|NZXT Sentry Mix Fan Controller|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Accessories|
|Written by Marc Fruchtman|
|Wednesday, 31 August 2011|
Page 5 of 6
I simply don't have six 50 watt 3 pin fans floating around, and I doubt any typical user or even enthusiast has them. Instead, testing revolved around some basic tenets. If I had a fan controller I would want the controller to detect stall, or at a minimum provide enough voltage at the lowest setting to prevent fan stall. Fans that are stalled our (not rotating) can be a problem because they are still receiving current and they are not moving air. Eventually your components can over heat, which results in an early demise. Does the controller have an alarm for stall conditions? Does the controller provide a good minimum voltage and a solid maximum voltage during operation? Fans are not as susceptible to minor voltage fluctuations as other components, so only a multimeter was employed for checking voltages.
DC supply measured consistently at 12.3V.
Fan tested 12 VDC, .16 Amp, 1.9W DC Brushless
Channels 1 thru 5 consistently varied from around 9.7 to 12 volts (+/- a few tenths), while under load. The pattern was always the same, slowly rising voltage followed by slowly decreasing voltage. Honestly, I had hoped for a much more steady regulation. To rule out supply side issue I ran a check on the input side, and it was a rock steady 12.3 VDC. This cycle of up and down occurred from 3 to 5 seconds.
The first test was simply the stall test, and no voltages were measured. Each and every channel stalled out the fan at the lowest setting. During that time, I noticed that channel 6 was a bit off, in that as I was adjusting the slide, it would run the fan faster than at maximum slider position. After that, I ran the Max Load voltage and Min Load voltage tests, only to discover that channel 6 did not want to change despite the slider position. I suspect there is an issue with the potentiometer, and hopefully this won't be a recurring issue for release versions of the controller.
The NZXT Sentry Mix is a step up from the Sentry Mesh fan controller. It has 6 channels rated for 50 Watts per channel. It also includes multicolor LED channel illumination. Installation was easy.
I am concerned about a couple of issues that came up during my review. The first is that use of the 2 Molex connectors spliced together in attempt to meet the power requirements of the controller. This controller should be capable of handling 50 Watts x 6 channels, totaling 300 Watts. But, 2 Molex connectors and 16 AWG wiring on the input side, don't seem to be able to handle that much continuous power. This issue has been sent to NZXT and we await their final response.
Another issue that occurred during testing: I had expected the voltages to be relatively stable during testing. But in fact they varied significantly.
The potentiometer on channel 6 seems to have become defective during testing, resulting in a continuous maximum voltage output.