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  • Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool


    NZXT Sentry-2 5.25" Touch Screen fan controller


    I've been playing a ton of BadCompany 2 lately, and let me tell you that game is a resource hog. And of course heavy resource usage means your rig is going to be putting out a lot of heat. I haven't had any problem running Project Reality and other games as my GPU only runs at about 60% or so. But the other day I look over in my 2nd monitor at my EVGA Precision app and see my GPU is maxed out at 99% and the temp is 89C. That is very bad!!

    One reason it was so hot was I had all my case fans turned down to low. When on low you can't hear them at all so it is what I run most of the time. But when you turn the fans up to high the GPU runs at about 70C. The good news is with my case (Antec p182) they made it really easy to change the fan speed, with little switches on the back of the case where you can choose Low/Med/High. See the switches in the picture below




    The problem is I started using a desk that has the computer in a little cubby of sorts so I have to pull pull the thing out some and reach all the way around back to flip the little switches. That sounds easy, till you start doing it 3-5 times a day with all the BC2 I've been playing.

    So I decided to get a fan controller. I've had my eye on the NZXT Sentry2 since I posted about it here : NZXT launches Sentry 2 fan controller

    I looked up some more recent reviews for it, and at less than $30 it was an easy sell. I ended up getting it for about $27 with free shipping. Here are a couple of good reviews that will tell you all about it:
    NZXT SENTRY 2 5.25" Touch Screen fan controller
    NZXT Sentry 2 Review

    I actually took a bunch of pictures for this writeup, but it turns out there are a ton of better ones at the reviews above, so I will move on to some installation stuff.

    First, when they say the instructions/documentation stuff sucks, they meant it. Hardly anything included. Good thing it is pretty self explanatory. You just put it in an empty slot next to your DVD drives, plug the power in, plug the fans in and you are good to go. It also has a bunch of temp sensors that you can run all around your computer to keep an eye on temps. I have a 2nd monitor where I can easily keep an eye on temps so I decided not to spend the time running the little sensors everywhere.

    I will mention I had a brain fart this morning while installing and couldn't figure out how to get the Sentry to stay in the bay. It comes with screws so you can attach it to the case like a normal DVD drive, but when I took the case sides off, I couldn't find any holes to use. Kept messing with it for over 20 mins, and even started wondering if I was going to have to attach it with paperclips or something. Then I remembered the PC case came with little slide arms so you could quickly put in and take out DVD drives. I haven't had to use them since I built the rig over 2 years ago, so had to go digging through all my boxes to find them. Attached it looks like below:



    After that, I finished installing in like 5 mins. Felt dumb for forgetting about the arms. :row__681: And it was actually a really good thing I looked in the case as a SATA wire somehow moved around and was stopping the fan in the lower PSU chamber from spinning at all, so that wasn't helping temps.

    It is pretty awesome being able to reach over and turn the fans up and down instantly. Only thing I don't like is there is no 10%-30% speed setting. It goes from 0% up to 40% in one jump, and then moves in 10% increments up to 100%.

    Once you play with the touch screen for a couple of mins, you figure everything out pretty quickly.

    So bottom line is I would recommend getting something like this to everyone if you want to keep your rig cooler and quieter. As cheap as it is, it's about the price of ordering Papa John's Pizza once. I have also decided to order some newer high end fans to quiet my PC down even further. Something like a Scythe S-FLEX.

    There are a bunch of other fan controllers on the market, including a bigger version of the Sentry 2 called the NZXT SEN-001LX Sentry LX. A lot of them have knobs, which wouldn't have worked with my case and is just one more thing to break. I also looked at Aerocool Touch 1000, which should be a good option as well.

    If anyone has any questions, let me know and I'll try and answer them.

    There are of course a ton of videos on Youtube of people playing with the controller if you want to see it in action.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=dOn-WmQyfw8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=UUnnXkFNpTI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=wSURqmEPgD0


    Weird. It won't let me embed the videos in this thread. Tried it a bunch of different ways.

    LINKS

    * *


    Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

    -Carlos A. Urbizo-


  • #2
    Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

    You know I've been using a fan controller ("analog" with knobs) since my last rig (have one for this one too). My reasons: noise control, power savings, and being able to tailor each part of my rig to a different airflow amount. Though, I've been highly tempted to get a touch-screen one like yours for only a little more than what I paid for my current Zalman ZFC-1.

    How minute of an adjustment can you make using the touch-screen interface Bam? Can you cycle you fans up and down very slow like I can with my analog controller? Or is it larger incremental jumps?

    How much did you pay for your NZXT? Are you limited to 5 fans? Does it differentiate between a CPU heatsink fan and a normal case fan?

    How wobbly is it after installing?
    (probably my biggest complaint with my Zalman...it wobbles noticiably since I can only fasten it down with 2 out of 4 possible screws)
    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
    Former 9th & 13th

    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

    TG Primer and Rules

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    • #3
      Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

      Mine is in there very solid, no wobble. But I think that would depend on your case. It has 4 screw points, but if you can only get to 2 on your case then might wobble. But I did put mine right between 2 optical drives, so it can't really move at all.

