NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on January 24, 2011


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

We are testing today the Sentry LXE fan controller from NZXT, which has five channels, each one with an independent thermometer and able to control one fan, manually of automatically. Check it out!

Unlike most fan controllers, the Sentry LXE is an external controller, standing on your desktop, for example, not ocupping any drive bay of your case.

Its box is simple, as you can see in Figure 1.

NZXT  Sentry LXE
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Figure 1: Box

Inside the box, you will find the external unit, the internal unit, cables, and manual, as you can see in Figure 2.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 2: Box contents

Let's take a closer look at this gadget.

The Sentry LXE

The external unit is actually a case with an LCD touchscreen, with a black anodyzed brushed aluminum front panel.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 3: Front panel

In Figure 4, you can see the side of the external unit.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 4: Side of the external unit

At the rear of the unit, you can see the connector where the cable that connects the panel to the internal unit goes.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 5: Rear side

Installation

The internal unit looks like an expansion card. It is intended to be installed on a slot of the case, but it is not connected to the motherboard. There are 11 cables connected to the board: five temperature sensors, five fan outputs, and one standard peripheral power connector that powers up the peripheral.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 6: Internal unit

In Figure 8, you can see the cable that connects the internal and external units. It is 6.8 feet (2 m) long.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 7: External cable

The NZXT Sentry LXE has five temperature sensors, each one coming protected by a plastic tube, that must be removed before installation. Each sensor must be installed on a "hot spot" that you wish to monitor, like the base of the CPU cooler (since attaching the sensor to the CPU directly is virtually impossible), GPU cooler, motherboard chipset heatsink, hard drive, etc. The product comes with double-sided tape for you to stick the sensors to the computer components.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 8: Temperature sensors

In Figure 9, you can see the fan connectors. Each output supports up to eight watts. All connectors are three-pin ones, and they aren't compatible with four-pin PWM fans.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 9: Fan outputs

Operation

In Figure 10, you can see the Sentry LXE turned on. All the five channels are shown at the same time on the screen. The screen shows, at the left, the current temperature of each sensor. At the middle, the bar graph shows the speed of the fan, and the four digits at the right show the approximate fan rpm.

NZXT Sentry LXE
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Figure 10: Turned on

The fan controller has two modes: auto and manual, switchable by touching the spot next to the power symbol. At the "auto" mode, the controller sets the fan speed according to the respective sensor temperature. At the manual mode, you can set the speed of each fan touching the number of the channel and then touching the "+" and "-" symbols at the bottom left of the screen. You can even turn off a fan.

At the bottom of the screen, the controller shows current time and date. You can turn off the screen by touching the power symbol at the left.

Another nice feature is the temperature alarm: you can set an alarm for each channel and, if the temperature rises over that value, the buzzer located at the internal unit beeps.

Even if you connect less than five fans, you can use all the thermometers. The controller also comes with two spare temperature sensors.

Main features

The NZXT Sentry LXE fan controller main features are:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The NZXT Sentry LXE fan controller is a great gadget. It draws attention at the side of your monitor, and works fine as a fan controller.

The best feature of the Sentry LXE is the five independent thermometers. If you are an overclocker or simply like to know the temperature of each "hot spot" of your computer, you will really like this product.

The external design is nice because it doesn't ocuppy drive bays of your case, unlike most fan controllers. If it were an internal model, it could use two or even three 5 ¼" bays due to its big screen.

Because of its great functionality, as thermometer and fan controller, plus its cool-looking design, the NZXT Sentry LXE fan controller receives the Hardware Secrets Silver Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/NZXT-Sentry-LXE-Fan-Controller-Review/1179


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