Build Your Own: The Customizable, Illuminated Dream Machine

Assembly And Build Notes

Thermaltake's spacious Level 10 GT makes assembly and cable management relatively easy compared to some of the System Builder Marathon configurations I've put together. As a result, there's very little to complain about, aside from the extra work that went into getting NZXT's Hue lighting strip and Aerocool's Touch-2100 fan controller installed.

We'll start with the Hue. Sliding the control panel unit into the bottom external 5.25" drive bay and plugging in its SATA-style power cable is as straightforward as it gets. The only component that requires any thought is the LED lighting strip, and even that doesn't necessitate much skill. Simply plan out the strip's route through the enclosure, check it for size, and remove sections of the adhesive tape as you apply it.

In our case, we placed the LED strip along the inside edge of the motherboard door. We had to be careful with a few bends and twists, but the flexible lighting is quite easy to work with. Our only worry was that some of the sharper angles might stress the adhesive, and one section came loose after a little while. We pushed it back into position, and the strip is still in place, even to this day.

In this pic you can see both the LED strip in addition to the Aerocool fan cableIn this pic you can see both the LED strip in addition to the Aerocool fan cable

The Aerocool Touch-2100 was no more difficult to install than the Hue, though it presents its own challenges. The touchscreen control panel is easily placed in the space of two adjacent 5.25" optical bays. A single four-pin power connector is all that you need to drive up to five 25 W fans. Because we had Thermaltake's Level 10 GT controlling all of the illuminated fans, there was only a 130 mm rear exhaust fan left for the Touch-2100 to control. Hooking it up was simple, leaving us with the temperature probes to arrange. Even without more fans attached, the probes can still report temperatures from five different zones in the case.

We placed probes on the motherboard voltage regulator, the CPU heat sink, the graphics card, the hard drive, and the memory. Unfortunately, the included adhesive tape wasn't sticky enough to hold the probes in place for long. That issue aside, installation was a breeze. We're finally ready to show off the fruits of our labor.

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  • 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...
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Just get the NZXT Phantom 820. All-customizable RGB lighting integrated, plus that case is incredible.
  • plasmastorm
    dream build....uses air cooling.... hang your head in shame whoever thought of that instead of a custom watercooling setup with water addetives for the colour
  • The_Trutherizer
    PC's seem to be more about peripherals these days than back in the day when all you wanted was a rig (case optional) that could play Unreal Tournament. It's not a bad thing though. This will always be where PCs rule. And it's great to see the quality options that are available.
  • TheMadFapper
    I'm so happy to see this article. I haven't quite finished getting the base components in my PC yet but LED lighting is definitely down the road, so this will be very helpful. Thanks guys!
  • arkadi
    cool for kids....just think what you could do to your build instead of this useless crap..
  • Soda-88
    Quote:
    This video contains content from EMI, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

    Lol...
  • mikenygmail
    Yeah, EMI Music Publishing and other organizations claim copyright infringement and basically block anything with any type of music on youtube, even if it's a piano piece you play yourself. You have to fight for a while in order to have almost any music whatsoever remain on youtube.

    While this sounds utterly ridiculous, unfortunately it's reality.
  • mikenygmail
    I am of course referring to the video at the end of the article, here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X7kcXN5Vj0&feature=player_embedded
  • WretchedSoul44
    I wouldn't buy Mad Catz anything. I tried out the R.A.T mouse and it worked fine for a while, but then one time I came back from lunch(I used it at work) and the tiny metal piece used to tighten the mouse on the side of it discharged on my finger. Ever since then the mouse would work very poorly, would have trouble moving and I had to click multiple times just to open something. 80 bucks down the drain. That Keyboard looks like a man or woman with carpet's nightmare, too!
  • mousseng
    I can't believe I wasn't aware of the NZXT Hue before. I've been looking into getting some LED lighting for my case, and if I weren't broke I probably would've gone for single-color BitFenix Alchemies (which are horrifically over-priced) or Ozniums. But for the same price as 2 feet of 1-color Alchemies I can have 6 feet of full RGB with a controller? Color me interested.

    Anyway, great read. I always enjoy articles that are about building systems (especially fun ones like this).
  • cleeve
    mikenygmailYeah, EMI Music Publishing and other organizations claim copyright infringement and basically block anything with any type of music on youtube, even if it's a piano piece you play yourself. You have to fight for a while in order to have almost any music whatsoever remain on youtube.While this sounds utterly ridiculous, unfortunately it's reality.


    Good lord.

    I made an official declaration to Youtube that the small snippet of audio I chose complied with the fair use guidelines, which I researched thoroughly.

    Video re-uploaded, it should work now but with no music.

    +1 for the man, -1 for the people. :(
  • cleeve
    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.


    "The end of the month" was a general timeline, not a promise.

    Regardless, its coming quite soon. :)
  • the great randini
    Very nice build, i have not seen that mobo yet.
  • WickedPigeon
    Nice build - and once again, I'm jealous.

    And while you have done all that can be done with a PC, both now and in the past, when will PC design evolve to something more than black/white PLASTIC rectangles?

    I only wish I could find PC cases/designs that where as beautiful on the outside as yours' is on the inside; like the award winning Jeffrey Stephenson designs http://www.slipperyskip.com/page23.html

    just saying...