Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
With our recent introduction to Reeven, not only did we see some very nice coolers, but we were also sent their revised fan controller. We say "revised" only do to the fact that a couple of years ago, there was a previous version of this fan controller released. Sadly, we were not privy to any samples from Reeven then, and to be honest, they weren't even on our radar at that point. After seeing their CPU coolers, we found that Reeven has an eye for detail in their products, and from what we have seen so far, performance is also on the minds of the designers at Reeven as well. Hopefully, what we have seen thus far encompasses all of their products, and the trend of quality continues as we take a close look at their latest version of their Six Eyes II fan controller.
While we did not see the original Six Eyes fan controller first hand, it is not hard to search for other reviews and gage what the product was all about. What we have found in our searching is that the original design pretty much carries over directly as far as aesthetics are concerned. There are still six channels, six LCD screens, thermal readings, fan speed readings, and even the option for a multi color display. All of the things that made the original so desirable are continued in the newest design. This isn't to say that the entire product is just an old renamed product; we are just considering its outward appearance and basic feature set.
Today, as we look at the RFC-02, or to the rest of the world, the Reeven Six Eyes II, things may look very familiar, but under the hood is a completely different story. This time around, there is a more involved layout of components that allow for this latest sample to equal the better known rivals in fan controllers out there. While there is quite a bit to wrap your mind around with this fan controller from Reeven, if you do happen to be in the market for one, this Reeven Six Eyes II is worth a look, and it's definitely worth your time to browse the rest of this review.
The specifications offered by Reeven for the Six Eyes II are pretty slim, but we are given some valid information. Since the original is the RFC-01, it only makes sense that the second Reeven Fan Controller be called the RFC-02. We see that they list dimensions for this controller at 148mm of width, 42mm of height, and 100mm deep, but all you really need to know here is that this is a 5.25" bay fan controller that will fit any chassis that offers this bay.
This controller is powered by five and twelve volts of DC current, and by this, they mean that the Molex power connection draws from both the 5V and 12V leads simultaneously. The stated output of each channel is 3.7V at the low-end of the dial, and 12V at the high-end (minus just a bit due to resistance). The next line is what makes this a very nice offering in fan controllers. With a 2.5A rating per channel, at 12V of power drawn, that figures out to thirty watts on each of the six channels.
The last few lines explain the LCD readings, and state that the RFC-02 can display temperatures from zero to ninety-nine degrees Celsius, and for RPM readings, it is capable of displaying from zero to 9,990. We also see that this unit weighs in at 240 grams, but in a case build, this weight is really of very little issue.
What the chart does not explain are things like the seven colors to display the LCDs in, all controlled by dip switches. It also does not address the thermal alarm it has, again with varying levels to set it to via dip switches. It does not state that for the most part, this Six Eyes II is flat across the face, outside of the six small inset screens.
Reeven also does not address that in order to use this controller; you actually have to press on the control knobs to allow the spring to slowly push them out to access control. Once out, you can set each channel to the desired level of power, and when done, press the button back into the controller to regain that sleek look. Another thing Reeven left out that is not typically seen in fan controllers, and that is that every power lead (through all of the fan extension cables, and even the thermal probe leads), is covered in black braid with heat shrink at both ends to help the controller blend into the build too.
In our emails back and forth, we were informed that once these controllers started to hit the market on this side of the pond, we should expect to see pricing in the $46-49 range. While we did have to hunt to find one from a reputable e-tailer, and not a random listing on eBay, we were able to find one location showing stock. We located the Reeven Six Eyes II at FrozenCPU.com with a price of $49.99. Looking to get one to our door, we also found that the cheapest we could get the cooler shipped was another $8 on top of that. At the moment, that puts the Reeven Six Eyes II, 30W per channel fan controller in the range of $60 to obtain, but even so, Reeven packs it so full of features that you will find yourself wanting one, even if you had no previous plans to buy any fan controller.
The top of the Six Eyes II packaging shows us all of the important bits right up front. There are notations indicating this is a Reeven product, it offers 30W per channel, and near the bottom is the bold gold naming across the top edge of the fan controller. It also states in fine print that three and four-pin fans all work with this device.
