NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller

NZXT Releases External Touch-Screen Fan Controller

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Who said all fan controllers are created equal? Certainly not Overclockers.com, in fact just in the past six months, we looked at several different fan controllers, analyzing performance and design. After investigating the offerings from several top manufacturers, including Lamptron (FC-2 and FC-3, FC-5), Scythe and even an older NZXT model, clearly the new NZXT Sentry LXE is by far the best-looking fan controller out there.

NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller

NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller

This controller distinguishes itself from the competition with its dashing good looks, but also with its unique configuration. No 5.25″ bay necessary, the controller is external and connects to a faux PCI card:

PCI Card Interface

PCI Card Interface

PCI Interface Connector

PCI Interface Connector

Fan Controller Connector

Fan Controller Connector

Back of Fan Controller

Back of Fan Controller

Let’s take a peak at what else it has to offer (Courtesy: NZXT press release):

  • Intuitive Touch Screen LCD – Advanced, touch screen LCD displays temperatures in C/F, RPMs, along with the date, time, and day of the week.  Users have the ability to switch the display off for complete darkness for more immersive gaming sessions
  • Complete Control – 5 Temperature probes keep tabs on thermals throughout the case while the 5 Fan controllers adjust the fans’ RPM speed. Allows users to automatically adjust the fan speeds to correspond to a specific temperature, manually customize for extreme overclocking capabilities, or set to absolute silence
  • Temperature Alarm – Instant notification if temperatures rise above a designated point
  • Sleek Design – Brushed aluminum frame provides sleek aesthetics for any desktop environment.  Simply set the fan controller atop your PC or desktop and connect through PCI card interface

While its certainly pretty, the wattage per channel is something worth noting – you won’t be able to control the number of fans with this you’d be able to control with other items like those we’ve looked at from Lamptron. With 5 channels claiming a maximum of 10 watts each, this controller is targeted at people interested in powering medium performance fans independently. Those looking to power 2 medium performance fans off a single channel on this controller would likely be exceeding the controllers ratings. If you have a high performance fan, like a delta which pulls greater than .8Amps (.8Amps x12Volts =9.6 Watts), you may exceed the 10W per channel this controller is rated for and a different model may suit your needs better. (Math and analysis courtesy of I.M.O.G.)

Not sure exactly how these controllers will stack up against high-powered fans just yet, but the retro futuristic styling is certainly easy on the eyes. NZXT has said the Sentry LXE Fan Controllers will hit the shelves within the next two weeks. It is likely Newegg will be the first to offer this product. MSRP has been set at $59.99, quite reasonable for such a pretty package.

For more information, NZXT released a video preview.

mdcomp

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Discussion
  1. Jolly-Swagman
    Very Nice Review and a very nice looking NZXT Sentry LXE controller

    Honestly dude when I saw it I thought it was one of your mods!
    :D
    Matt
    That PCI mount fan method reminds me of the discontinued Sunbeam theta PCI fan controller product. I'm curious how people will handle cable management with this thing installed.
    Ilden brought up a good point, someone should test for pulsing sounds. If I remember correctly the NZXT sentry 2 is out for a year and still has the problem to this day.
    IKIKUINTHENUTZ
    Ilden brought up a good point, someone should test for pulsing sounds. If I remember correctly the NZXT sentry 2 is out for a year and still has the problem to this day.

