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NZXT Sentry LX SEN-001LX Digital Fan Controller E-mail
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Written by Tim White - Edited by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
NZXT Sentry LX SEN-001LX Digital Fan Controller
Closer Look: Sentry LX
SEN-001LX Detailed Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

SEN-001LX Detailed Features

This section will focus on the details of the Sentry LX fan control unit. Firstly we see the beautiful finish. The finish is horizontally brushed aluminum. The perimeter of the Sentry LX LCD is diamond cut to an almost chrome finish. Very nice accent against the dark black finish. This black anodizing is very black by the way. I've seen many different degrees of black on anodized aluminum from a purplish black to dark black. NZXT definitely has their anodizing down, this is a nice dark definite black.

sentrylx_finish.jpg

The finish is well done and will compliment almost any black case regardless of the material used on the case. Below are the controls for the NZXT Sentry LX. From the top down is the up/down (increase/decrease) adjustment buttons. You will use these to set your time, day, alarm on/off and fan speeds. The up arrow key when held will switch the unit between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Below these is the set button. This is used to scroll through your temperature probes and set each probes "alarm" temp; default is 70c. You can set each of your five probes alarm temps individually. When temps get too high, the Sentry LX gives you an audible warning. Next is the mode button. This will switch the Sentry LX between auto mode and manual mode. Auto mode will control your fans according to system temps. NZXT does not mention anything more on that subject... Manual mode allows you to individually adjust each of your five fans to your liking.

sentrylx_controls.jpg

The fan select button is used while in manual mode. This switches between each of the five fan controls and will allow you to set each fans speeds individually. When used I've found my fans to respond almost immediately to input from the unit. This will show the actual fan speed in a digital format and the LCD shows an animated spinning fan which spins faster or slower depending on actual speeds. The last button is simple, it resets the unit to factory defaults. Now I do believe this is a necessary function, however I do think they could have been a bit smarter with their application of this feature. Say a flush small circular button that needs to be pressed with a pencil tip or something? This button is the same as all the others and very easily mistakenly pressed or bumped by accident. It could get frustrating if you spend your time setting this unit up perfectly to your liking and then move your case and bump the button... poof all that work is gone. Something NZXT needs to think about if they ever revise this or move to a Sentry LX II maybe.

sentrylx_fan_power_connections.jpg

Here are all the fan connections and the main power connector. Now remember earlier when I mentioned there is one more thing I could ask for? This is it. The Sentry LX only has connections for 3 pin fans. No adapters are included for the standard 4 pin molex fans. I can understand their thinking to a degree, they want three pin fans to be used so the Sentry LX can tell you the actual RPMs on the LCD display, however they make no mention of the need for 3 pin fans anywhere except in their instruction manual. If you are reading the manual you've already bought the controller and if you have 4 pin fans, you are now stuck. The inclusion of adapters would be nice. It would also be nice to know prior to purchase that this controller only supports 3 pin fans. After all, this controller would certainly control two wire (4 pin molex) fans just fine but would lack the ability to display the speeds on the LCD. I do want to mention that NZXT has fixed this issue with their newest fan controller the Sentry 2 (which I am reviewing now so look for it very soon) with integrated 3 pin/4 pin plugs. It has both ends much like a fan with both types of connectors wired together. Kudos for NZXT but that doesn't help Sentry LX owners...

sentrylx_sensors.jpg

Here are your five temperature probes. They are protected in a plastic film just like electronics ribbon cables. NZXT recommends taping these probes close to their corresponding fans. This isn't bad advice but in the case of a CPU cooler such as the Xigmatech s1283 or the Thermalright TRU where the fan is raised quite a distance away from the CPU (heat source) you'll be better served by placing the probe as close to the actual CPU as you can. Another example might be a harddrive. It would be better to put the probe on the hottest part rather than close to the fan. Putting the probe too close to the fan may give inaccurate and lower temps than actual resulting in lower fan speeds and hotter hardware. This would be especially true in Auto Mode.

sentrylx_installed.jpg

Here is the Sentry LX installed and running in my Lian Li PC7B Plus II case. It fits perfectly and is every bit as dark as the Lian Li case. It may not appear so in this picture but I assure you it is. If you own a black aluminum case you know depending on the grain of the brushed aluminum it reflects light differently on different panels. The Sentry LX doesn't look out of place or too over the top in my conservative Lian Li mid tower.




 

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