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