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Scythe, known for their cooling products and accessories such as heatsinks, fans, and fan controllers, has recently added a new fan controller to their products. The fan controller featured today is the Kaze Master II, the successor to the original Kaze Master. Let’s see what Scythe has to offer with their newest addition to their fan controller line-up.
Specifications & Features
(Courtesy of Scythe)
|Scythe Kaze Master II Specifications|
|Model Name||Kaze Master II|
|Model Number||KM05-BK (Black)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||148.5 x 42.5 x 63 mm | 5.72 x 1.67 x 2.48 in|
|Display Dimensions (W x H)||114 x 20 mm | 4.49 x 0.79 in|
|Length of Control Knobs||Retractable|
|DC Input||5 V or 12 V (From PC power supply unit)|
|DC Output||3.7-12 V (±10%)|
|Number of Fan Channels||4 (12 W max per channel)|
|Fan Speed Range||0-9990 RPM (Displays in 30 RPM increments)|
|Number of Temp Channels||4 (0-100 °C | 32-199.9 °F)|
|Weight||215 g | 7.58 oz|
|Accessories||6x Temp Sensor, 4x Fan Cables, Power Cable, 4x Screws, Manual|
- Size & Retractable Knobs – The Kaze Master is designed to be installed into a 5.25″ bay. As sticking-out control knobs would interfere with front panels of computer cases (not being able to close them), the Kaze Master II is equipped with retractable control knobs to make the usage with such models possible.
- LCD Display – The LCD-display lets the user check both fan rotations and the temperature. It is further possible to choose between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
- Spin Up Voltage – The adjustable voltage range is between 3.7 to 12 volts. But as fans tend to have problems to “get going” in the lower ranges, this function ensures a 12 volt supply right from the start before settling down to the user’s set, desired voltage.
- Heat Alarm Function – The Kaze Master II offers a wide range of adjustable temperature settings for the alarm to sound. The user can choose between 55 – 90 °C (131 – 194 °F) in steps of 5 °C (41 °F).
- Power Feed Control – In case the Kaze Master II detects no fan movement for 15 seconds, for safety reasons the power supply will be cut automatically.
Packaging & Accessories
The Kaze Master II box is very informative and showcases the fan controller and its features well. The front of the box shows a picture of the Kaze Master II and lists four new features at the bottom. The back side shows an image of the back of the Kaze Master II with close-ups of the heatsink and dip switches. There’s also “outside of Japan” warranty information and warning info listed on the back. The sides list the specifications and the included accessories.
The controller itself and accessories are protected by foam with the controller being isolated from the accessories to prevent any scratches to the unit. The included accessories are: the poster-like manual, Molex power cable, four fan cable extensions, six temperature sensors, and screws for installation. Interestingly, there are six temperature sensors included even though the Kaze Master II is only a four channel controller. It’s always nice to have extras in case one quits working or gets lost.
The Kaze Master II
After removing the Kaze Master II from the plastic bag and peeling off the protective layer on the front face, the sleekness of the Kaze Master II is apparent from its perfectly flat and glossy finish. One of my favorite features of the Kaze Master II is the retractable knobs. The retractable knobs serve a couple purposes, one is to allow the Kaze Master II to be used with cases that have front panel doors. Cases with front panel doors have always annoyed me because I couldn’t use typical “knobbed” fan controllers with them, but Scythe has found a solution to that problem with this implementation. The other upside to retractable knobs is that you can set the fan speed you want, then retract the knobs so they can’t be turned accidentally.
Turning the Kaze Master II around, we can see the alarm speaker, dip switches, temperature sensor connectors, power connector, and fan connectors.
Installation is standard as far as 5.25″ bay device go. Removing a spare bay cover and side panels from the case, slide the controller into place, and mount it with the four included screws. Pretty simple. In my opinion, the Kaze Master II looks really nice, especially when the knobs are retracted and the entire controller is flush with the front of the case.
