Everybody has a minimum of one or two fans in their system. What if you have a high performance rig though? You?re going to have a few more fans right? Well sure, if you don?t want to burn up that expensive computer of yours! If you?re a modder and you have a high performance computer then you?re going to look for a way to push the envelope of performance a bit further. A Rheobus is a good way to hook up fans and control their speed; in essence this controls their noise output. So you don?t get a headache from your four high performance fans when your just doing some word processing for that big long English paper you have due the next day. Of course when you want to do some high-end gaming you can crank it up and get in your headphones and just game away without risking the effects of high temperatures, this shortens the life of your computer system and over time causes serious damage to your components. Keep in mind, this isn?t something you?re going to need for any system like a Dell, most systems containing any controlling or monitoring devices were probably home built or built with the gamers, modders, and overclocking community on their mind.
The unit we have here today can control four fans via four three-pinned connections. They are controlled not by the switches you see all too often but by knobs that are internally lighted, three different colors. Those colors are blue, red, and orange/yellow. The blue means that the fans are in an acceptable zone to provide ample cooling, the orange/yellow means that the fans are on a medium speed and the red means they are just getting enough juice to spin. This would be useful if you just hit the good old standby button on your computer or something. The blue fan has a good bit of play in the knobs so there are a ton of RPM settings that are acceptable in the blue. Now keep in mind you?re not really setting the RPM?s of the fan, your setting the voltage being put to the fan. This shortens the life of your fans, but since you can buy a good case fan for 1.99 at some places I wouldn?t really worry about it ? us modders tend to get new setups frequently anyways right?!
The front of the unit disappointed me; it was so raw, it was unattractive. It was pretty much just a sheet of half polished metal with some writing and a really half-assed design on it in blue ink. The writing consists of Fan1, Fan2, Fan3, Fan4, and the voltages printed beside each knob. The look of the front is not exactly exciting to the modder who strives for perfection. The knobs are the front are a little on the fragile side, they just seem like if you squeeze them they?re going to shatter! Some of them aren?t mounted to well too so when you turn them they click and lock up in some places. My first and fourth knobs wouldn?t even turn the whole way to their lowest and highest positions. This can be very bad if you have your CPU fan hooked up to them, and most people do like to keep their CPU fan on either the first or last so they know exactly where it is and how to get to it fast (you know in case you start playing without turning up your cooling). The lights worked quite well though I noticed, the blue, red, and orange/yellow LEDs are all bright and positioned well. They achieved this effect by not using color changing LEDs but actually inserting three different light sources. This let?s all of the colors be as bright as they can be, and you get a cool effect when you turn one to red and leave the one next to it blue, it gives you a purple colored knob! Like I said before though, the material the front is constructed out of is the exact same as the material that gets screwed into the case, it?s so unattractive. I think if they utilized a changeable faceplate not unlike Vantec?s Nexus that would take this product out of this world! I would really like to see that on one of these units!
The back of the unit is pretty bare, it?s just the board and all of the soldered resistors and of course the fan connections. No offense to the manufacturer but those solders look like if you bumped them they?d fly off. I could solder something way better than that but I don?t think that affects the quality of this product, I mean the thing still provides ample power to all of the fans and it does it?s job quite well. I did however get disappointed yet again when I noticed that there weren?t any wires in there, nothing like a three pin to three pin extension wires or anything. Now you take the normal case and you figure the dimensions and the average length of a three pinned fan?s wire. Well, you?re going to be stretching those fans to reach the controller if they do at all. I had a fan with an abnormal length wire (very long) and it still was taught across the case to get to the controller. It?s only a mid-sized case too it?s not my server tower.
In conclusion I?d say this is an average product. In terms of looks, it?s just ugly. It?s bland and plain side to side, front to back. The lighted knobs are very attractive, but the faceplate is just not colorful and active enough. Maybe if they could throw in some temperatures probes and an LCD readout that?d bring up the quality of the look. The knobs I found hard to turn, the first and fourth that is. I would recommend this product to somebody who has a case door across all of their bays, it does its job, but it?s a no-show product. It serves a purpose; its purpose is not decoration.
Upon further usage I noticed that the knobs got easier to move and had a larger range of motion, maybe it just needed broken in. It was still a tight fit in the 5 and 1/4 drive bay though; I had to literally slam it into the bay underneath my CD-RW drive. I looked on the side and there was plastic being shaved off as I pushed it in. I'd like to eventually see wires provided with the kit to extend the length of the connectors for the fans; most fans don't have enough cord to make it all the way over to the cooler, even in a mid-tower. I think this would really make the product a lot nicer and user friendly for everybody! Maybe even incorporate some Molex connections for a larger fan, like a Vantec perhaps?