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Old 11-28-2010, 12:48 AM   #1
Tech-Daddy
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Thumbs up NZXT LED light ropes

Looking for a sweet present for the modder in your life? Check these out! Released just in time for the holiday season, these LED lighting kits are great stocking stuffers!

Sold in 2 sizes 1 meter ($9.99) or 2 meter ($14.99), and sold in various colors (red, green, white, blue, orange)... you are sure to find a kit for the hardware mangler in your life...

NZXT officially calls these a "Sleeved LED Kit"... I'll call them light ropes.




Effectively what they have done is they have taken the guess work out of creating a flexible (literally) lighting solution that will create an emersive glow inside your computer case. The kit consists of a single black mesh sleeve, with a little hole heat cut through the sleeving for a 3mm LED to be pushed through. the stranded cabling used as wire offers a good amount of flexibility to the entire kit. the LED light line is powered off of a small PCB that is mounted on a back slot plate. It will effectively take up one back card slot off of your computer case. Impact may be minimzed depending upon your motherboard config and slot arrangement created by the case.



The card has two line inputs that are male/female matched jack locations. Friction clips on the connection will keep the joint sturdy and constant. One is for the pass through, 4 pin power molex input, while the other acts as the connection for the LED kit.

My main gripe with the kit is that they did not give enough space from the PCB connector to the first LED, which will inevitably leave an LED just suspended between the board and the computer case (or where ever else you are running the light). Ease of use is awesome, with a power button access at the rear of the case, and you can select brightness via a 3 position slider switch on the back plate (low-medium-high).

The cable length is adequate depending upon application and case size.

If you are looking to ring the outside of a mid tower case, 1 meter will not cut it. See here for a 1m kit installed into a Mid tower HAF 912:


You can see that the light starts from the back plate ares (see the floating blue light I talked about earlier?) fills the bottom with blue light.... comes up the front rail... and stops. Cannot go further.

Same test with a 2m light kit on the same case:



Here you can see the 2m makes a complete circle around the outter edge of the case, and fills it with light... top to bottom.

The kit comes with clips with adhesive backing (double sided foam tape) that is good for light duty tack, but not for long term sticking. If you want the line to stay permanently, you will want to remove this and replace it with a longer lasting adhesive ( 3M makes a clear tape called "VHB" which stands for "Very High Bond" that can readily be picked up at hardware stores - http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3M-Industrial/Adhesives/Product/Bonding-Tapes/VHB-Tape/ )

All in all, the colors were very nice, the LED's matched (same color temperature through out), the ability to set the brightness was a nice feature, and the pricing cant be beat. The solution allows the novice modder to get good color saturation into a case be it a small/ mini case using a 1 meter run, or a mid tower with a 2 meter length without using a concentrated location light like a cold cathode. Plus, the consume very little power, and have an extraordinarily long lifespan.



My minor gripes fall into the "floating LED" due to the length between the PCB connection and the first LED being too short (for some this will not pose a problem at all), and the power connector line being so short. For a cable freak like myself, pulling a power lead across a pristine case that is windowed is simply not an option. Thankfully, many cases are thinking more about cable management access holes in the motherboard tray, so that may be an option. If your motherboard tray does not have the holes, you are either stringing a line across, modding your tray with a hole, or modding the power molex connector so that it will reach the hole you want.... either way, it is a short cable!

If you want multiple colors, that is possible. However, you run the different light kit off of a different PCB due to the resistor configs needed for the different LED colors as well as different line lengths. You cannot run multiple lines off of one PCB, you will have multiple controller cards installed if you want multiple colors (meaning multiple slots filled on the back of your case *unless* you become an enterprising modder and figure out a good stable way to make them fit! ) . You cannot mix and match. Each PCB is marked clearly for which kit it is supposed to be teamed with.

As I said before... an awesome stocking stuffer for the modder on your list!

I like this solution!

-=TD
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:46 AM   #2
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Nice TD. I was curious about these but to see them applied to a case was a treat. I have no use for them now and really don't care if my case is flashy but that may change when my Lian Li PC-P50WB shows up.

While it would make no sense it would be neat to see a red and green Christmas edition released. I'm a sucker for the holidays.
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the review, TD

I love the look of the product, but you make a couple of good points about its downsides. I do kind of wonder how difficult it'd be for NZXT to create a similar product, but have a larger PCB and enable detachable LED cables. You could use up to four I'd reckon per device, and it would at least allow people some extra flexibility, and wouldn't require people to use two PCI slot spaces for two different kits.

Of course, that would arise the problem of clunkiness, so I am thinking other solutions might be better. How difficult would it be to make a simple base that clips to the bottom inside of your chassis, and then the cables could run from it (think like a small puck)? That way it wouldn't have to plug into the PCI slot, but would still have access to a Molex connector. I might not be explaining it well, and maybe it's not a good idea to begin with.

Everytime I see a product like this I wish I had a chassis with a clear window on it...
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:58 PM   #4
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If i was still into colour modding... i'd rather get a CC tube, i prefer even colour over LED points. With the LEDs, you could achieve a semi-even look by placing them in a line of 3 side backed foil, so the light reflects inside the foil and released from the open side in a more diffused fashion. But you try and hide foil in a case, becomes a bit of an eyesore, lol.

Good review though, just contending with multiple PCB's would be a bit of a hassle without creating some kind of cage... maybe re-purpose an empty HDD cage or something to hold them... but there's a good chance that HDD cage would be the home to something else... like a water pump or its intended purpose, HDDs, lol.
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:10 PM   #5
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Bah, just chrome the inside of the case lol problem solved.
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:15 PM   #6
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@ Optix - I may oblige you on that one and just show you all what is possible and what it would look like...
@ Rob - The thing to consider is that each rope of LED's has a very specific prescription of voltage and amperage that the resistors are designed to allow. Different color LED packages require different arrangements of resistors to supply the proper power to the LED's. The *only* way that I see them doing something like this would be an over engineered board with some sort of channel monitor sensing the line as it is plugged in and setting the line levels to the proper voltage and amperage. I could see it screwing up the price tag on this in a "New York minute"! Your other ideas are good brainstorms with merit of their own.
@ Tharic-Nar - after having an inverter blow out in my PC and smoke up a LAN party I was at, I have sworn myself off of CC tubes... They are great light sources, but man o man... I do not like those inverters! I like the idea of re-using an empty hard drive cage. Same could be said for those floppy drive bays where nothing much resides anymore....
@ DarkStarr - I completely agree with you! chrome solves a LOT of problems!


-=TD
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:47 PM   #7
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Hahaha I have never had an inverter blow but I had one die on me, it slowly went out one side went then just one day it didn't work at all.
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Last edited by DarkStarr; 11-28-2010 at 09:42 PM.
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