After everything is all hooked up, you crank up the system and begin getting everything set up to your own specifications. But while the goal was functionality, there is a certain aesthetic value that seems to go along with the Hardcano 12. It is almost like having a car stereo mounted into your enclosure, which might explain the graphics used on the front of the box (shown on the first page of this article).
As you have probably already figured out, the center portion of the unit is your LCD display area. It will tell you fan speeds (if a 3-pin monitoring wire was used), temperature for the corresponding thermal probe, alarm temperature settings and mode of operation. Let's take a closer look at the controlling devices...
On the left side of the unit you will find the controls for basic functions. You can change the display from degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit and also change the mode. You can also manually raise or lower the fan speeds when running in manual mode.
Speaking of the modes, you have two choices for this setting; manual or automatic. When running in manual mode, you can set the fan speeds for each channel individually. When using the display to verify temperatures, you can get the most out of your noise vs performance ratios.
When running in automatic mode, you allow the Hardcano unit to decide how fast to run the fans. While I am generally not a big enthusiast of letting a machine maintain fan control, the Hardcano 12 did a surprisingly good job of handling the task. The fans would run at a lower speed during simple computing functions and adjust themselves in a very timely manner when I began getting into something more intense, like gaming. You just need to set the alarm temperatures to a lower preset limit and the Hardcano 12 becomes even more aggressive when controlling the fan speeds.
To be as blunt as possible, I have tested a fair number of automated fan speed controllers (including past Thermaltake revisions) and while they all do their job, this is the first that I would really consider being allowed to handle the cooling job on its own.
On the opposite side of the unit you find the controls for the different channels. All cables are numbered from 1 to 4 with temperature probes also being numbered in the same manner. So if you have your processor cooler set up on the first channel, just use the temperature probe with the same number on the processor and you can effectively monitor and adjust speeds accordingly.
The alarm button allows you to adjust the setting for the alarm. This is an audible alarm but not one that is so loud as to wake the dead. It was a soft tone that not grating, but loud enough to be heard with headphones on. When setting the alarm temperatures, you can choose from one of four preset limits. These settings range from 40C to 70C in 10 degree increments. As mentioned earlier, when you set the temperature at a lower level, the automatic fan speed controller becomes more aggressive to allow the system to stay below the set alarm temperature.
As I was playing with the different settings, I became aware of a downfall of the system. While I found the Hardcano unit to be reliable in regards to automatically adjusting fan speeds, these settings did not remain when you reboot the system. Every time you turn the machine off, the Hardcano resets itself to its default settings; Automatic mode and 60C alarm temperature. I found better results when I set the controls to 40C but the settings were lost when I turned the system off.
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