As mentioned earlier, many manufacturers are going out of their way to come up with something that sets their product apart from the rest. We have seen any number of innovative additions to handle this task, but this is the first LCD model we have had the luxury of testing. Oh, we aren't talking about just a little LCD panel built into the side of the main housing here, but a separate module that is fitted into an empty optical drive bay.
As far as capabilities, the display shows a rating of the currently used wattage along with a load level given in a percentage format, the internal temperature of the power supply, the fan speed, and a breakdown of power usage along most of the power rails (in amps). This can tell you at a glance just how much power you are using and where your PSU stands in its ability to continue to give you the power you need. Not bad!
Turning the display around shows us the means of connecting it to the power supply and your system. The only slots you will need to worry about are the two on the left and the one on the far right. The two on the left are attached to the appropriate cabling that comes from the power supply while the one on the right is used to connect the monitoring device to your motherboard by means of an internal USB port. This is also why you will need a driver disk for the power supply; the monitoring device built in is not natively supported by either WinXP or Vista.
The two remaining ports should be ignored as they are used for initial programming of the device at the factory and will not be utilized when in use.
As a side note, when I first received this device for testing, there were only drivers for operating systems up to WinXP. This has now been rectified and Vista drivers are available from the AcBel website for those who have already made the switch to Microsoft's latest OS.
Above shows a quick shot of the display in dark conditions while the system is idling. The backlighting is a constant color and there is no option to change this. The AcBel logo to the right is a bit brighter and changes color while the system is running. To save on the LCD life, the display panel will darken when no input has been received for five minutes. If you need to monitor, just hit a function button and the display will immediately come back to life.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
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