GGG #3 - IntroductionIntroduction
More and more products are hitting the TweakTown office so we decided to start numbering the guides instead of giving them monthly dates. While we receive the normal flow of hardware to review, a large box arrived on our door step from Sunbeam Tech full of their latest modding products which gives the case modding genre another big appearance in the guide.USB Flash drives are being released by more and more companies constantly and thanks to Crucial and Kingmax we have some of the more recent drives to hit the market in our hot little hands. Finally, PC Case Gear provided us with some new products including some more Sunbeam products that have hit the store shelves recently.There is not much point dragging this on any further and I am sure that we all want to know where our hard earned dollars can go this month. Let's begin!
GGG #3 - Sunbeam TechIntroductionSunbeam Tech
has been around for a while now and we have had the chance to look at many of their products in the past. We were very impressed with what they had produced and always look forward to seeing what new and fantastic items they release to the market to please the ever-increasing case modders market. Sunbeam Tech has sent us truck load (not literally - but close) of their latest gear ranging from El Wire rounded cables to pre modded windows for your case. Let's get straight into it and see what they have for us in the latest installment of the GGG guide.- Anodized Thumb Screws
While thumb screws are not the most exciting product on the market they are definitely something that makes access to your case a lot easier and quicker. Moving away from the normal silver screws, Sunbeam has released some more exciting Anodized thumb screws in a host of colors including green, red, blue, gold, black and silver. One thing that some people will have to take note of is that these thumb screws will NOT
fit any Lian Li cases as they use a different type of thread.
While there is not a lot to say about thumb screws, it is nice that Sunbeam has released a range of colors that will suit most people's color scheme as long as they are not using a Lian Li case. Each pack comes with 10 screws however people may find that they are better off getting two packs as they are something that has a tendency of disappearing quite easily especially when you are the type of person, like us, who love to fidget at their case on a regular basis.
Overall they are very nice looking and are going to be perfect for a lot of people who want to easily access certain items within their computer but also want to add a bit of color at the same time. The only real let down is that they do not have the ability to be screwed in with a screw driver so you can tighten them up - although saying this it would kind of defeat the purpose of thumb screws if you had to undo them with a screw driver but having the option wouldn't have hurt, either.- Shiny Fan Grill
If you have placed a fan into your window or something similar, you are definitely going to be using some form of fan grill, for obvious reasons. While most people may use the standard boring design of aging fan grills, the true enthusiast may like to go out and spend an extra few dollars and purchase something that looks a little better - or in this case, a lot better.
Sunbeam has recently released a range of shiny fan grills for 80mm fans that are laser cut which result in a cut of precision and perfection. These grills come in a range of patterns including the Biohazard and Lion icons (like we have here today) as well as a Scorpion, Dragon and "Finger" designs. While most of the fan grills won't prevent you from accidentally sticking your finger inside, they do look good which is what a lot of people are going to be after when it comes to purchasing fan grills - Maybe not the most practical fan grill but they do produce a brilliant look for only a few dollars.
GGG #3 - Sunbeam Tech ContinuedSunbeam Tech Cont- LED Fan Grill
Maybe the laser cut fan grills aren't special enough for your case and you want to take it to the next step. This is where the LED fan grills come in and let you take modding to the next level - and a very cool lookin' level at that. With a host of patterns available from Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and Counter Strike, you really do have a large range to choose from. Once you find the perfect pattern to go with your case, you can then start looking at what color you're after which include red, green, blue and multi color grill and hence it will not be hard to find one to match your case color scheme.
We have taken a short video of the LED fan grill in action as finding words to accurately describe this product is fairly difficult. You can download the 4.9mb file here
- It runs for about 20 seconds and you will need Quick Time
to view it.The LED fan grills are not as strong as the Laser Cut grills, being plastic, but some people will prefer what the LED grills offer that the laser cut grills cannot. The LED fan grills are another excellent product which is going to be an item which is looked upon as being nicer for some people, while others may simply prefer to stick with the laser cut grills as they also look fantastic and you thankfully don't have to hide another wire within your case, adding to the many already in hiding.- El Wire and El Tape Rounded Cable
Rounded cables are something we all use when it comes to case modding and thanks to the ease of installation and advantages (mainly increased air flow) many people who are not into case modding choose to use them as an alternative to regular, boring IDE and FDD cables. When rounded cables hit the market the choice simply seemed to be blue, blue or blue. Not long after we saw some other colors hit the market and then see through and the latest craze in Rounded Cables - El Wire and El Tape.
