While there still are a few purists out there that really do prefer the finite control that a slider or a turn dial offers for exacting control over their fans, most users are looking for something a bit more stylish than a bunch of knobs. Most users also want a more automated way of taking control of the cooling inside of a chassis. Both views have their merits, and we are not here to dispute one being better over the other – it is just that this latest product from NZXT to hit our labs just happens to fall in the latter category, and is a product we believe many would like to try out for this reason.
NZXT of course went to a touchscreen to clean things up and give this fan controller a much more stylish appearance, and reduced the surrounding bezel as much as possible to offer the 5.4 inch diagonal measurement of this screen. Along with manual and automatic touch controls, it also offers a thermal readout, a probe to measure thermal dynamics to control Performance mode, and it even has an alarm so that users are warned when things get a bit too hot.
We are here today to look at the newest fan controller from NZXT, the Sentry 3. We alluded to a few of the features of this design, but there is still a lot to see and cover as we put this touchscreen fan controller through its paces. While initially we were very taken by the design and specs, there will be some interesting points to note later, so this definitely is a review you will want to read down to the last letter.
As for now, let's dive right in and see what exactly we are dealing with in this NZXT Sentry 3.
Following the chart, we find that the Sentry 3 is also known by the AC-SEN-3-B1 model number. We also see that it is made from steel, ABS plastic, it has a capacitive touchscreen, and of course there is a PCB behind the screen controlling functionality; all of this is packed into a single 5.25 inch bay device that measures 129mm wide, and is 31mm in height. Behind the scenes we find five fan leads that will accept three-pin or four-pin fans, and there is a four-pin Molex connection for power. Along with these leads, there is also a thermal probe that displays a thermal range of 0 – 120 degrees Celsius.
The rest of the specifications show that this fan controller is a power house. Across its five channels, each receives 15W of power for a total of 75W across the entire Sentry 3. This is huge for those looking to control loops with push/pull setups on multiple radiators. It even has enough power that you could build a chassis out of fans, and still control them all with this system. Power delivery isn't everything though, and while definitely strong in this department, and it is most of what counts, we still have aesthetics, control, fit, and an overall opinion to cove.
What is really nice about the whole idea of fan control via a controller such as this, is that you can be the master of the thermal dynamics of a chassis, and typically there isn't a huge expense involved. We have seen some very pricey single bay models, and of course the dual bay and stand-alone versions get even more expensive, but the Sentry 3 from NZXT is priced right along with most of their other single bay models. The Sentry 3 should not cost you more than $30 USD to obtain. Considering what sort of power we are offered, and the amount of controllability, right now we find that there isn't really too much we could complain about on paper.
PRICING: You can find the NZXT SENTRY 3 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
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