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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.10.04]
Manufactured by: Cooler Master

Est. Street Price: $40-50

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The first thing to install is the LED Color Switch.

The M2 comes with both a front 3.5" bay switch, and a rear PCI bracket switch. Since the bay switch is just a 'cover' and not a full sized device, it will not be compatible with many tool-free cases, depending on how they are designed. This is no biggie, since Cooler Master thoughtfully included a separate rear switch to use in case you can't or don't want to use the front switch. Another good move! Once installed, you press the switch to cycle through the colors; there is even a function to have the M2 cycle through all its colors non-stop, but I don't see too many people using that...

Next up, you connect the audio, using these various pass-through cables:

Audio installation was very easy, and clearly explained in the manual. Simply connect one of the cables to the inside of the M2, pass through from the PCI bracket to the audio out on your sound card, and then connect your speakers to the bracket itself.

Audio control is a neat feature, but do we really need to control two channels separately? I can't think of too many occasions where we would want one channel louder than the other. Furthermore, this will be quite incompatible with surround speakers; you'll be able to control the front channels (or the rear, or the subwoofer channel), and that's it.

The sound level meters do not actually detect noise levels with a microphone; they simply adjust to the volume put out by the sound card itself.

Finally, we can connect the HDD activity monitor:

Using one of these two mistake-proof 2 pin cables, you connect the M2 to the HDD level output on the motherboard, then you have the option of passing through to the case LED if you want to continue to use that. The other cable acts as an extension in the event that the case LED cable is not long enough.

While the audio installation was explained well enough in the manual, this wasn't the case with the HDD part of it. Instructions in this case were vague at best, and clearly the victim of poor English translation. Basically, they try to explain the installation in a 'long-winded' fashion, and for anyone who is trying to figure out installation is likely to be confused by all the extra information. A clear installation diagram would have really helped. Luckily, installation is simple enough that most of us will be able to figure it out without looking at the manual.

That about covers the Musketeer 2. Since it only has 2 functions, both of which are not something highly important to most users, it is clear that the M2 is a 'looks before function' accessory for your case. Unlike the Cooldrive 4, which has many useful functions and looks great at the same time.

Luckily, the M2 truly excels in the one thing it was made to do above all others: It looks AWESOME. The retro analog dials look absolutely sweet when bathed in the blood red glow, matching up with the Diabolic Minotaur case we reviewed a while back. And since it is available in both black and silver, and lights up in seven different colours, the Musketeer 2 is pretty much guaranteed to match any case perfectly well.

While the original Musketeer debuted at around $40, we have located the new one at NewEgg for just $25. This makes it quite affordable, even if we aren't impressed by the lack of features of this unit ;)

My only gripe is that I wish it had more useful features. Sure it looks cool to see the needle go up and down with HDD activity, but do we really need TWO separate sound level meters for the same output? How often do we really need to adjust the left and right channels individually? I would have liked to see one volume control, with a corresponding meter, and maybe have a temperature monitor with a single flat thermistor instead (and maybe a single fan controller to go with it). Sure, the original Musketeer already has that, but the M2 is different enough that I don't see anything wrong with sharing at least one function with the original...

  • Looks VERY cool
  • Will match with pretty much any system on the planet
  • Installation a breeze
  • Having two separate LED color switches was a smart move

  • Looks great, but not exactly highly functional
  • Instructions could be better

Final Score: 89%