Vantec NEXUS Multi-function Panel

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A handy temp, CPU fan monitor/controller and USB/Firewire port extender – Joe

SUMMARY: A nifty Multi-function Panel with manual CPU fan rheostat.

Nexus

The good guys at Vantec were nice enough to send over a sample of their Nexus multi-function panel. The Nexus panel fits into a spare CD bay and features:

  • Three interchangeable faceplates
  • Manual CPU fan rheostat (50 to 100% of fan’s speed)
  • Temp monitoring (3 probes for CPU, case and HD) with switchable LCD Display (Centigrade only)
  • Audio alarm
  • Two USB ports and one IEEE1394 (Firewire) port

The Nexus ships with an abundance of parts:

Parts

Included are

  • Three thin, flat temp probes and tape
  • Three faceplates
  • USB and IEEE1394 (Firewire) cables
  • CPU fan cables (one to mobo, one to fan)
  • Mounting screws and allen wrench

The audio alarm sounds if the fan stops or temps exceed 65 C.

The LCD displays temps and fan rpms – note the rpm display leaves off the last digit. I checked fan rpms against a digital tach and found the LCD rpms right on. I also checked the temp probes against a digital thermometer and found them to agree within +/- one degree.

LCD

A look inside reveals the PCB and port connector blocks:

Back

A closer view of the fan controller:

Back

Setting up the Nexus panel is pretty simple – everything is well marked and self-explanatory. The temp probes are flat enough such that placing one next to the CPU’s core is not a problem.

The fan knob rotates about 270 degrees, so fine-tuning fan rpms is easily accomplished. With temps prominently displayed, manually adjusting fan speeds to balance noise and cooling is not difficult, as long as you can easily see the LCD display. I found that the fan did not respond immediately to a change – sometimes a lag of about one second or so.

When you first boot the PC, the CPU fan will spin up at full speed (this is done because some fans will not start at 50% power), then run at low speed for about ten seconds. After that, it settles into whatever setting is dialed in. I also found that the low setting was closer to 60% power.

CONCLUSIONS

Looks like an OK product for easier access to USB and Firewire ports, plus easy CPU fan control – a good-looking addition to any case, especially for the 24/7 user who can dial in low fan speeds when sleeping.

Thanks again to Vantec for sending this our way.

Email Joe

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