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Scythe is back. Although their products continued to come to the US and they never went away in the rest of the world; the company itself went missing from the US for a time, but now they have returned. Their US based website can be found at http://www.scytheus.com. Scythe always did have a collection of innovative and interesting products for computer enthusiasts – and always at very reasonable prices. Welcome back.
Scythe has some items new for us to look at. In this review we will look at the Kaze Master Flat II, which was announced in the middle of this year. The name “Kaze Master” is a Japanese-English bilingual name that means “Wind Master.” The Scythe Kaze Master Flat II is a 5.25” bay device that you put in the front of your case. The Kaze Master Flat II allows you to monitor four temps in Centigrade or Fahrenheit and individually control the speeds of as many fans. The Kaze Master Flat II shows you the speed of each fan in RPM. If you don’t want the letters glowing at you, you can turn them off, leaving you with a shiny black exterior – one that is…flat.
The Kaze Master Flat II comes in a standard retail box that extols its virtues in six languages.
Inside its box, the Kaze Master Flat II and its accessories are packed in a soft foam box. The flexible foam sure beats Styrofoam – it doesn’t shatter.
Scythe provides us with these specifications:
|Scythe Kaze Master Flat II Fan Controller Specifications
|Kaze Master Flat II
|148.5 x 42 x 83 mm
(5.85 x 1.65 x 0.79 inch)
|5 V and 12 V (from PC Power Supply)
|3.7 V (±10%) – 12 V (±10%)
|Max Current per Channel
|3 Ampere (36W Output)
|0 ~ 9,990 rpm
|4 (0 – 100°C / 32 – 199.9°F)
|193 g / 6.80 oz
Temperature Sensor Cable (Sleeved) x 6
The Kaze Master Flat II comes with a sheet of installation instructions, a bag of double-sided stickies, mounting screws, and two bundles of cables. The cables have knitted sleeves – they feel smooth and just plain superior to standard sleeving. You get four three-wire cables for fans, and six two-wire cables for thermometers. Note that you can only use up to four thermometers at a time.
Inspecting the Kaze Master Flat II
Here you can see one of the thermometers, and one of the fan cables plugged into the fan controller’s PCB. Note that the 3-wire fan cable has a socket that will will accept the plug from a 4-wire PWM fan. No, it does not control a fan that way – it controls all four fans with varying voltages. But a PWM fan will fit the cables.
Now we can have a top view of the Scythe Kaze Master Flat II with four thermometers and four fans attached. The controller can handle fans that draw 3 Amps each – that’s 36 Watts a piece. You’d basically have to yoke more than one fan together to draw that much current, but this controller is designed to handle it. You cannot hot plug a fan. You must power down your system to install new fans.
From the front, we can see the Scythe Kaze Master Flat II controlling four fans and presenting four temperatures. The non-LED fan on the right is a PWM fan. I played with each of the settings, running the speeds up and down. The RPM numbers you see represent actual measurements from the fans themselves, not some theoretical number. If you run them down until they slow too much to keep running you will see the VFD read “OFF.” If that happens, you will get an alarm, which can be muted. The controller is specified to go as low as 3.7 V; according to an analog multimeter, this one made it down to 4.3-4.4 V before the fan quit. Another feature is that the controller gives all the fans 12 V before settling down to their controlled settings. This allows you to set a fan at a really slow speed – so slow that it would not start up at such a low voltage.
The instruction manual has a drawing that shows you how to change channels. Each press of the Mode button brings you to a new channel, as noted. One thing Scythe does not do on any of their English-speaking websites is to provide you with an online copy of the installation instructions. It would be nice to have a PDF of the document for reference. What you see is a prettied-up scan of the paper document.
Scythe Kaze Master Flat II allows you to monitor four temperatures and adjust your fans to keep those temperatures right where you want them. It is a manual controller, so you can choose the balance between noise and temperature. It is a pretty neat piece of technology; it handles up to 3 Amps per channel, and you can turn off the display when you like. If you don’t like the flat look, Scythe also makes straight fan controllers with knobs sticking out, and controllers where you can push in the knobs so they go flat. This one is designed to be sleek and flat. And unlike its predecessor, you won’t have to flip open a cover to reach the controls; they are immediately available.
The fans are all given 12 V to start them spinning before settling down to whatever setting you give them. This saves fiddling with the controller when you start your rig. You can just start. You are given granular readouts of your system’s temperatures. You have control over four channels of fans. If you are obsessive about your temps and your fan speeds, this may be the controller for you.
Scythe Kaze Master Flat II Pros
- 3 Amps per channel
- Allows PWM fans to be controlled by voltage
- Spins the fans up with 12 V before settling them down
- Controls up to four channels of fans
- Individual readout of fan speed in RPM
- Alarm if fan stops
- Individual readout of four temperature sensors
- Overtemp alarm
- Powered by SATA — no Molex connectors needed
- Sleek, clean design
- Rapid access to controls
Scythe Kaze Master Flat II Cons
- Website can be slow to load on busy mornings
- Installation manual not available online
Ed Hume (ehume)