Tagan has been well known for years for quality power supplies, now they are expanding to enthusiast cases under the brand name of Tagan Aplus. They sent us their CS-Monolize case to look at. Tagan didn’t start small with their cases; they went the route that would please all enthusiasts, and they went big and roomy. Before we get too far let’s give the specifications and features a quick look.
- Super Tower Case with brand-new cooling system
- World record: two blue illuminated 250 mm fans in the left side door
- Separate adjustable (speed) 250 mm fans, also with separate switch off/on function
- Blue illuminated Aplus logo in front with on/off switch
- Up to 13 disk drives can be mounted inside the case
- ATX and extended ATX main boards fit inside
- Easy drive mounting with 26 screwless rails
- Easy installation of the PCI cards with clip system
- 4 Thumb screws on the back for easy opening of the case
- Manual in English, German and French language
- In accordance with RoHS
- Name: CS-Monolith
- Case Dimensions: 9" x 21" x 22"
- Weight: 31 lb
- Case material Chassis: 1 mm SECC
- Front material: Silk/rubber skin plastic and acrylic
- Case colour: Black
- Drive bays
- 5.25": 5 bays
- 3.5" : 2 bays x external, 6 x internal
- 1 x 80/92/120 mm in back and 120 mm in front (Fans optional)
- 2 x 250 mm side fan, separate adjustable (and on/off)
Side Fan Specifications
- Dimensions: 220x220x30MM
- Bearing type: SLEEVE BEARING
- Rated Voltage: 12.0 VDC
- Start-up Voltage: 7 VDC
- Rated Current: 0.30 A ±10%
- Rated Power: 3.60W ±10%
- Rated Speed: max 800 RPM ±10%
- Air Flow: 150.49CFM Max.
- Statis Air Pressure: 0.97mmAq
- Noise level: 32.1dBA
- Life Expectancy: 30000Hours at 25*C/65%RH
When you first look at the CS-Monolize there are two things you will most likely notice right away. First, the dual 250mm fans on the side, then the highly reflective front door. As we will see later there is a reason for the shiny front door. Inside the door there are LEDs for the power and hard drive activity lights as well as an A+ logo.
Looking behind the door we can see all the drive bays and power buttons. I would have preferred not to have to open the door to turn on the system, but it’s not a deal breaker for me by any means.
Looking closer at the buttons we can see there are three. From top to bottom we have the power button, reset button, and one marked with an A+. This last button is a very nice option. This allows the user to turn on and off the A+ logo on the front door.
Looking at the left side of the case we can see the massive dual blue LED 250mm fans. I’d like to point out that these are the only fans in this case. They also can push a max of 150 CFM each, for a total of max flow of 300 CFM. The downside to these fans is the 32.1 dBA rating; on high you will hear every bit of that. With the fans turned down to low they are still moving quite a bit of air and are quiet.
The fans are controlled independently by a set of controls on the front of the side panel. You have on/off switches, speed control knob, and a bright blue LED light that shows that the fans are on.
Looking at the back of the case you can see that the rear can accept 80, 92, and 120 mm fans. The PSU mounting plate can also be turned. There is a vent that is directly above the PSU area, so if you have a PSU with a bottom mount 120mm fan you can mount it such that the fan faces the top vent.
Moving around to the right side we can see side vents where most cases are solid. With both side panel fans on high you can feel the air coming through these vents. Enough so that it will push a sheet of paper away from the vent.
Looking closer to the lower front we can see the front I/O ports. This is some thing that I would have rather seen on the top of the case, or at least higher. With the case on the floor the I/O panel is too low.
Last but not least, the bottom of the case. Here we have something that I haven’t seen on an enthusiast case in a good long time. Server style feet. They are hard plastic and can lock in at 45* and 90*. If you have anything other than carpet on your floor the case may slide around more than you want it to.
First, looking at the inner side of the side panel we can see the side fans are powered with 4 pin connectors. There is enough length to allow you to easily take the panel on/off and not strain the wiring.
After removing the side panel we can get a good look at the space the CS-Monolize has. Since the CS-Monolize supports extended ATX then we should have no issues with current high-end full length video cards not fitting.
Looking closer at the drive cage we can see the accessory box. Inside it are all the drive rails and mounting hardware. Can’t say I care to much for the color of the drive rails, although it’s nothing a little paint won’t fix. The box is also removable to allow full use of all six hard drive bays.
Moving to the back we can see the expansion slots are tool-less. The retaining clip/bar swings away to allow access to the cards. The retaining system applies a good amount of pressure, but if you prefer to go old school and use screws the retaining system can be removed very easily.
Looking inside the front door we can see the wires running to the power and hard drive activity lights. The big white box is the for the A+ logo. With the door being almost an inch thick I could see case mod guys/gals pulling that logo and putting in a screen of some kind.
With the front bezel pulled off we can see the front 120mm fan mount.
The fan mount is tool-less, but Tagan also gives you the option to use screws to hold the fan in place.
With the right side panel removed we can get a look at the back side of the motherboard tray. There is not much in the way of room for hiding wires here, as well as no pass through holes. Trying to hide the PSU wires for that clean look could be interesting with this case. We can also see there are vent holes in the tray that are in line with the hard drive cage. This should allow air to flow around the drives and straight out the side of the case.
Installing Parts and Conclusion
Tagan provides you with all the drive rails and mounting hardware you should need to mount your parts. They even provide a piezo speaker. Still can’t get past the color of the drive rails. . .
Installing the hard drive was easy. The drive rails snap into the mount holes on the drive and slide it into the case.
Same for mounting the optical drive, but here is where the color of the drive rails puts a little crimp in the feng shui of the case: nice sleek black lines, then bam, chunks of yellow. Granted it’s behind the door, but still.
Installing the rest of the system was easy. I found the space above the PSU was very handy for stuffing my unused cables. The video card had plenty of room to breathe.
Depending on how you look for the CS-Monolize will determine what you pay for it. Going through our shopping link and searching for CS-Monolize you will get 1 vendor selling the case for $99.99. Looking under the name Monolith (name listed on the instruction booklet cover) you will get 2 more vendors with pricing ranging from $95.99 to $129.99 plus shipping. At the $100 price point I think Tagan Aplus has a very nice case. The CS-Monolize has tons of room to handle the biggest hardware out there today.
Some may look at the cooling package of the CS-Monolize and think that it is not very elegant, but more along the lines of brute force. Well sometimes a hit with a big hammer is what gets the job done, and Tagan brought a really big hammer. They stuck two fans pushing 150 CFM each in a case that only takes up 2.4 cubic feet of space. So getting fresh air into the case is not an issue. Now venting it, Tagan did their best to help that as well with vents on pretty much all sides. With the fans on high you can hold your hand 2-3 inches from the case vents on the right side and feel the air coming out of the case. Even with the fans on low you can still feel air coming from the vents.
Bottom Line: The Tagan Aplus CS-Monolize is a well built case that will have no problem keeping your system cool.