Sunbeam sent us their latest offering of rounded cables in the shape of a blue El Wire cable as well as a Blue El Tape cable. This gives us a chance to have a look at the differences in them and what will be better or worse for you.Firstly looking at the El Wire cable there really is not much difference when comparing it to the unit we looked at from other companies a couple months back. While it does not emit a huge amount of light, it does give off a nice glow that would go perfect with a blue cold cathode setup. While we do not have any form of retail price on the product yet, you would be looking at something similar to the pricing of the El Wire cables we looked at in the past.
The El Tape rounded cable is new to the lab and we have not had the chance to have a look at them before now. They look very similar to El Wire cables except they use El Tape, of course. When plugging into the power you instantly notice that the tape is not as bright as the El cable. The blue on the El Tape rounded cable is a lot paler and may not be seen as well when placed inside your case. People who don't have lighting in their case may find the EL Tape cable a better option as it doesn't blind you but gives you that little something extra that you may be wanting.
Both cables are excellent and it will depend on what you personally prefer. It will be interesting to see what Sunbeam have for us next time around as their newest products, which finally include professional retail packaging, impressed us a lot. The challenge is on Sunbeam!
GGG #3 - Crucial TechnologyCrucial Technology
made a big mark in Part 1
of our recently published Dual Channel DDR Roundup, recently they have also expanded into the Flash Drive market like a lot of other memory manufacturers who recognize the rapidly growing popularity of these tiny devices. Crucial are very well known for making high quality memory modules and we will see if this quality carries over to the new Flash Drive which they provided us with.- USB 2.0 Flash Drive
At first glance the drive looks absolutely stunning from the classy white finish, size in megabytes printed on the front and the actual dimension of the drive which makes it stand out from the others that we have looked at which is much more thinner and compact than others we have received from various companies. Unlike the Mushkin flash drive which we looked at last month, this drive simply carries data to and from computers instead of additionally having functionality as a portable MP3 player. The drive comes in the same brown box as Crucial RAM and while it is not the most exciting package of all time, it does keep the device safe when traveling long distances.
Using the drive is very easy and simply involves plugging it into one of your available USB 1.1 or 2.0 ports. If you are using an operating system after Windows 98/SE, the flash drive simply detects under Windows and proceeds to install itself as a removable drive under My Computer. In the case that you are using Windows 98/SE you will need to install drivers to get it working as this OS does not include native support like Windows XP and onward. The drive was used with Windows XP and detected straight away as a Crucial flash drive and proceeded to install itself without any problems in just a matter of seconds. Copying to and from the drive is done with great ease thanks to the joy of USB. Though this particular drive is only 128MB, larger flash drives are available which will be quite handy if you do need to copy large files or even boot directly off since these devices are totally bootable - the possibilities are endless.While the Crucial flash drives is one of the more expensive types we have seen, it is definitely one of the best units to look at and use. The only real down fall with it is that the cord that can be attached to you when carrying it around is quite small and could've been longer so people can hang it around their neck. The cap could be lost quite easily as well since it is a separate part of the device and not attached. If you are after a flash drive that not only looks good and supports the newer, speedier USB 2.0 interface, Crucial flash drives might be just what the doctor order, just with a higher price tag than others on the market.
