Hardware Review: 4th Gen. Mo-Co-So case.
I was given the opportunity to test out one of the 4th Generation cases from Mo-Co-So. Since I was using one of the earlier generations, which I believe is the 2nd, this is also a bit of a comparison to better show what makes this the 4th Gen.
First off, the size seems pretty much identical. They're both made of aluminum, so they're fairly light. But the case does feel durable. Chris even had a video on the Mo-co-so store of it being run over by a car and it seemed to hold up well.
Anyway, I've got plenty of pictures to show you what I like about the case. Here's a side by side of the back of the two, the topic of this thread being on the right.
Some obvious differences are the RCA jacks, the LEDs, the small red button and the PCI card slot! That's one of the biggest differences. Finally a case that will easily allow the addition of a PCI card. Should come in handy to all the audiophiles on here who want their 5channel sound cards.
You may notice that the hole for the I/O plate sits lower than the previous one. This is because the new generation doesn't have the same mobo plate. Instead the standoffs are on the bottom of the case. It still slides in and out like the old plate.
The USB ports have been moved to the front, and a second header was added. If you go back to the first picture you may notice where I cut the case so I could get to the USB pins inside. With this case, you can use 4 internal USB ports. With the popular D945GCLF2, you would have 8 usb ports at your service. Great for any CarPC.
Here are the mobo plates. Pretty much identical. Like I said earlier though, one is a tray (left) while the other is the bottom of the case (right).
A close up of the backplates to the case shows another upgrade. Many people complained the molex connector on the back would be pushed into the case when you tried to plug it in. Chris fixed this by making the hole slightly smaller. That plug isn't going anywhere now.
Here's a nice little feature. It looks like the case was made to easily avoid ground loops by providing a ground to the RCA's. Of course, I could be wrong. I don't plan on using these.
Here's what I did with the ring terminal since I don't use the RCAs. This was just to prevent shorts caused by the loose ring possibly hitting the wrong thing.
Since the USB headers are attached to the front of the case, it makes assembly have a slightly difficult step. Without noticing, I first tried to slide the tray in as usual, but the end of the cable was down in the case. What you have to do is hold them out near the top while sliding in the tray. This could make it difficult to hook them up if you have a PCI card. Of course, this could be dependent on your mobo.
The case comes with a flexible PCI riser, so the PCI card would be parallel to the top of the case. You just might have to be careful when sliding it all together.
A thought on the button in the back. I hooked mine up to my M2, which is parrelell to where the M2 hooks up to the mobo. This means hitting the button is the same as the M2 loosing the IGN signal. My mobo, the Intel D945GCLF, has pin output for a reset button. I wonder which would be a better place to hook it up.
Now for the things I might have changed.
To start, the LEDs. I mean, how many of us have out PCs in sight. I guess the do work well for bench testing. But once the computer is hidden, they're almost useless. One idea is that maybe it could be an option to have something like a phone jack in their place. And the case would come with the LEDs attached to a female phone jack as well. This way, the customer could buy the proper length of phone cable for their installation, and mount the LEDs somewhere where they'll be seen. Like, as part of their screen mold. Either way, it does help with diagnostics.
I have to say, I wasn't sure how to hook up the RCAs. I also didn't look into it too much since my HU has a 3.5mm input, so I have no need for them.
Also, the PCI slot. It's nice to have, for those that will make use of it. But for me, it just leaves a hole. It would be nice to include an I/O plate for it.
And last, some of the screw holes didn't line up perfectly. I'm sure this is because this design is in it's early stages. I don't even think it's been released yet.
In the end, this is quite a case. If you ask me, I would recommend it. It's compact, which fits well in a car. Unlike it's nearest competitor, VOOMPC, it offers a small selection in PSU manufactures. It does fit some OPUS models. The power button is nice for bench testing, I don't have to short the mobo pins with my knife anymore. And now you can fit a PCI card right inside. From other reviews, the VOOMPC can barely fit the basic stuff. Going from one generation to another shows that Mo-co-so does take customer input seriously. This case has everything people want in one. If anyone else has one, feel free to add something I may have overlooked.