Moneual Labs took great care when packing the 972 and as a result, it arrived in pristine condition. Two large pieces of form-fitting foam protected the case from excessive force, while a plastic sheet over the case shielded it from scratches during packing and shipping.
An accessory box accompanied the chassis and consisted of the following components, from left to right: remote control, stylus, bag of screws, optical drive bezel, two AAA batteries, magnetic screwdriver, product guide (installation manual) and a software disc. The product guide mostly covers hardware installation and only briefly touches on the software side. Props to Moneual Labs for including a high quality screwdriver - this is the nicest I have seen included with a case to date and I will surely be using it in the future.
The included media remote is a nice touch and has buttons to control just about every aspect of a home theater computer. You can effectively control your system without the need for a mouse or keyboard, although a wireless keyboard is available for purchase as an optional accessory. The pointer dial allows you to move the mouse cursor around the screen, and there are buttons to click, double click, right click, etc. The remote is geared towards Windows Media Center users but should still be effective in most any operating system.
Here we have the MonCaso 972 chassis. We received the silver model but a black version is also available, if that would better fit your home theater system color scheme. The 7" touchscreen immediately makes its presence known, taking up the entire center area of the front bezel. Just below the LCD screen is a spot for your optical drive. To the right, we have a bank of control buttons and a volume knob. On the left, we find a power button, HDD LED and IR sensor (more on all of these in a bit).
As you can see, the lower part of the front bezel folds down, revealing a bank of I/O ports (Mic, headphones, 1394, USB 2.0) and a 7-in-1 card reader (CF(I/II), Micro Drive, SmartMedia, MultiMedia, SecureDigital and Memory Stick).
More just ahead...