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Ultra UV Fans, IDE Cables and CCFLs Ultra UV Fans and CCFLs: We take a look at Ultra Product's UV product line. We examine their fans, as well as two types of light tubes.
Date: September 20, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

Almost every case these days come with case windows. From entry level cases to the more expensive high end models, it's rare to find one without a case window. The whole point of these windows would be to show your gear off, but unless you do something about the lighting, all people are going to see is a dark interior with a bunch of shadows cast behind it.

Cold cathode fluorescent lit (CCFLs) tubes are nothing new, as modders have been using them for years. UV reactive CCFLs have also been around for quite some time, though they are relatively new when looked at in respect to the age of standard CCFLs. Nowadays, you're seeing more UV reactive products hit the market as more and more users want to show off their PC's hardware through the window.

Today we'll be looking at a number of UV products from . We'll be taking a look at some UV CCFLs, as well as their 80mm fans. Outside of our general opinions, we'll be testing the fans for their cooling performance.

First up are the CCFLs and the UV reactive case fans. The first set of CCFLs is the , which are a couple of the standard straight tube variety.

The tube measures 12" long, and is slender enough to fit in the majority of cases. You only need about 1/2" of clearance for installation, which is accomplished by some double sided tape on opposite ends of the tube. One side of the tape is already pre-applied, so simply peel the other end, and stick it into the case. You'll want to make sure you plan where you're putting these ahead of time, as the tape is pretty sticky, and removing the tube afterwards will need to be done with some care.

The second set of tubes we have are the . These are to be installed on any 80mm fan, which in most cases would be the case fan or CPU fan. Four screws are included, so installation is as easy as installing a fan grill. I should point out that these tubes will end up being aligned flush with the fan. If you have a snap-mount for the fan, such as those found in the Dragon case we reviewed earlier, where it only accepts 25mm deep fans, you should not install these tubes. What will happen is the fan will no longer fit. If the fan is screwed into the case directly, you will have no problems.

All of Ultra's UV CCFL kits include a box that the CCFLs plug into. The box is no larger than a couple AA batteries, and can be attached anywhere within the case.

You plug in the CCFLs into one end of the box (a maximum of two CCFLs), and a Molex power tap into the other end. This power tap is connected to the expansion-slot rocker power switch which screws into a free PCI backpanel.

We also received a number of . The fans are rated at 2500rpm, and move about 33cfm. In terms of noise, they are not very loud, and actually quieter than the fan on our ASUS X600XT video card. The noise rating is 29.8dB. One problem I had with the fans was that there was no indication of the airflow direction. In case you're unaware, rounded portion of the fins is where the air comes from, therefore as an exhaust fan, that should be pointed at the inside of the case. Little directional arrows would have made this less complicated.

To give an idea of the cooling performance, we matched three of them up against some Aeroflow 80mm fans, which offers similar specifications. We'll also be tossing in a Vantec Tornado into the mix. The test setup is identical to our Dragon case review.

 
CPU
Chassis
Ultra UV
54
34
Aeroflow LED
54
34
Vantec Tornado
52
30

You won't see much a performance difference unless you're comparing it to fans rated with a higher (or lower) CFM rating. The Tornado, as expected, is the best performer, but it is easily the loudest (especially when running three of them).

Final Words

All of the UV products worked as advertised, and it's hard to rate them in some ways as it's ultimately going to be up to the buyer if UV products is something they are going to need. Let's look at them according to category.

The UV light kits are easy to install, and will fit in a number of cases due to the compact size. The straight CCFLs go for about , which ends up making them one of the more expensive light tubes on the market. Vantec has 12" CCFLs as well, and they are about . I have not found a competing product for the round tubes, so the $20 may be worth it if you'd like to pick them up.

The UV fans did not disappoint, though they did not really stand out either. Ultra's UV fans , which places them in the upper range in pricing. Again, there are cheaper choices, and many of which are brand names. Cooling performance was as expected, and the fans are very quiet. These fans are no replacements for more powerful ones such as the Tornado, but those aren't the fans these are meant to replace. Our only complaint is the lack of the air direction indicators.

Pros: Looks great all lit up. UV fans are quiet.

Cons: Products are generally more expensive than the competition. No air direction indicators on the fans.

Bottom Line: Ultra Products' UV line is in line with the competitions when it comes to quality and UV reactiveness. Everything is brightly lit once the UV lights are turned on. Ultimately, it's going to come down to price and availability, not to mention if UV-based products is something you desire.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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