Most case modders have a side window on their PCís. Itís a simple reason why they do this; windows look awesome, are cheap, and arenít too hard to install. But a window can get boring with nothing cool inside the case, except for all of the computerís components.
Whatís better then a cold cathode light to ďspice upĒ your case? In my opinion, a cold cathode is probably one of the best mods you could possibly make on your PC.
Once you have a window installed, itís time to choose which cold cathode light to buy. Thereís so many options, that even your local CompUSA is now stocking them. When I first installed a side window into my PC, I bought myself a PCBoys red cold cathode from CompUSA. It worked great.
However, I was interested in other cold cathode solutions from other companies. So I sent an e-mail over to Xoxide, a popular computer modding website/store. They sent me two sound activated cold cathode lights for review, blue and UV.
What did I think of them? Read onÖ
Opening the Box and Installation
Xoxide shipped both lights in a fairly large box. The lights were buried in thick brown paper, so the lights were secured. The lights were also secured in a smaller box inside all of that brown paper, and inside that box, the light was secured in bubble wrap. The packaging was excellently done, and it didnít seem like the lights could break during shipment.
Once I opened the box and attempted to install the cold cathodes, I had some problems. The blue cold cathode installed perfectly. Iíll get into performance of the light later. But, the UV light failed to work, no matter what I did. After a quick e-mail to my contact at Xoxide, a replacement UV light was on itís way. Iím sure that if this situation ever happens to you, they would replace the light in a similar manner. When I received the replacement UV cold cathode, it worked perfectly.
Xoxide also includes Velcro stickers to attach the cold cathodes to the case and keep it secure. They can also peel off, if you use force, if you decide to remove the cathodes from the computer.
Finally, Xoxide also includes a small instruction ďmanual.Ē Itís short, but it tells you everything you need to know. Plus, itís in color!
The two lights that Xoxide sent me were both 12Ē long, and both were sound activated.
What do I mean by sound activated? Well, if you have it activated, whenever the light detects a loud sound, it flashes. So when you are playing music with a lot of bass, it flashes during the parts when the bass is pumping. Although this feature was awesome in theory, the flashes got extremely annoying. I think a better solution for the sound activation cold cathodes would be to have the light turn on when someone entered a room, and turn off when someone left. This way, energy, although it may be little energy, can be saved.
The inverter on the cold cathodes let you change the settings for the light from flash, sound activation, on or off. Flash is an extremely annoying setting which makes the light flash every second or so. Sound activation I described above, on is when the light is on constantly, and off is self-explanatory. Thereís also a knob on the inverter to control the sensitivity of the sound activated sensor.
These cold cathodes both support dual cathodes using one inverter. This is extremely helpful for people who want to have multiple cathodes in their system, but want to avoid excessive wires. This feature lets you simply plug in the second cold cathode into the same inverter. Itís really that simple. I used this feature, because I was using two cathodes at the same time in my system.
These cold cathodes also have power splitters, so it will let you add another Molex connector so you wonít waste one for these lights. This was very important for me, because I have literally no more Molex connectors left in my PC.
Thereís not too much to say here. The lights are12Ē long, and they are transparent. The inverters are black and grayish, and although they may not be beautiful, they are decent. There are a lot of wires that are necessary to connect the light to the PC, but this is the same situation for any cold cathode.
The blue cold cathode was extremely bright, and lit up my entire Chieftec case easily. The light was extremely powerful, and made the case look wonderful. Pictureís speak for themselves.
Iíve never dealt with a UV cold cathode before, and I have no UV-activated parts in my system. Therefore, the UV light was extremely hard to review. Pictures are below, but I recommend using the UV light only if you have other components and accessories in your system that light up when a UV light is present. According to other sources, the light performs excellently when other UV parts are present in the system, but once again, I was unable to test this.
While the Xoxide cold cathode is an excellent choice when buying a cold cathode, thereís almost no difference between this and other cold cathodes. The design for the lights have really become standard, and this applies for this light too. Itís almost exactly the same as my PCBoyís cold cathode that I had previously. The thing that sets this light different from others is the sound activation. Although I didnít like the feature too much, others may. The light itself is great, but itís a better bet, in my opinion, to go with the non sound-activation cold cathode from Xoxide.
Once again, the light is an excellent buy. If you are looking for a sound-activated light too, this is the one to go with.
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