All power to the... fans
NZXT are a well-established manufacturer of peripheries for the PC and the last fan controller we reviewed by them was well received.
The only downside to the Sentry LX is the fact that it occupies two whole drive bays which can put a damper on your case-chi if you use more than one DVD-ROM or mount hard disks in noise dampening cages in your 5.25" bays.
So, the logical progression was to reduce the size down to a single bay, but how do you maintain the same functionality as the LX without the use of buttons?
Simple conductive membranes which switch on contact provides a cheap and effective touch screen solution.
Looking at the website, the note-worthies are:
- Touch screen
- 5 Fan control
- Temperature in C and F
- Automatic and Manual modes
- 3 pin and 4 pin (Molex) style for every kind of fan
- Voltage control (not PWM)
- 10Watts per a channel (Handles BIG fans)
- Audible alarm
- Settings memory
The only bad point I can see so far is that it's only available in black with a plastic finish.
Out of the box, you get the drive bay unit (the brains of the operation) with all the connectors you could possibly want. There's also enough temperature sensors to drive you mad when you can't figure out where to put them all.
Each fan connector also has a 4 pin molex option, as seen in the picture, as well as the standard 3 pin connector. This means that you can pretty much guarantee the whole of your case can be temperature managed.
In the bag you get screws, labels and extra temperature sensors. I'm not sure why they include extras when you have so many already.
A manual gives you the low down on setting up the device, though to be fair it's pretty intuitive and after 5 mins of poking and prodding you will have it sussed out.
Coming to the fitting now, I came across one initial concern; however, it's more to do with my case than the unit itself.
I have slide locking tool-less drive bay mounting and no screw holes. So the unit is held in place by friction. Unfortunately the "wings" of the drive bay unit are not very long so the friction isn't much and if I poke hard I can press the unit into my computer.
The Sentry LX had this problem covered by having a reinforced L shape bracket behind it, so it acted more like a CD-ROM than a blanking plate.
Cool to the touch
With the controller plugged in and running, it lights up like Christmas! A subtle blend of blues, orangy-yellows and reds tell you the average temperature, the fan voltage percentage and of course the spinning fan graphic off to one side.
From here you can switch between automatic and manual modes and then cycle through each fan by pressing the spinning fan logo.
Voltage control is done by percentage and is changeable in values of 10, or you can select all fans and adjust their overall running speed on the same scale.
Truly this is a nifty fan controller, with everything you would realistically need it to do and no extraneous features to clutter things up.
For the full effect you have to see it running, though, so check out this quick video of the various modes and features.
If you have a case with a number of fans you need to control, you should look no further than the NZXT. It really does the job well; despite its plastic bezel and being only available in black. (Black is in this year anyway!)
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