      Like I said, it was about $27 with free shipping from buy.com. Newegg has it for about that, but no free shipping right now.

      Can only control 5 fans, and I'm not sure you can denote one as being CPU. My motherboard does fine controlling my CPU fan and some motherboards don't like when you don't have a fan plugged in.

      I mentioned the adjustments in the 1st post. It is in 10% jumps, so like 50%, or 60%, or 90%, etc. But one big jump from 0% to 40%.

      LINKS

      * *


      Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

      -Carlos A. Urbizo-

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

        Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
        Mine is in there very solid, no wobble. But I think that would depend on your case. It has 4 screw points, but if you can only get to 2 on your case then might wobble. But I did put mine right between 2 optical drives, so it can't really move at all.

        Like I said, it was about $27 with free shipping from buy.com. Newegg has it for about that, but no free shipping right now.

        Can only control 5 fans, and I'm not sure you can denote one as being CPU. My motherboard does fine controlling my CPU fan and some motherboards don't like when you don't have a fan plugged in.

        I mentioned the adjustments in the 1st post. It is in 10% jumps, so like 50%, or 60%, or 90%, etc. But one big jump from 0% to 40%.
        Ah, well then looks like I'm sticking with the old tried-and-true knob fan controllers. But for $27, it sure adds some nice bling to a rig and something fancy to wow your gaming buddies. ;)

        Otherwise, your FC has better screw hole positions than my Zalman. Two of the screwholes are just covered up by the slide-in rails on my P180B. I mounted it under my two optical drivers, so the wobbling is non-existent, BUT otherwise, it wobbles like crazy if I even gently nudge the thing. The screw holes are probably a non-issue for those who don't have to mount it to mounting rails first.

        Re-read your post. The Vantec FC in my last rig has knobs and no problems with them and they get turned up and down a lot over the last 6 years. The only thing going out are two of the LEDs that light up two of the control knobs (dimmer than the other two). I'd say those knobs are more reliable than what most people would credit to.
        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
        Former 9th & 13th

        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

        TG Primer and Rules

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

          You don't have fan control through your motherboard? I have a good set of controls on my asus. It's quite nice when you get a good mobo to support all those features.

          I do like the high tech look of that control though lol


          - -

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          • #6
            Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

            I like the NZXT Sentry LX more. I like being able to see all the fan speeds and stuff at the same time. Your fan controller is definitely worth the money though.
            |TG-Irr| di1lweed1212

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            • #7
              Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

              Originally posted by di1lweed1212 View Post
              I like the NZXT Sentry LX more. I like being able to see all the fan speeds and stuff at the same time. Your fan controller is definitely worth the money though.
              I kind of agree, and was really leaning toward the LX, but considering mine does the same thing for half the price, and I just touch the screen to look through the fans, I couldn't see paying double.
              The other thing I found from reading a lot of reviews for the LX as well is that the LX doesn't have connections for 4pin plug fans (I think that was what it was). I knew the fans in my case were 4 pins, and the Sentry2 had support for that. The Sentry 2 came out later than the LX, and that was something they added.
              See review here I think:
              http://www.testfreaks.com/blog/review/nzxt-sentry-lx/
              and
              http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nzxt_sentry_lx/

              It is pretty awesome for only 50 dollars!

              LINKS

              * *


              Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

              -Carlos A. Urbizo-

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                yeah it doesn't support 4-pin, the case i was getting had 3-pin and 4-pin for the fans (nzxt tempest evo)
                |TG-Irr| di1lweed1212

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                • #9
                  Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                  Nice post, I'm thinking of installing one myself along with a new fan. The stock AMD fans get really loud.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                    I broke down today and bought some very high end Noctua fans. Should be here by the end of the week. Can't wait to see what they can do.

                    LINKS

                    * *


                    Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                    -Carlos A. Urbizo-

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                      Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
                      I broke down today and bought some very high end Noctua fans. Should be here by the end of the week. Can't wait to see what they can do.
                      Keep us posted. I've thought about trying those fans but wasn't sure about if they were worth the extra cost.



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                        Originally posted by machowner View Post
                        Keep us posted. I've thought about trying those fans but wasn't sure about if they were worth the extra cost.
                        Let you know in a week.

                        LINKS

                        * *


                        Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                        -Carlos A. Urbizo-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                          Are they the ultra quiet ones?
                          |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                          TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                          Former 9th & 13th

                          Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                          Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                          SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                          TG Primer and Rules

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                            Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
                            I broke down today and bought some very high end Noctua fans. Should be here by the end of the week. Can't wait to see what they can do.
                            I love these fans. I installed them in my case. They are super quiet even when running at high speeds. I have a noctrua cpu fan and I changed out my stock case fans for noctrua fans as well. Full rig here. If you can spare the extra $$ and want quiet fans these are definitely the way to go.
                            |TG-12th| asch
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Installing a Fan Controler to Keep Your Rig Cool

                              Kind of a bump to this thread as I'm still waiting for my fans to be delivered.
                              I was skimming my RSS feeds and found this just posted review of the fan controller I posted about above, and it is a good writeup for anyone still on the fence:

                              NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller

                              LINKS

                              * *


                              Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                              -Carlos A. Urbizo-

                              Comment

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