Cooler Master and modding. Modding and Cooler Master. Some things go together like ham and eggs. Case modders need companies like Cooler Master. Tech sites need companies like Cooler Master. Why? Because you can count on Cooler Master products to perform. You can count on Cooler Master products to dazzle. We're talking "bling-bling" here. But hey, lets get on with the review. It's a short one, so you'll be able to form your own opinon about the Musketeer II in a few minutes. Figure 1 is a good shot of the final install. This baby is staying there too - I love it!
Packaging and Contents
Figure 2 at least shows you the box and the instructions. There's a few left-over parts there too. You see, I was so excited about installing this bay device, that I forgot to take a picture of the package contents before installing it. Since I'm not going to take it out again just for a picture, this is what you get. However, I will tell you that Cooler Master gives you everything you need - hard drive LED cables, sound cables, a few PCI brackets, and a 3.5 inch switch bracket (shown in the picture). You actually get two control switches, the one you see in figure 2, and the PCI version that I'm not gonna show you. I used the PCI version, since I already used up my 3.5 inch slots in the all-powerful "Globe of Retribution" machine (a Big Al's Computers original).
The included instructions (see figure 3) don't say much, but thats ok. As you can see, a picture's worth a thousand words. Well, maybe fifty words. All you have to do is pull the HD LED connector to your motherboard, and plug it into the "HDD LED Line-In" port. Then you connect Cooler Master's wire from the "HDD LED Line-Out" port to the motherboard HD LED header. For the sound connection, you place the sound-PCI bracket on your back panel, and plug the two internal cables to the "Volume Line-In" and "Volume Line-Out" ports. Then you need a power connector from your power supply, just like any other bay device.
Now comes the tough part. You must decide whether to use the 3.5 inch switch or the PCI switch. Use the one that works for you. The connector from the switch plugs into the "LED Switch" port, and that's the last connection to worry about. Except for the sound output to your speakers, that is. Instead of plugging the speaker line-out cable into your motherboard or sound card, you plug it into the "Line-Out" port of the sound-PCI bracket. The "Line-In" port gets connected to the motherboard or sound card with a short jumper cable that Cooler Master also provides you. See? They give you everything you need!
What does it do?
This is a display device - you won't see faster frame rates, quicker boot times, or more sonic headroom from your speakers. But it's just so sweet to look at. The analog meters on the right and left dance around when music is playing from your CD-ROM or other sound source. The middle meter indicates hard drive activity - just like your little LED light in the front of the case. So during hard disk activity, that middle meter is dancing too.
But wait, the big deal is the cool selection of colors. There are seven colors all together - red, green, blue, yellow, light blue, purple, and white. Then there is a flashing mode if you can't decide on one color alone. The flashing will eventually drive you insane (hopefully not to the point where you kick the computer), so I recommend that you pick a color and stick with it. The icons below give you an idea of what these colors look like. They're all there, except for purple and white. Hey, five examples is enough! Click on an icon for a much bigger picture.
As you can see, there is lots of bling-bling. For the price you pay, you certainly get lots of action and pretty colors. Any modder with an empty bay slot should welcome the Musketeer II with open arms. The price is right, it works as advertised, and you will certainly be pleased with the results. What more could you ask for?