    One of the lamptron controllers we reviewed had a humming/noise issue at first look also, but when we contacted lamptron about it they informed us we were sent an old revision and they promptly sent out a newer revision - current lamptron revisions don't have the problem.
    IMOG, that's troubling though. For all we know, they cherrypicked a good one for you for the review. It's far too convenient to use the "old revision" excuse. Even if not, just the fact they knew they were sending one out for a reviewer breaks the firewall between reviewer and reviewee.
    I'd rather see something reviewed that was purchased through standard supply chains, then reimbursed by the manufacturer, so that it's a better indicator of what's out there for the rest of us.
    *edit* On the other hand, it's nice to get that level of interaction with the engineers. So I guess I'm mixed on it. */edit*
    Hello Guys,
    The Sentry LXE is indeed based upon the Sentry LX layout, however the noises were due to the PWN circuit design on the Sentry 2 ( we are not using the same layout on the Sentry LXE ), we've tested the LXE with the problem fans like the Coolermaster R4 and have had no problems so far. Anyway, I'm sure overclockers will test the Sentry LXE unit extensively once they get it for review. As for the Sentry 2, we are still working on changing the circuitry to eliminate noise, and hopefully increase the wattage levels. Thank you.
    Johnny Hou
    Founder & Product Manager
    We essentially went through the same technical support routine anyone else would go through - so it was also insight into how they deal with problems, and what they do to correct them. Looking around, the results we experienced with the FC-3 and FC-5 were consistent with what other people have observed.
    Yet, your suggested arrangement would be ideal in some ways I think Paul - working with technical support/engineering would still be just as viable of an option whether we were reimbursed or provided the product first hand. That side of things is just as important a part of the overall picture as the product itself - Lamptron was excellent in their support and responsiveness, overall just being a pleasure to coordinate with (others have not been so excellent, and we don't have much to say about it, and further coordination is pursued less vigorously). The service and communication experience fit well with their fan controllers, offering a whopping 30W per channel if memory serves me right which compares very favorably to a lot of other options. They want to engineer things right, they want to provide good service, and they want to give people products they are happy with - everything adds up without making you stop and wonder "are these guys up to something?"
    Its been my experience however that in this industry margins are commonly very low, and along with that so are the budgets - most contacts we've worked with readily promote the availability of product samples when something is new, however when they are gone they are gone. Its not an unlimited supply, and its not a flexible sort of thing where they just grab more if they need to give more away - there is an amount that is selected up front for review samples and that is what is budgeted for marketing reasons. I'm not sure how reimbursement would work out, or if many manufacturers are prepared to handle things in such a structure - if they are, they certainly don't advertise the option when working with them. I know some sites address this by just going to buy things on their own, because they have the advertising infrastructure and budget to support it.
    In the end, our reviewers are part of this community like everyone else - it would be hard for a manufacturer to send us cherry units and get away with it. If we don't have any problems with our equipment, but people in the community are reporting problems left and right - we're going to catch wind of it and talk about what is going on. More than that even, binning hardware or special engineering premium samples are both very shady and cost/time intensive processes. I won't say it doesn't happen at all - Manufacturers are actively doing this for live competitions and at hwbot.org (for top benchmarkers), but for every day reviews where a dozen samples are set aside to be given away to review sites... It just isn't a relevant concern for your average hardware review sample.
    EDIT: Thanks for the product insight Johnny, nice you of you to stop by.
    Thanks, Matt. It's interesting to see that side of the equation. My big fear (and one that has been borne out in plenty of other cases in the past) is what happens when reviewers and manufacturers get too cozy. Even when it's not intended by the reviewers, it could happen all too easily if there isn't a firewall of sorts.
    I trust our editors to be able to manage the relationships to avoid this, but I think it's worth keeping somewhere in our thoughts when making these contacts. Close working relationships are good and beneficial for everyone (good feedback for engineering, faster response to problems, etc.), so long as nobody abuses the relationships.
    Keep up the great work! -- Paul
    NZXT_Dood
    Hello Guys,
    The Sentry LXE is indeed based upon the Sentry LX layout, however the noises were due to the PWN circuit design on the Sentry 2 ( we are not using the same layout on the Sentry LXE ), we've tested the LXE with the problem fans like the Coolermaster R4 and have had no problems so far. Anyway, I'm sure overclockers will test the Sentry LXE unit extensively once they get it for review. As for the Sentry 2, we are still working on changing the circuitry to eliminate noise, and hopefully increase the wattage levels. Thank you.
    Johnny Hou
    Founder & Product Manager

    Always great to have actual manufacturer interaction. And top-level even. Thanks Johnny.
    Cool looking unit. I like the external concept in general. I'm using a Sunbeam Rheobus Extreme @ 30W per channel on my modest rig, and I have it mounted external too. It just sits on the table next to the machine. I just think the access is more convenient to me for the way i have my machine sitting etc. I plan to make a little case for it, right now its kinda funky looking and exposed. But I'll clean it up.
    Tom