GGG #3 - Kingmax TechnologyKingmax Technology
Ken from Kingmax Australia
sent us the latest in flash drive technology from Kingmax Technology. Kingmax has not only recently released a USB 1.1 flash drive but a USB 2.0, importantly, at affordable prices. Kingmax are mainly known for their line of popular BGA memory but this month we will see if they have what it takes to compete in the heated flash drive market.- USB 1.1 / 2.0 Flash Drives
When first looking at the flash drives you notice how it does not look too special, it does not have the sleekness of the Crucial flash drive which we looked at on the previous page in case you skipped through to this page. While looks may be important for some people, when purchasing a flash drive others will prefer to get something that simple carries data from one place to another. This is where Kingmax flash drives are perfect and for the price of the 128MB Crucial unit you will be able to buy a 256MB Kingmax drive.
Kingmax concentrate on producing a product that does the job it was intended for and at a competitive price. While their flash drives may not look as good as the Crucial, as soon as you plug it into your computer it detects exactly the same way as the more expensive units and works exactly the same. It was interesting to see that both flash drives detected as Prolific brand drives which might suggest Kingmax outsourced the production of these particular drives to this company in this instance or they only use this chip controller and did not bother changing the name of the drive to "Kingmax".Because all flash drives are quite similar you are simply paying more for the build quality of the unit and warranty. While the Kingmax flash drives are made of plastic it doesn't feel like its just going to fall apart in your hands. What the Kingmax units have over the Crucial competition (apart from a more affordable price tag) is the large cord so you can use to hang the drive around your neck. Another handy feature of the drive is the cap and how it comes out turns around and attaches to the back of the drive in twisty motion saving you the frustration of loosing the cap. The Kingmax USB 1.1 flash drive version is offered in a pale green while the USB 2.0 version is offered in a much nicer dark blue color. Both packages are the same with the inclusion of the driver disk, installation guide, the flash drive as well as the cord to hang around your neck. Both drives are designed to the more business orientated person who doesn't want something that is going to cost a fortune individually or when brought in bulk for company employees.
GGG #3 - PC Case GearPC Case Gear
James and the team at PC Case Gear
is wildly known in Australia for their large range of case modding material and thankfully for us they are only a 5 minute drive away allowing us to experiment with all the latest modding gear before many others. This month they provided us with some of their newer products ranging from Case Wraps to the latest in external modding to the new Sunbeam window kits that have just hit our shores - and even more.- Sunbeam PSU Mod
The PSU mod is something new to the case modding market and while it has been seen in the past it hasn't been pushed. Sunbeam has recently released their version of the PSU mod and comes in a series of colors and options. The following colors are available: blue, red, yellow, orange and clear with a UV Reactive blue coming soon. Once you have decided on the color, you can then decide if you're after one with or without a fan hole.
The kits are an absolute breeze to install with the hardest part taking off the old cover. Once you have removed the cover, place the double sided tape on your PSU and proceed to place the new cover on top of it. Once placed on properly, apply a little pressure to where the tape is to prevent it from coming off and then place the PSU back in your computer as you normally would.Once it is installed it really does look quite cool and adds a little something to your case - as well as the ability to make an aging, dusty, PSU attractive once more. The only problem when installing the PSU mod is that you will void any warranty on your PSU.- Sunbeam Etched Window Kit
The case window is the most vital mod when it comes to case modding; it is the first thing people think of when modding. Etched window kits are designed to be used in conjunction with a Lazer LED and as the name suggests, it comes pre-etched with a range of different designs.
Installation is no different to any other window kit, you do have to manually cut your case and install it, unfortunately we didn't have the chance to install it due to time restrictions but the window kit is what we are looking at. It comes with gold tubing to go outside of the window instead of boring black tubing and everything you will need to get it installed in your case.One thing worth taking note of is that the window really does have to be cut quite precisely. In the situation where you cut the hole for where the window fits too large, you could end up with a fair bit of grief trying to figure out how to mount it properly.
The kit is going to be good for some people but if you are fortunate enough to have a case from such companies as Antec, ThermalTake, Lian Li and so forth you may be better off simply purchasing one of their pre-modded window sides and installing an applique due to its ease of installation which may cause some people to give this kit from Sunbeam a miss.
