The first touch screen fan controller?
Today I’ll be looking at the NZXT Sentry 2, the inexpensive younger brother of the Sentry LX I previously reviewed. The Sentry 2 fits in a single 5.25” drive bay and features a color touch screen to handle user interface.
The box is positively miniscule, being only slightly bigger than your average 5.25” bay blank. It exhibits NZXT’s excellent packaging design as well.
The back of the box gives the feature run down in four languages, English, French, German, and Spanish (I’m fairly sure).
The feature list consists of the following:
- Touch screen interface
- Five fan control through an intuitive interface
- Ultra fast selection and response time
- Display temperatures in both F and C
- Light switch turns off the meter when sleeping
- Automatic and manual modes of control
- Full compatibility with all types of fans using voltage control
- With a minimum of at least 10 Watts per channel, the Sentry 2 will support almost all high end fans
- Tuned accuracy with only a tolerance of one degree
- Sound alarm to alert when the temperature is over
- Stored settings, the Sentry keeps your settings even after power off
Cracking open the box we have the Sentry 2, a bag of accessories and the manual.
Did I say Manual? I meant Install Guide. Unfortunately to figure out some of the controls on the Sentry 2 I had to head over to NZXT’s website and download the Manual. Not a huge blunder, but it would have been nice to have the controls listed in the Install Guide.
The bag of accessories includes mounting screws, orange sticker things for mounting the thermal probes, a pair of spare thermal probes, and a single black cable tie. I’m not sure why they only threw in one (a bundle of five or ten would have been better).
The Sentry 2’s touch screen comes protected with plastic film. The body of the fan controller is made of a type of plastic that is similar to the type used on the NZXT Cryo LX laptop cooler. It’s very solid and doesn’t feel “cheap” in the slightest.
The fan and temperature leads mount to the back of the PCB.
The probes are protected by plastic sleeves to prevent damage during shipping.
Unlike the Sentry LX, the Sentry 2 includes 3-pin fan and 4-pin MOLEX connectors for hooking up fans. So instead of controlling the fans in terms of RPM’s, on the Sentry 2 you control them in terms of power delivered.
Not much can be said about the PCB, as it’s fairly plain. The one distinguishable feature is the alarm speaker in the upper right-hand corner.
While the frame is all plastic, NZXT made the threaded holes out of brass. Brass is also used in motherboard standoffs offering low friction and good strength.
In order to install the Sentry 2, the Sentry LX would have to come out.
As you can see the display on the Sentry 2 is quite legible, even from a distance.
The display is very bright and well laid out.
The Sentry 2 is a neat little product. The idea of using a touch screen was great and the implementation is excellent. Not only is the Sentry 2 bright and easy to read, but control is very responsive and each press on the screen emits an audible beep to confirm that your input is recognized.
I like that NZXT thought to include 4-pin MOLEX connections for the fans as well, but I wish they had made them modular somehow to help combat cable clutter. It’s also nice that you can turn the display off, should you be sleeping in the same room and want to keep your computer on. Finally the best part about the Sentry 2 is that it costs about as much as a normal non-touchscreen fan controller. At the time of writing, the Sentry 2 can be had on Newegg for $35 US, a very reasonable price indeed.
- Responsive and well implemented touch-screen interface
- 3-pin and 4-pin fan hookups
- Solid build quality
- Ability to turn the display off if you happen to be sleeping in the same room)
- Support for high performance fans (>10 watts per channel according to NZXT)
- Good price at $35 US
- 3-pin + MOLEX fan leads add cable clutter
- Controls not listed in Install Guide
- Would be nice if it included a few more cable ties
The Sentry 2 is an excellent low-cost fan controller laden with unique features. If you’re looking for a high-quality fan controller, this one should be at the top of your list.