I recently put together a nice new system based on the Abit KG7-RAID motherboard and a AMD 1.4 GHz Thunderbird CPU. The final process of installation included installing rounded cables, and organizing and tidying up cables with plenty of zip ties. The system also has a nice blue orb chipset cooler on the GeForce 2 video card since the original fan went out after less than a year, and a nice shiny copper ThermalRight SK6 heatsink. The whole shebang went into an Antec SX1040 File Tower. Everything worked well, but there is one catch: you can’t see any of these goodies with the lid on.
Going against my normal “no eye candy” policy, I decided to experiment with a window kit to be able to show off the innards of the system and give the admittedly boring looking case a little custom flair. The window kit I chose to install was the CoolerGuys Cool-View Acrylic Window Kit.
The kit comes in a clear plastic bag and contains the following components:
The components were of good quality and gave a solid impression. Having the protective masking on the acrylic window until you are ready to install it is a nice touch. The acrylic window was very clean cut, the holes drilled precisely; no tool marks or burrs anywhere to be found.
The installation instructions provided are good. Follow the steps and you can’t do much wrong. First you decide where to place the window. The use of a ruler is strongly suggested to make sure the window is straight. Don’t forget the old saying: Measure twice – cut once. First you drill the mounting holes, then you cut out the opening for the window. Both a jig saw or a dremel tool will work well. Follow all safety precautions to protect your eyes and other body parts when cutting. Finally, install the window and molding and fasten it with the provided screws. The process is pretty easy if you’re not a total klutz, and can be finished in an hour or so.
The window mounts flat from the outside of the side panel. While it protrudes a few millimeters on the outside, it does not protrude on the inside at all and does not get in the way of anything inside the case. If you have an Antec case like me, you’ll have to move the window a little bit further towards the front because of the panel release handle. Otherwise, the window does not impact the system negatively in any way. The case temperature remained the same, the side panel can still be easily removed and is still sturdy.
The finished product looks very nice. It offers a nice view inside the case for easy showing off or drooling. Yes, it is eye-candy and offers absolutely nothing towards performance of the computer. But it certainly gives the case a very nice personal touch and sets it apart from the average boring beige computer case.