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Vantec Spectrum UV LED Case Fans Review
It is with bittersweet irony that computer enthusiasts go about modding their computers in the face of crass commercialization of what was once their own ingenuitive ideas born out of competitive creativity.
Before there were aluminum cases with windows, modders were cutting their side panels into different shapes and dropping in plexiglass with the aid of a few strips of $0.99 rubber gasketting. Before there were complete water cooling kits for sale by the dozen, modders were tracking down parts, building waterblocks, and cramming pumps, reservoirs and tubing into their cases.
Before there were glowing fans with LED's or cold cathodes, modders were pulling fans appart and adding LED's to the blades of the fan's impeller. In other words, when it comes to things that blink, flash bright colours, or look damn cool in (or on) a computer case it is a safe bet that modders were there first with the idea, and the prototypes.
For example, in 1999 we'd already built our first self contained liquid cooled computer. In the fall of 2001 we'd already built our own Glowy Fan, and later in 2002 we'd already built the first Glowy mod for a stock GeFroce 4 cooling system (TT later copied this idea). When it comes to making nifty copper heatsinks I can even say, "been there done that."
The list goes on with countless examples of clear cases, fan speed controllers and so forth... I suppose as modders' ideas filter through and become more refined, adapted, improved and commercialized the bar gets raised one notch higher. Then, everyone must work just a little harder to come up with the next coolest thing to personalize a computer case.
When it comes to something like Vantec's UV LED case fans I'm not sure if I'm impressed by fact that they use ultraviolet light emitting diodes to fluoresce the plastic impeller and frame, or not. Sure, the fans do look pretty cool, but the idea of a UV sensitive fan is nothing new.
Modders originally accomplished similar effects by painting standard black case fans with UV paint and mounting an ultraviolet cold cathode light to fluoresce the surface pigments.
Vantec's adaptation of that idea is certainly a lot cleaner and less expensive route to take - and no cold cathode is required. The four little LED's embedded into the frame of each fan emit a great deal of white light which takes away from the effect to some extent, but the spectrum does indeed include the ultraviolet, or near ultraviolet range.
Sold with a set of case mounting screws and a molex pass thru connector, the Vantec Spectrum UV LED case fans come in five different sets of colours (as you'll see below). Each fan measures 80mm x 80mm x 25mm and draws approximately 0.25A of juice. The fans are not particularly noisy, and output roughly 36CFM as they rotate at 2900 RPM - according to the manufacturers specs.
Nifty Colours Care of Four UV LED's:
Apart from the potential danger of erasing older BIOS EPROM's with damaged stickers (the stickers cover a little window in some types of erasable IC's), there shouldn't be any negative effect on adjacent electronics.
Some dye's don't fair well under UV light, and consequently can fade. However, without much information on the level of intensity required for that to occur, or even the stated output brightness of each of these LED's in the UV spectrum we're just guessing blindly. :)
In any case, the really beauty of these fans is seeing them in operation. We've taken some shots of each fan under power, backside and front, and put them all up in a chart so you can have a look for yourself. That's all on the next page, so buckle up and get ready to see the light...
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