The Monueal Imon Ultra Bay is an entry into the market to add functionality into your
PC. It turns your PC into a workable appliance that would sit nicely next to
your CD player and your receiver. The great thing is that you can use your
existing PC O/S and run the IMedian software to transform your PC into a media
centre. Windows MCE requires a complete O/S reinstall.
The knobs and buttons are functional and allow a touch interface to your PC
w/o using a remote. It comes with its proprietary software designed to
interface with its bundled remote and offers the consumer an alternative to
using Windows Media Center edition O/S.
The Monueal IMON Ultra Bay slides into one free 5.25" slot,
but takes up the space of two 5.25" drive bays because the control panel
occupies extra space out front. This is to compensate for the large LCD display
and functional knobs and buttons. This is going to be an issue if you are using
a smaller media center type case. Unfortunately for me, my PC only has two 5.25"
drive bay slots so I had to remove my DVD drive to install the Monueal IMON
Ultra Bay. This might be a problem if you intend to watch DVD's through your PC.
Luckily for me, I mount DVD movie images via Daemon Tools so I might be able to
live w/o being able to load a DVD - for now.
Moneual's IMON Ultra Bay is powered by plugging a pass through connecter from
your power supply's ATX cable. It was a bit confusing at first since you have to
match the hole-orientation from your ATX cable to the adapter to ensure that you
have it in right. Then you're left with extra space on the pass through
connector, 4 holes to be precise, to plug in the P4 processor from your PSU. I
found that I was able to get away with not plugging this in.
iMon Ultra Bay
Includes: Remote control, Batteries,
Power cable, USB jumper, instructions.
The other thing that is cool is that you are able to
plug the Monueal IMON Ultra Bay into your case power switch on the motherboard. This means
that you can actually turn on your PC with the remote control -
a feat not yet mastered by Windows MCE. However, unfortunately for me, my IBM PC
had bundled a proprietary plug for the case power switch on the motherboard so I
wasn't able to take advantage of this feature.
The Monueal IMON Ultra Bay interfaces with your motherboard via USB. Once
again, my IBM motherboard had a proprietary USB plug so I wasn't able to connect
it to the motherboard internally. As a workaround, I used a spare PCI slot,
removed the cover, and routed the USB cable through it and plugged it into the
motherboard that way.
My overall impression of the installation is that
it's not really quiet for beginners. You have to know what you're looking for
to plug in the pass through ATX adapter, case power switch, and USB plugs. Another thing that
I had to do was re-route my cables in my case. I'm using a full desktop case
and found the wiring to be tricky in terms of space.
Once again, if you are using a small media centre type case, you might run
into some trouble since the ATX pass through adapter adds quite a bit of length
to the cable so try to arrange it in a neat order to allow your case to close -
let alone making sure that you don't interrupt the CPU fan rotation with all the
clutter in there.
Next up PCSTATS takes a closer look at the iMon Ultra Bay and Monueal
software for controlling and managing your media.