Any true avid computer user would agree with you if you
said that case mods are awesome. In fact, even a computer novice would agree
that it looks cool. But what if donít have the skill or knowledge to do a case
mod on your PC? Donít feel left out, Iím with you.
I wanted to have a side window in my computer, but my lack
of knowledge/experience made me afraid to cut a hole into my precious Alienware
PC. I searched all over the internet for side panels with windows already cut
into it for my case, and I found quite a few, about 5 in all. I chose the
Directron side panel for various reasons.
For one thing, 3 out of the 5 side panels came only in
black and beige, a problem considering my computer is a blue color. The
remaining two were both nice, but the Directron side panel was the only one that
was blue and had an 80mm fan hole. Since my computer is overclocked,
cooling is important, so I went with them.
Just to give you some background, here is my setup:
Alienware Aurora DDR
Conspiracy Blue Case
Athlon XP 2200+
512MB Crucial DDR 2100 RAM
40GB Seagate 7200rpm Hard Drive
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
Sound Blaster Live! 5.1
ATI TV Wonder VE
Compaq Brand 8x4x32 CD-RW
Samsung 16x DVD-ROM
USB 2.0 Card
USB 1.1 Card
I also have 5 fans installed, not including the video card
fan or the heatsink fan. Thereís also one 12Ē red cold cathode light from PCBoys
(bought at CompUSA). Iíll be adding another 4Ē red cold cathode very soon.
None of the above are included with the side panel window.
The side panel arrived within the same week that I ordered
it, and it came in a very secure package. After taking it out of the box, all I
had to do was remove the protective sheet covering that was sticking onto the
window. I was all ready to go.
Installation, of course, wasnít hard. It wasnít any
different then putting back your own side panel. But, I didnít install it just
yet. I wanted to add my tri-color fan that I bought severalty. For people who
didnít buy a fan, donít worry, Directron supplies a free black one with a black
grille. I also had no problems installing the fan. So far so good.
The Directron side panel has a very large window, which is
great for viewing the interior of your computer.
However, there are black ďdotsĒ all around the window that
reduces the overall look of the side panel, but still looks good as a whole.
Itís a clear window, and I donít think you can choose any
color for the window, but trust me, transparent looks great.
Although I would have liked the window to start a little
bit higher up so wires on the bottom of my case wouldnít be seen, it was still
nicely designed. The color that I selected for my side panel was blue,
to correspond with my case color. Luckily, the side panel had the exact same
color as my computer, making it a perfect match to my PC.
The side panel had the same things that my old side panel
had, a locking door and no screws are required for opening. But, I was surprised
that Directron doesnít supply any keys for the lock. I tried using the keys that
were supplied to me when I bought the PC, but I had no luck. The lock was
pointless without the keys.
For some reason, noise was severely drained out when the
side panel was installed, in comparison to my old side panel, even when two more
fans were installed. Although my case is still very loud, noise has been
The side panel I tested fits the
Dragon DX, Matrix MX, Scorpio SX, and Antec 1030, 1080
series cases. And according to Directron, this product will fit Antec, Chenming, Uneec, Enermax,
ThermalTake, Alienware, and other co-branded cases of the mid-tower design. If
you donít have one of these cases, Directron does offer various other side
panels for other cases, but I have not tested any of them, so I am not sure if
they are worthy of your money or not.
panel fitted perfectly on my computer, so you shouldnít be worried on whether it
fitís or not if you have one of the above cases.
The side panel costs just $32 (plus shipping) at
Directron.com, no matter what color you use. The price is great considering Home
Depotís cheapest Dremel is $20, and a case window will also set you back another
Everything went OK when the side panel was being installed, and I encountered no
Although I did not like those
black dots around the window, overall, the side panel was designed very well.
The side panel drastically
reduced noise coming from my case in comparison to my old side panel that came
with my PC.
This side panel fits many
different cases. If you donít have a case listed earlier or listed on their
website, Directron offers many other side panels to use with other cases.
However, I have not tested any of them, so I am not sure on how they rate.
I paid just $32 (plus shipping),
for my side panel, which is great considering it would have costed me $35+ to do
it myself ($20 Dremel + $15-$20 side window kit).
Although itís nice to have a lock
and key to secure your case, itís nicer to be able to actually lock it.
Directron did not provide me with a key for the side panel, but I am not sure if
this is just a mistake in my order.
If anyone is looking for a case
window for their Dragon DX,
Matrix MX, Scorpio SX, and Antec 1030, and 1080 cases, look no further. The
Directron side panel provided me with a easy mod to my case that didnít break
the bank. Not only is it stylish, but it reduces noise inside the case, and
increases airflow (with the included fan). Although I was surprised no key was
included, if someone really wanted to get into your PC, they can always break
the window. Overall, if anyone is looking for an easy mod to do to their case,
the Directon side panel is perfect.