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Rheobus Round Up - Run Down & Conclusion

With case modding becoming the way of the future, several manufacturers have come up with retail Rheobus units to meet the high demands of the enthusiast. What used to be a DIY (Do It Yourself) modification has now become a monstrously successful product line of its own. But how can we tell what works and what doesn't? To help answer this question, we'll be joining Shawn "Toxic" Baker as he takes a look at five of the most popular brands currently on the market. After all, its YOUR hard earned money that we're talking about here!

| Fan Controllers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Feb 4, 2003 5:00 am

Run down on all the units

 

Sunbeam's Rheobus - A very nice unit that has the ability to turn off the much more powerful fans like the Delta Screamers and the Tornado that Vantec kindly provided us with. This unit has a very shiny finish on plate and would sit perfectly in cases like the PC-61 from Lian-Li. It would have been nice to have a look at the silver unit to see if it has the similar brush effect like most silver aluminum cases these days. The other option is to purchase it with the template in what is more of a DIY (Do It Yourself) kit. This way the unit would match perfectly with your case as you will be using one of your own face plates. The changing color on the LED's from blue to red when less then 7 volt is being put out is definitely a nice feature.

 

FanStorm's Fan Controller - This unit is absolutely remarkable, with features like a built in microprocessor to take care of fan speeds and a more precise setup on temperature range; it really is the most powerful unit in the Round-up. Unfortunately, it is burdened with a mass of cabling and a hefty price tag. It is obvious this unit is aimed at the true enthusiast who isn't afraid to spend some money on the little components for their system. A unit like this will give users the chance to use those louder fans that push so much more air, just simply set it to start spinning at full speed when it hits 55C on the temperature sensor and you shouldn't hear them at full speed very often. Maybe this device would be suited better in a server situation where heat is a much larger issue. At the end of the day, this is a superb unit and if you don't mind spending a few dollars on something that adjusts your fan speeds, then go for it. FanStorm are currently offering free shipping worldwide at the moment, so if you're interested, this may be the time to purchase one. The inclusion of the external unit is also a very nice feature that may be worth looking into when it comes to purchasing this unit.

 

Vantec's Nexus Fan Controller - Definitely the Rheobus that's easiest on the eye in our round-up, the Vantec fan controller packs great looks with great functionality to give the user a very nice professional looking unit. The inclusion of a black and silver unit broadens its user following, as these are the two colors of choice as far as computers housing goes these days. A DIY kit would have been quite nice as well because this is definitely a Rheobus that looks right at home when matched with the same color case. Inserting the black one into my silver case does loose its appeal slightly because it just looks so out of place. You shouldn't have a problem hunting down one of these to purchase either.

 

Thermaltake Hardcano 8 - This unit is really out of its league here. It is fairly cheap at only AU$35 and if you treat it carefully, it may be fine, but I didn't apply much force to it at all and it had no problem breaking. Thermaltake isn't usually too bad and while their products are cheaper then a lot of others, they do perform quite well and work at a competitive level as other devices in its area. I hope that Thermaltake looks into the Hardcano 8 and work on trying to release a new model offering similar functions and lifting the build quality on it. At the end of the day a lot of people don't mind paying that little bit more for quality.

 

PC Case Gear's 3.5" Rheobus - There isn't a lot more I can say about this unit, but that it's very cool. Great looks, excellent features and all packed into something that will fit in a 3.5" bay. The content of the device is very rich indeed and while its price may be too high to some people who do have a spare 5.25" bay, for people who don't and wish they did have the ability to control their fan speeds, they will find this to be a very good value for their money.

 

Conclusion

 

While you may have already decided which one is best for you, an overall winner does have to be chosen. When it comes to judging something like this, you have to think of a few things: value for the money, availability, features, looks and overall performance. The one unit that scores all ticks in these categories would have to be the Vantec Nexus Fan Controller. It features great looks, easy to get a hold of and absolute superb value for the money. I would just like to thank Sunbeam Tech, FanStorm, PC Case Gear (for their own unit and the Thermaltake unit) and of course Vantec for providing us with these superb units. I would recommend having a look at all their sites and have a look around to see what other products these companies provide the enthusiast market with. While I feel the Vantec controller was the best overall, don't let this turn you off the other units tested. Sunbeam offers the DIY kit for people who don't have black or silver cases as well as that great function of the LED changing when voltage isn't enough to spin the fan. FanStorm offer a truly remarkable piece of equipment here and if you want to have intelligent fan control, look no further. Finally, there is PC Case Gears 3.5" Rheobus that a lot of people are going to absolutely love due to the ability to place it in a 3.5" bay. Some superb units here and I hope that I have made it easier for you purchase the one that is going to best suit your needs. Below is a night picture of the two units that I think would suit most users.

 

 

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