GGG #3 - PC Case Gear ContinuedPC Case Gear Cont- Case Wrap
Case Wrap is the latest product to hit the modding market and for a very good reason. This product is fantastic; it is designed for people who would normally be interested in getting an air brushed design on their case but unfortunately this is out of reach for many people. Case Wraps are made by a company in Canada who originally started with a simple idea which has now grown to every modder's dream. Instead of air brushing a design on your case, why not use a sticker?The particular case wrap we looked at today is the Eternal Flame. Some people may not like this particular pattern but fortunately there are many different designs to choose from.Installation is not the hardest thing but we would definitely recommend downloading the installation movie as it makes it a lot easier when figuring out how to place such a big sticker on your case correctly. We didn't run into any hiccups when installing the case warp. The version we received is the full Case Wrap, side panel wraps can be purchased if you're interested in only doing one side of your case.The full Case Wraps are quite expensive and can be purchased from a number of places; prices are around the $70 US (or $120 AU from PC Case Gear). Some people will find this too expensive or a flat out rip off. If you go and find yourself quotes on an air brush job, you will quickly see the value in these.
When looking through the Case Wraps website you notice that there are wraps for Playstation 2 or Xbox and while we haven't seen these in Australia yet hopefully they will hit our shores soon. The choices of pictures are excellent and you also have the option to submit your own design. It is nice to see another fresh idea for case modders and we think that people will start saving their lose change so they can get one for their own case.- Antec True Control 550 Watt PSU
Power Supply Units (PSU) have come a long way in the past 2 -3 years. In the past we've never had to worry about purchasing a 300 watt + PSU as a trusty 250 watt $20 power supply did the job just fine. It wasn't till the introduction of the Athlon where beefier PSU's became important. With some AMD recommending a minimum of 300 watts for Athlon systems, enthusiasts started purchasing such branded PSU's as Enermax. Time has passed and we now see 400 watt + PSU's in a lot of enthusiast systems and those people who didn't mind spending the extra dollars are purchasing power supplies like the one we have here today which quite possibly could end up costing more than your CPU or HDD!
If you're serious about powering your system than the Antec True Control 550 watt PSU is what you're after. This unit doesn't just supply power to your computer normally, with the amount of features it contains it does it in style. Apart from your normal two fan design, we have gold plated connectors, low noise technology seen in a lot of Antec PSU's, dedicated output circuitry for each voltage as well as the most important feature - the 5.25" control panel.
The True Control panel lets you set your voltages for the most stable operation. While some people may be thinking that its just a waste of money, while the overclocker is sitting their thinking how when they hit 290 FSB their 12volt rail is moving too far away and causing system instability - with this panel they can adjust it to be perfect. You can also adjust the speed of the fan from the front so when you think you need a bit more airflow you can simply do so with a turn of a knob.
This is an excellent unit but take note that its is only recommended for the more experienced user as adjusting the voltages can be quite a dangerous task if you do not know what you are doing. If you're serious about your power, the chances are you're already placing an order for one of these power supplies.
GGG #3 - ConclusionConclusion
Again we have had the chance to look at some of the latest and greatest products to hit the market for the enthusiast. We do see a big emphasis on case modding again yet flash drives seem to becoming quite a big market for a lot of memory companies. Sunbeam were kind enough to send us some of the latest in case modding, we saw a lot of quality products from them again. In the coming guides we will be sure to see some of the more recent products from Sunbeam which is good for a lot of people, it's nice having another company solely concentrating on the ever expanding case modding market and creating quality products which seem to keep on improving each time we see new products from the Asian company.Crucial has crept into the flash drive market in style and made a very nice flash drive and while it is a little pricy, it looks fantastic and is easy to use.Kingmax is another company dedicated to system memory who has turned around and released two flash drives at very affordable prices. While they aren't the best dressed flash drives, they do what they are supposed to for a very good price. PC Case Gear has again provided a load of the latest products to hit Australia and the first Editor's Choice to be awarded within our gadget guide for Antec's True Control 550 watt PSU.It's nice to see a host of new products and its worth looking out for GGG Guide #4 in the coming month.