Back to tinkering again. The front blue power LED bar on the case was pretty bright and the HDD LED was really dim and green. The brightness didn't suit the case or my end goal. Also the back of the LED bar was unshielded so light could be seen from the side through the lower vent cutouts.
There isn't much quality in the power/reset switch and hdd activity light area but it is fine with me. NZXT had cut costs SOMEWHERE and I'd rather it be in a hidden area than somewhere that would affect the build as a whole. It's a $35 case and I still think it was worth every penny. Hey, if the buttons ever fail I'll just have a reason to mod.
Since the wires and LEDs were hot glued on it was simple to remove and solder new LEDs in place.
Unfortunately my propane torch was almost empty and in a rush to finish before the gas was finished, I forgot to take a picture of the improved setup from the inside. Basically I changed both the power ON LED and the HDD activity LED to some 5mm 'high brightness' (what a joke) ultraviolet units. The color is easier on the eye than blue and a good bit dimmer while still being bright enough to see.
For some reason the motherboard is only outputting 3 volts to the HDD activity pins. This warrants further investigation but not today... The LEDs are 3.3v 20mA fordward voltage units and are relatively dim at full power to begin with so my HDD light is pretty much invisible. I'll have to pick up a couple 555s & a project board to build a driver circuit for the HDD light so I can get full power. Lets face it, who likes to be underpowered? This is OCN after all...
To solve the light leaking from behind the front panel I affixed some good ole electrical tape to the backside of the clear bar as well as both of the LEDs. Nothing like a ghetto mod for street cred.
I really like the stealth effect and the case looks a bit more polished. Now that the front end is darker the fan controller LED looks way too white and bright. I'm fresh out of desoldering wick so changing that LED will be another days project.
My favorite retailer had an Antec ELITE multimedia station (Veris) VFD with IR receiver and remote discounted with a rebate as well this morning and the price was right. I'm not sure I need the remote or the knob but I surely would love to see my system stats without running an overlay while gaming or having to ALT+Tab to the desktop.
Oh, and I ran 3dmark11 this morning. With the same GPU from my last box in this new rig I scored 1,381 higher for a total of 4,562 3dmarks. Not that impressive compared to the majority of you OCN'ers but for me that is a noticeable increase in framerate as well as smoothing out the stutter that was occuring before. I can now run the majority of my games at maximum or near maximum settings with 40fps bare minimum. Good enough for me! Metro 2033 on 'High' with DOF and advanced physics is beautiful and I'm glad I don't have to miss out on it anymore.3dMark11 score