Today we'll be looking at TweakMonsters Trace Lighting Kits. Lets face it, at the heart of every hardcore case modders creation is some form of lighting to show off all your hard work. Of course you'll want a window in order to properly highlight this, but what self respecting case modder doesn't have a window? Thus brings us to the Trace Lighting Kit. There are several choices out there. Neon, Cold Cathode, Ultraviolet and who knows what else is out there vying for your hard earned jack?
I had previously been using the standard neon lighting and I just wasn't pleased with it. Not only did it light my case very poorly, it cracked easy and was VERY bulky. Finally, I just tossed the damn thing. Next thing I knew, Tweak suggested I try out one of his Trace Lighting units. I'm always up for new things I said, so why not?
Upon first inspecting the the strip, I thought to myself, ok, it's cool, but nothing to write home about. But once I wired this sucker up, I was treated to a VERY nice shower of glowing light. Damn Tweak! This baby is totally PIMP! I was steadily kicking myself in the arse for even wasting my money on the neon light I once adorned my case with.
Overview: Ok ok, lets take a look at this baby. As you all know, I love pics, and lots of 'em.
Above you see the unit in it's rawest form. Plugged into the 4-pin Molex connector of the PSU draped across a white piece of cardboard. You'll notice the peel away adhesive backing on the lightstrip which will let you stick it anywhere you like. I used some regular scotch tape to play around with it in several different spots before settling on one in particular. Here's a few more shots of the strip.
Above it sits on my carpet glowing brightly. Quite a nice effect. How bout a few shots of it lining the innards of my HX-08?
I was pretty impressed with the amount of light that the Trace Light kit put out. I'd honestly say every bit as bright as neon, possibly brighter. But considering these are 60" in length, you'll have more than enough to light up your entire case. And of course they are MUCH more versatile as well. These Trace Light kits give you the ability to go buck wild and run these anywhere your imagination can take you. Here's a few more pics of the TL Kit with the case side on peaking through the plexiglass.
I used little to no lighting in all of the above pics to emphasize the amount of light the TL kit is putting out. You want things bright enough to show off your hard work, yet not too bright. The TL kit is right on par. Also, SidewinderComputers advises the heat output of the TL kit is about .5 to 2 degrees C above normal ambient temps, which may sound like a lot, but you would never know this by simply touching the lightstrip itself. It does not feel warm in the slightest. Something that would be of concern to all of us hardcore overclockers trying to keep the Beast cool, so to speak.
Here's a pic of the 12v power inverter that runs in-line of the TL kit.
My version of the TL kit was a prototype and the final version looks a little bit different. The inverter itself gets a little warm during use, so you'll want to keep it away from any sensitive components. What's cool is there is plenty of wiring so you can tactfully place this anywhere you like in the case, or even outside the case if your very resourceful.
Finally, the TL kit is 60" long x 7/16-inches wide. The "retail" version of this comes with 5 extra connectors that will give you some additional flexibility, letting you cut the strip in desired lengths, and reconnecting it anyway, or anywhere you please.
Ok, lets finish this review up with a few high's and low's you'll want to consider if your in the market for a good lighting kit.
60" worth of lighting strip is plenty
Very little heat output by the strip itself
Easily adaptable to many different setups, unlike a Neon kit
Self adhesive backing strips
Very durable and an approximate 3year lifespan
Slightly high pricing
My only ding on the TL kit is the price. Your gonna pay round around $50 for them and if your a PC Builder/Tweaker on the budget, it may be more than your willing to pay. But consider this. A good Neon kit will cost you from $35 to $40 anyways, with much less durability, flexibility and less overall product for your money. If your the type of case modder that has to have the very best in elite lighting, the TweakMonster Trace Lighting Kit is definitely for you.
Be sure to checkout TweakMonsters Installation Instructions if your getting ready to install the kit. And if your looking to purchase a couple of these, head on over to SideWinderComputers, and they'll hook you up. Thanks for joining us here at the OCA today, if you have any flames, props or suggestions, please send them HERE. Want to discuss this on our FORUMS?
DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.
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