Moneual Sonamu G100: Back to the Futureby Dustin Sklavos on June 7, 2011 12:01 AM EST
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.