Testing & Functionality
- Scythe Kaze Master II
- SeaSonic SS-250SU (jumped with a wire for stand-alone operation)
- 7x Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15
- 1x San Ace 109R1212H101
- 9-way Fan Splitter
- Fluke 115 True RMS Multimeter
- Fluke 52 II Thermometer
Display & Alarm
The display is very clear and easy to read. There aren’t any options for different colors like other fan controllers out there. The fan RPMs are displayed in 30 RPM increments, and the temperatures are measured to a tenth of a degree. The temperature sensors are pretty accurate compared to my Fluke 52 II with a K-type probe, the difference is under 1 °C between the two.
Typically, when checking viewing angles, the LCD screen is the limiting factor. However, with the Kaze Master II, the screen sitting back away from the front surface is what limits it. The LCD screen itself doesn’t change at different angles, but the screen is unreadable at extreme angles because the screen sits back away from the front surface and the frame block the view of the screen. You can tell in the pictures below that the top half of the RPM reading is cut off by the top part of the front frame.
The alarm works well and as advertised, sounding whenever a channel is reading 0 RPM or it has reached the set temperature. The beeping is quite loud, so it should definitely get your attention if you’re in the same house as the controller. Setting the alarm is pretty simple due to the use of dip switches. The first three switches control the temperature at which the alarm will sound, the fourth switch controls the temperature units, and the fifth switch turns the alarm on and off. Below is an excerpt from the manual on setting the dip switches.
Channel Load -vs- Voltage
The following chart shows the voltage drop as the channel load increases. The green line is just a reference for the 12 V rail when the PSU has nothing plugged into it, which is 12.30 V. The red line line shows how the input voltage (12 V rail) changes as the fan controller is loaded. The blue line shows how the output voltage to the fans changes as more fans are added to the channel. So what we want to look at is the difference between the input voltage (red) and the output voltage (blue). The voltage drop varies from 0.07 V to 0.91 V as the channel’s load varies from 0.996 W to 12.216 W.
Here’s the hard data used to make the chart above, plus a couple more metrics calculated from the recorded data. If we look at the voltage drop as a percentage, we have 0.57-7.52% voltage loss depending on channel load. I also listed the voltage drop per 1 W of channel load for each increment and it averages out to be 0.066 V lost per Watt of load on the channel. Also, this voltage drop is within Scythe’s rating of 12 V ± 10% (10.8-13.2 V).
Scythe’s Kaze Master II is a very sleek and capable fan controller. It can control up to 48 W of fans across four channels (12 W per channel), which should be enough power for the majority of users. The alarm is a great feature to let you know something is wrong in case temperatures get too high or the RPM reading reaches zero(0) for some reason. The “Spin Up” voltage starts fans that require more voltage to start than to run, in the situation where there are high-powered fans turned down below starting voltage during operation. The dip switches makes it very easy to set the display and set the alarm, much better than the jumpers used on the original Kaze Master. My favorite feature of the Kaze Master II is its retractable knobs; I can’t count how many times I’ve been annoyed that cases with front doors and fan controllers with knobs are incompatible with each other if I want to retain use of the case door. As far as I know, it’s the only knobbed fan controller suitable for people with a door that covers the 5.25″ bays on their case.
The downside to the Kaze Master II is that it can have quite a bit of voltage drop under load up to a maximum of 7.52% of the input voltage, that’s almost a 1 V drop. So, if you are maxing out your channels with fans and plan to run them at full speed, then expect to be running your fans closer to 11 V than 12 V. Remember, this voltage drop is within Scythe’s rating, so the controller is performing as advertised. This drop in voltage isn’t a “deal breaker” for me, since, realistically, I won’t be maxing out all four channels at once, and most other users won’t be either. Rather than putting all fans on a single channel to max it out, the fans can be spread across the four channels to reduce to voltage drop. So, the 7.52% voltage drop is a worst-case scenario.
A quick search shows that the Kaze Master II can be had for around $50 ± $2 ($52.99 @ newegg.com), a little more than I expected for a controller with 12 W channels. However, the controller does have some nice features and looks great, which could justify the price.
Overall, the Kaze Master II is a good fan controller from Scythe and a definite step up from the original Kaze Master. I think the Kaze Master II could be a little better in the channel rating and voltage drop department for the price, but it performs as advertised and works well at what it’s meant to do, control fans.
– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)