I guess Moneual's just trying to make a quick buck off the green trend tho. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    I was actually thinking that this was a perfectly serviceable, if ugly, PC case for those on a very tight budget, thinking that $140 was a typo and you meant $40. I was getting ready to thank you for taking the time to review a "cheap" case - then I finished reading the second page.

    W-T-F. You're being far too generous throwing this case in the $50-70 range; it's only worth more than $45 if you're blind and like the way it looks. $140 is so ridiculous it's almost funny.
    Reply
  • L. - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Well .. You're still being generous.
    This is a 100% "made and designed in china" piece of crap, the likes of which cost 40 bucks WITH a 450watt (lolwatts, not real watts) PSU and an integrated LCD + fan control.

    Considering this one has an even worse PSU than the one I'm thinking about, and also lacks the LCD / fan control.. I believe you can at best consider it's worth 30 bucks.. and still -- for 30 bucks you can get a very decent chinese box that has a lateral 220mm fan and no PSU - as you'll have to change it anyway who'd want to pay for that.

    By the way, if you're interested in reviewing cheap, you might wanna take a look at real contenders, because there's quite a few unkown brands that produce stuff much better than Tt / CM / Si / Antec -- Just a bit hard to find sometimes.
    Reply

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