As we work around the side of the box, we see that this panel offers a view of some of the LCD screens to the right. To the left, we see the fan control knobs, the temperature indicator, and the fan speed indicator for each channel.
This panel starts off with the product naming, and below it Reeven explains that this is the second generation Six Eyes fan controller, and that the only major change is that we now have the 30W per channel rating this time in the RFC-02.
To cover all of their markets, Reeven used this side of the box to offer up the specifications we discussed earlier, in seven different languages.
The last of the thin sides shows the backlight capabilities of the Six Eyes II. Here we can see all seven LCD color options, and if you desire to turn the screens off to sleep, that is an option as well.
Reeven even takes the time to use the bottom of the packaging. This time it is used to caution buyers of various things about this device and its installation. The biggest thing to take away here is to read the manual thoroughly before diving into installation.
Not only does the Reeven Six Eyes II come wrapped in plastic inside the box, as one would expect, but we also see that the box is completely lined with a layer of dense foam to protect it during transit. The rest of the kit is just set in on top and next to the controller, but it all arrived in terrific condition for our testing.
Reeven Six Eyes II Fan Controller
Reeven Six Eyes Fan Controller
Fresh out of the box, we get our first look at the face of the Six Eyes II. The top and bottom edges are angled back from the full extent of the front panel, and offer a place for the Reeven name at the top. On either side, there are three knobs marked in Roman numerals, while across the center are the two rows of three LCD screens.
Along with the face of the Six Eyes II, both sides and the bottom support section are made of black plastic, and all sections not seen are left smooth. On either side of the controller there are a pair of holes like these that will work with any tool-free clips, and will align with screw holes in bay racks as well.
If you are not familiar with the layout of the original, the major change seen here will be less impressive. For those that are familiar, it is easy to see that the power delivery system has been considerably beefed up, and the PCB layout has changed almost everywhere except for the layout of plugs, sensor ports, and switches across the back edge.
Instead of having huge passive heat sinks on power FETs, this time around, we see the main delivery runs through the FETs at the back, through what I assume are chokes, and then it runs through the chemical capacitors in the front row before it is distributed to the six channels of this controller.
As we move in very close to the right end of the last image, we find the onboard controls. The three-pin jumper on the left changes the display between Fahrenheit and Celsius by moving the jumper. The red switches on the left are to control the various settings of the thermal alarm, and the one to the right changes the display LEDs. The two pins to the right allow the alarm buzzer behind it to be disabled by removing the jumper.
Accessories and Documentation
As for the rest of the kit, Reeven does very well in this department too. On the left is a bundle of braided fan leads. One end is three-pin to connect to the fan controller, the other end is marked one through six, and offers a four-pin end to accommodate any fan, and each of them are twenty-eight inches long. At the right are temperature probes; again, all six are marked, but these are twenty-nine inches in length. As for the Molex to four-pin power lead, it is braided like the rest, but is twenty-three inches in length.
We were also sent a sheet that unfolds to allow the removal of the six yellow stickers. These are to be used once the plastic sleeve is removed from the thermal probes, and stick the copper probe right to whatever device you want to keep tabs on. There are also four screws sent along to securely mount this controller if the chassis does not offer a tool-free option.
For just one sheet that folds out to help you along, Reeven packs a ton of information into a small place here. Starting out, the controller's front panel is explained, so you can figure out how to use it. The sheet then shows the controller PCB, and labels all of the connections to ease the wiring. The right side shows the fans and probes being connected, but more important to most users is the lower section on the switches.
Here we can see all of the switch position settings for the alarm. There are eight levels of settings to be used that range from 55 degrees to 90 degrees, in five degree increments.
As for the second set of dip switches, as you can see, they change the display LEDs. There is the option to turn the lights off, or set them to red, green, apple green, blue, purple, light blue, and white, simply by changing the positions.
Installation and Finished Product
With all of the basics now under our belt, we went ahead and set things up for testing. Digging through the fan pile, we went with a random assortment from various manufacturers for testing. At this point, we are all wired up to the fans as well as the PSU, so let's power this thing up.
For testing, we installed a pair of thermal probes, which are currently displaying ambient temps of the photo booth. As for the six fans, the controller ships with all six dials set to the lowest position, which is why currently it displays "OFF."
