Date: November 11th, 2004
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Thermaltake
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The Circle Fire comes in an easily opened clear plastic "clamshell" package.
The speaker specifications are unimpressive, but "dancing meters" and "shining LEDs" may provide some visual interest. More on this later.
Behind the center grille is the 2-watt speaker. While the packaging suggests "stereo music" capabilities, there is only one speaker. On either side of the speaker is an analog VU meter. Outboard of these, there are two more VU meters of the more familiar LED "bar Graph" variety.
The connection ports on the rear of the device are, from left, audio in (optical drive), audio in (sound card) and power in (molex).
All cables and screws needed for installation are included, as well as a PCI bracket with (too many) holes. An illustrated manual with clear installation instructions is also included.
Installing the Circle Fire is simple and straightforward, provided you have an open 5.25" bay and available 4-pin molex in your case. You can use either the line-out jack on the soundcard or the audio out port on an optical device as input for the speaker and effects. With the computer turned off and taking appropriate precautions, make the connections per the manual, slide the Circle Fire into the bay, secure it with the screws and you're good to go.
Click HERE if you want to see the display in action.
I used the line out jack from the soundcard in this installation, and when I started up the computer, I was greeted by a pleasant blue glow from the VU meters. The Circle Fire has seven color options as well as a setting that cycles through all the colors in an endless loop. All the meters respond to sound input and the sound quality itself is…well…not very good. As one would expect from a tiny speaker like this, the sound is quite flat and "tinny". Volume control on the Circle Fire consists of three settings: High, Normal and Low, activated by a micro switch between and below the left VU meter and speaker. An identical switch on the right controls the lighting effects.