Build Your Own: The Customizable, Illuminated Dream Machine

Fan Controller, Memory, And Power Supply

Fan Controller with LED Touchscreen : Aerocool Touch-2100

While you might be surprised to see a fan controller listed as one of the most visually striking components on a build's parts list, one look at Aerocool's Touch-2100 LCD display should make it pretty clear why we picked it. Equipped with an illuminated LCD touchscreen the size of two 5.25" drive bays, the Touch-2100 looks like something out of Star Trek. The controller's color can be set to red, green, yellow, blue, purple, teal, white, or turned off entirely.

But the Touch-2100 isn’t just for show. This unit can handle five fans, each with an accompanying temperature sensor. Fan speed can be set manually. However, if a user-configurable temperature threshold is exceeded, the Touch-2100 automatically increases cooling to help bring it back under control. Underneath the screen itself, you'll find two USB 3.0 ports and headphone/mic jacks that can be used instead of your case's front-panel connections.

For $64 on Newegg, Aerocool's Touch-2100 is the crown jewel in our illuminated dream PC.

Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

Crucial's Ballistix Tracer kit is a great example of how a common and visually bland PC component can be spruced up with simple lighting effects. These modules are available an orange/blue or red/green lighting combo. Each stick has LED running lights near its contacts, which illuminate your chosen motherboard's memory area. The top of the modules also have activity lights that change based on memory utilization.

Activity lights can be set to one of four patterns: stereo, inside out, lava, and streamer. Their visual impact on whole machine's overall look is actually more dramatic than you might otherwise guess. The intricate light patterns generated by Crucial's kit are pretty spectacular, and easy to see through the case's side window.

Lighting color and effects are controlled by the Ballistix MOD utility. Each module can be modified with an independent color and pattern, or all of them can be linked to use the same settings. We used four sticks of orange/blue memory. But, in retrospect, a combination of two orange/blue and two red/green would have allowed us to apply four distinct colors instead of two, yielding an even wider range of customization. Regardless, we're still able to use these modules with a variety of color schemes, since orange and blue can complement a wide range of hues.

Although we were originally skeptical about the impact light-up memory would make, now that the whole machine is put together, we don't think this build would have ended up nearly as appealing without it. You’ll see it for yourselves in the video at the end of this piece.

Crucial offers a wide range of Ballistix Tracer memory on Newegg, starting as low as $10.

Power Supply: Rosewill Lightning

Rosewill sells the only power supplies with adjustable lighting that we could find. The LED on the large intake fan can be set to red, blue, or turned off entirely. The modular power receptacles also light up when cables are connected. The four-pin Molex and SATA plugs light up blue, two of the four six- and eight-pin auxiliary connectors for graphics cards light up green, and the other two light up orange.  

Since the intake fan is pointed downward, the light-up effect is much more dramatic in cases with top-mounted power supplies. Unfortunately, our build has its PSU on the bottom of the enclosure. There's a lot less impact from its illuminated fan, though the cable connectors remain quite visible.

The modular cables and ties are stored in a classy zippered pouch.

The Rosewill Lightning series is available from Newegg in 800, 1,000, and 1,300 W flavors for $150, $170, and $220, respectively. All three SKUs are equipped with active PFC and share the same 80 PLUS Gold certification.

  • kingnoobe
    Shame on you.. How dare you copyright stuff (at least that's what the video says).

    The case does look awesome, but it would be nice to see the video lol.
  • stoogie
    iunno looks pretty lame to me, its just a couple of leds, i have 15 fans in my haf 932 and theyre all green and it glows alot more than the pc you have made here, if u want to customize, get leds/cathodes/lighting kits, and light up not only your case but the environment, or get watercooling with neon liquid of a different colour or even UV colour, make a custom glass case etc, thats how a dream 'illuminated' mod should be. for example the guy who created a glass desk which had the pc in it and was fully illuminated, THAT is what this article should be about, not about how to install a fan.
  • de5_Roy
    nice build. :)
    imo custom illuminated water cooling woulda been nice too.
    the fan controller was kick-ass.
  • abbadon_34
    reminds me of the combo beer holder & ash tray i had in my last comp's 5" bay

    edit: funny, that was thermaltake too
  • shikamaru31789
    I'm not usually a fan of lighted setups, most of them are really gaudy looking, but I actually like your setup. Maybe I'll try to make a tasteful lighted setup like this for my next build.
  • shikamaru31789
    BTW, when can we expect the Sub-$200 CPU comparison. Cleeve said we could expect it by the end of the month and it's now officially February (EST). Hope you guys post it tomorrow.
  • Rockdpm
    I have the NZXT hue and its worth every dime i paid for it
  • bit_user
    Stay away from blue lighting. It messes up your circadian rhythms. Blue light is how your brain knows that dawn is nearing. Whenever there's a blue LED on a device I use late at night, I put tape over it.
  • slomo4sho
    shikamaru31789BTW, when can we expect the Sub-$200 CPU comparison. Cleeve said we could expect it by the end of the month and it's now officially February (EST). Hope you guys post it tomorrow.
    I am looking forward to this as well... considering its been over two weeks since the best of Jan 2013 list that mentions this was posted.
  • Rockdpm
    There is a CPU cooler you can adjust the colors on.. Its called the CM V6GT...