To gain control of any channel on the Six Eyes II, simply push the dial in, and you will hear a click, then just release the dial. It will slowly pop out of the controller's face, and allow you to spin the dial to the right, adding voltage to the fans at whatever level you wish.
We find that even with the channel currently in the "OFF" setting, each of the channels still was producing one volt through each channel. For our picks on fans, it was nowhere near enough to even attempt to spin any of them.
With resistance of the device factored in, and getting the power reading at the end of the included fan leads where each fan plugged in, this is the average across all six channels. Some were slightly lower, some slightly higher, but we are speaking of 0.03V difference in fluctuation.
At this point, we popped all the dials and got the fans spinning, some at full speed, some much less. The idea here is to show that each channel is reading the individual RPM on their channels, and can allow for individual fans on each channel, or groups of fans on each channel, to be dialed into the best performance.
With the functional bits out of the way, we feel it is high time we play around with the LEDs. Of course, like we mentioned previously, there are seven total color choices, but we simplified it and picked our favourite three; one of which is this deep blue. The light blue looks nice as well, and to be honest, even the white is more of a pale blue color as well.
We also dug the apple green offered in the Six Eyes II. The deep green is nice, but this apple green is just one of those colors you won't see on many other products, and will definitely set your chassis apart from the rest just with this option alone.
The last of our favorites was red. It is simple, easy to read, and even in the dark, it makes reading and seeing things at a glance much easier than some of the brighter color choices.
What was it that we liked about the Six Eyes II that makes it stand out to us? Well, almost everything to be honest. From the basic levels of using the right components to handle the job, and allowing 30W per channel of fan controlling ability, it is a great start. To put that into perspective, most average fans draw, let's say, 3W a piece, so that is ten fans per channel. So essentially, if there was room for all of them in a chassis, this is specified to be able to run something like sixty fans at one time.
Then we have all the other features that hooked us. The fact that the dials don't stick out all the time is a huge win. Having the option to change the LEDs, or disable them and leave the controller blank, is an excellent option as well. With the thermal alarm options, even with the LEDs off and no view of the status, it is nice to know an annoying buzzer will go off to let you know something isn't quite right. What we really liked seeing in this design was that all of the included wiring was not only very long and capable of getting anywhere in a chassis as cleanly as possible, but it is also braided in black to help it all blend into the chassis.
As for constructive criticisms of the Six Eyes II fan controller, there are a few things we would like to say, but these are in no way detrimental to the use, or a fault in any way really. When installing this into a chassis, it slides right in and mounts easily, but in order to make this universally installable into any chassis, its dimensions are slightly smaller than the bays we tested in. This means that if the inside of the chassis is illuminated, you will see a ring of light around the controller as it sits in the bay. The second thing, and we completely understand implementing it in other ways would have greatly changed the look and overall design of this fan controller, is once the controller is in the chassis, we hope it is set the way you like it. By this we mean that accessing the dip switches inside of the chassis will tend to make you not want to change things often, or at all once it is mounted in the chassis.
With all the plusses and the few minuses that we discussed, we still feel Reeven has one serious contender in this Six Eyes II fan controller that delivers 30W per channel. Even with the elevated pricing we found at Frozen CPU once shipping gets included, we still feel there is serious value at the $60 price range. With a controller that does not pass the front panel of the chassis, yet still offers the finite control associated with dial fan controllers, we like what Reeven has put together.
To be blunt: most users will never take the Six Eyes II to its full power capacity; even with fans that use twice the wattage, you would be hard pressed to even find room for thirty fans in any given chassis, or anything you plan to cool. But it is nice having all the options you could want in a fan controller, with the peace of mind of having a thermal alarm to warn of impending doom and gloom, and knowing it will handle anything you can throw at it, even with plans to add more fans later on. So, even though this is a pricier bay-style fan controller, we feel it is well worth the investment to have this much power, control, and options in one 5.25 inch bay.
|Quality including Design and Build||98%|
|Bundle and Packaging||97%|
|Value for Money||92%|
The Bottom Line: Reeven continues to impress with their products as the Six Eyes II fan controller passes with flying colors! Tons of power, plenty of options, and even an alarm to play nanny for the PC the Six Eyes II jumps right into our top five favorite fan controllers of all time.
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