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COMPUTER CASES

Vantec Nexus Fan Controllers
By: Visionism
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    2003-10-09

    Table of Contents:
  • Vantec Nexus Fan Controllers
  • Installation

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    Vantec Nexus Fan Controllers


    (Page 1 of 2 )

    In the quest to push our systems to the limit of their performance potential, its easy to get carried away with cooling. In my modest system I have a total of nine fans keeping everything nice and frosty. Now as much as I like having the extra cooling for running benchmarks and keeping everything stable, one thing I hate is the noise level of all those high speed motors whining away. My wife agrees with me whole-heartedly. Some compromise has to be found to keep the noise level from drowning out the TV in the next room, not to mention the sound from my speakers. Well you can't very well stick the case in a soundproof box and expect reasonable cooling so the only solution is to ditch some fans. The thing is, I happen to need all those fans (honest!) for running benchmarks and such at high overclock so we have to look for an alternative.

    Manufacturers:

    Vantec
    Product:Nexus Fan Controllers

    Price:

    $29 MSRP

    Availability:

    Now

    Reviewed By:

    Visionism

    Edited By:

    Mack (SPeeD)

    Introduction

    In the quest to push our systems to the limit of their performance potential, its easy to get carried away with cooling. In my modest system I have a total of nine fans keeping everything nice and frosty. Now as much as I like having the extra cooling for running benchmarks and keeping everything stable, one thing I hate is the noise level of all those high speed motors whining away. My wife agrees with me whole-heartedly. Some compromise has to be found to keep the noise level from drowning out the TV in the next room, not to mention the sound from my speakers. Well you can't very well stick the case in a soundproof box and expect reasonable cooling so the only solution is to ditch some fans. The thing is, I happen to need all those fans (honest!) for running benchmarks and such at high overclock so we have to look for an alternative.

     

    A couple of years back, people hit on the idea of first turning fans off with switches mounted in a drive bay. Refined a bit, the concept became controlling fan speed (and thus noise) with rheostats and the rheobus was born. There were a few problems with the early designs however. Firstly, they required a modicum of skill with drill and soldering iron to install and secondly, well, they looked horrible for the most part, hardly ideal for your sleek modded dream machine.

    Enter Vantec. In the grand tradition of taking a DIY hack job and doing it properly, Vantec release a pair of fan controllers which not only require almost no technical ability to install, but look like a million bucks compared to any DIY effort I've seen yet.


    Specifications

    Nexus Fan Controller Features:

    4 Channel Fan Controller
    Adjustable Fan Speed Knob
    Aluminum "U" Type Housing
    Blue LED Light
    Each Channel Will Support 15 to 18 Watts
    Fits In A Standard 5'25" Drive Bay.
    No Need to Cut Wires Like Other Fan Controller. Just Plug The Cable In.
    Great for Vantec Tornado or Other High CFM Fans.

    Retail Package Includes:

    Nexus fan controller
    screws
    1 pc power cable
    2 pcs 4 pin to 3 pin fan power cables
    2 pcs 3 pin to 3 pin fan power extension cables.


    First Impressions

    Having seen several home-built rheobuses in the past I think its fair to say that out of the box the Nexus Fan Controllers looked astonishingly good. Coming in a choice of black or silver, the controllers look enormously professional and very sleek. The silver is a godsend for aluminum case owners who have previously had to compromise by either enduring the horrible appearance of beige or black hardware in their cases, or repainting the faceplates to match. Not a problem here. Your expensive Lian-Li is going to be matched perfectly. Likewise, the black model matches my Chieftec so well that if it wasn't for the tastefully printed Vantec logo, you would swear it had come with the case. Overall I have to say that on the face of it they look very spiffy. Full marks for style.

     

    Turning the controller around reveals a nice surprise. The PCB shows no sign of the usual rheostat bodies. Instead, a close look reveals a microcontroller chip. None of your Frankenstein's lab stuff here. This is quality technology, folks. The variable voltage works on the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM to its friends) principle, the obvious advantage of which is that your controller is going to produce very little excess heat. Now the heat from four rheostats stepping 12 volts down to seven isn't enormous and wont affect your case temperatures, but it does have an adverse effect on component life. These controllers therefore should prove reliable over the long haul. On the whole the PCB is very clean and well laid out. That doesn't change the performance much but it speaks volumes about the care taken over the design. More on that in a moment.

     

    Connections are simple. One four pin connector for power input, four three pin connectors for fan output. One look and you know that hooking up your fans is going to be simplicity itself. Thoughtfully, Vantec include a pair of converters for your four pin case fans and a pair of three pin extension cables. No hack job and crimping headaches here, you should be up and running in no time. A power cable is also included, just in case you don't have a spare output from your power supply. Another appreciated touch. Connection wise, Vantec have pretty much covered all the bases.

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