With the explosion in case-modding over the last number of years, lights have become a staple for the obsessive PC user. Clear acrylic cases beg to be lit up and turned into a veritable festival of lights. I, myself, use a single blue Cold Cathode to light up my case and show off the aging internals.
I have the pleasure of reviewing 5 assorted light kits from Sunbeam to light up my case in a more original fashion. They range from the rapid colour shifts of the Bubble light to the almost Cop-like flashing from the Meteor light.
The five lights that I received include:
All of the lights come packaged consistently and competently in a plastic casing that provides ample protection from shock and damage.
Each package includes the light and everything that is required to install such as a set of velcro strips. Unfortunately Sunbeam only includes the bare minimum needed to attach the light. An extra set is always important to include, especially for such small items like velcro strips.
The Blue Spiral light provides a wavy effect that will work well in watercooled cases to help amplify the rippling effect that water would normally provide. This effect is amplified in a case that uses a reflective metal internally (most cases) because the rippling blue can be seen on the metal itself. I would like to see a higher level of brightness because some users may have to purchase multiple to fully light their case. Although at $12.95 the multiple idea is not such a bad one.
This light provides the Spiral effect for those with a flashier personality. It also suffers from the low brightness of the Blue Spiral. I have also found that each colour is not pronounced enough. They have a tendency to blend together and become a mesh rather than having three different distinct colour effects. It can also be purchased for $12.95.
This light is simply impressive. It is extremely bright and the 8 settings can provide some wonderfully psychedelic effects. The highest speed settings turn it into a strobe light for when the urge to boogy just can't be kept down. The inverter also provides a second plug in case you want to add a second light. If anything can be said against this light it is that the power inverter should either be black or a tone of blue that matches the light itself. The price is also an excellent $14.95.
This light provides quite the conversation piece for those who like a exciting system and you can hardly argue over the $7.99 pricetag. The bubbles provide highlights inside the light itself and help to keep the tube illuminated evenly throughout. Regardless of the small size of the LED's, this light is very bright and the colours are very distinct. It's small size prevents it from filling the entire case with light so it would be best used for lighting a specific area or item.
This light provides a very interesting effect in that the shaft of light tends to shift and wobble during use. This effect is gained by inserting small glass shards inside the tube. Physically moving the light will readjust the shards of glass and cause the effect to shift around. Now this looks impressive when starring directly at the light, but if you are trying to illuminate a regular case the light is normally hidden. If this is the case then the light will be constant and the flowing lava effect will be lost. Given the right situation I wouldn't pass one up at $12.95.
Every light that I tested came with ample wire length for even large cases such as my Lian Li PC71. They also were kind enough to ziptie the wires together to prevent clutter. I was also pleased to note that they run cool and can handle high temperatures such as being placed directly beside the processor.
The switch to turn the light on and off is too small and forces the user to look behind the case to turn it off. The speed setting button on the Meteor and Bubble light on the other hand was an excellent size.