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CoolerMaster Musketeer-Systems Dynamic Detector LLC-U01

Page: 1/1
Manufacturer: CoolerMaster
Product Name: Musketeer-Systems Dynamic Detector LLC-U01
Review Date: 10.13.03
Reviewer: Crimson Sky

Thanks to

For Providing Us With This FINE Product to Review

They?re Everywhere.

You can?t click on a computer hardware or related website these days without seeing them. Lights, fans, CPU coolers, colored cables, controllers, and flashing LED gizmos, all geared and marketed to the case modding community, and you, the reader.

Over the past year we?ve seen manufacturers, both familiar and obscure, scramble to get these products out to us and make a buck. In that rush, we?ve seen some fairly poor quality (and a few downright dangerous) products on the virtual shelves of our favorite online stores. More recently, companies with trusted and ?modder-approved? products have begun to manufacture accessories that meet or exceed the quality that goes into their core product offering. One such company is Cooler Master. Known first for their cooling products, they now produce cases, accessories and peripherals. Let?s jump right in and take a look at their Musketeer ?Systems Dynamic Detector?.

This retro-styled 5-1/4 inch bay mounted display device came packaged in a sturdy and Earth-friendly recyclable box, and thankfully not one of those impossible-to-open-without-a-chainsaw vacuum formed plastic packages. The first impression out of the box was its weight; something I would more expect from an older CD-ROM drive. The Musketeer?s two sliders and three blue-colored analog indicators are capable of displaying and adjusting fan voltage, displaying sound pressure (audio intensity), adjusting its own sound sensitivity, and indicating temperature (via the included thermal sensor) in both Celsius and degrees Fahrenheit. From the looks of the Musketeer, available in silver or charcoal black finishes, I can see this unit at home in a variety of cases from retro-industrial styled to modern home theater PC?s.

Included in the box were all the cables necessary to connect the device to your PC. The lengths of the twisted pair and audio cables should be fine for any case, provided that you don?t install the device in the top bay of some monstrous full tower. What they did leave out was a power splitter; unless you have a spare lead from your PSU, or an available male molex connector, you?ll have to dig through your spare parts drawer and find one. Included in the Package are:
-The Musketeer
-PCI Bracket with in/out Audio Ports and single 3.5mm Stereo Cable
-Thermal Sensor Probe (Flat Style)
-3-pin to 4-pin Molex Fan Cable
-3-pin (3 wires) to 3-pin (2 wires) + 3-pin (1 wire) Fan Cable
-Dual 3.5mm Stereo Plug Audio Cable
-Screw Pack
-Multi-language Instructions


Voltage (Left) Dial Display:

DC 0 to12V

VU (middle) Dial Display:

-20 to +3dB

Temperature (right) Dial Display:

10-90 Celsius/ 50-180 Degrees Fahrenheit

Voltage Adjustment:

DC 6V to approx. 11V (IC controlled)

Sound Pressure:

-20 to +3dB (depends on input from sound card)


About the size of a CD-ROM drive, the unit itself is quite nicely built, from the chrome bezels around the three indicators to the sturdy sliders for fan speed and sound pressure. Closer inspection (and the help of a refrigerator magnet) gave reason for the Musketeer?s hefty weight?the housing is made from steel with a powder coat of aluminum-like paint. I gave the unit a good shaking, and nothing rattled inside or out. The clear plastic on the indicators had a solid feel, with no movement at all. As a modder, I couldn?t resist opening the housing and taking a peek inside.


The small screws that hold on the top of the housing were cranked pretty tightly by the factory, so if you plan on getting curious and opening the case yourself, start with a larger headed Phillips screwdriver to prevent stripping the fragile screws. I wasn?t surprised to find that the PCB inside took up a lot of real estate despite the small number of components soldered to it.

I?m assuming that Cooler Master?s thinking here was to give us a device with a size and shape that is familiar to us, when they could have easily halved the size of the Musketeer. If weight is an issue, say for a portable system for LAN gaming, I don?t see a problem with removing the lid of the housing, thus shaving off quite a few ounces of steel. I removed the three screws on a white plastic housing that holds the two sliders and acts as a light reflector for the six white LED?s mounted behind each indicator. The indicators themselves are sealed units, and swapping the LEDs out would have no effect on the indicators since they rely on a blue plastic fascia behind the needles for the color. I like the fact that you can see not only the needle, but also the actuator mechanism through the clear bezels.

After replacing the housing, it?s time to move on to installation.

The Musketeer?s retro-industrial design was perfect for my Biohazard: Toxic Case mod! So I decided to use it for a test-bed and install the Musketeer there. The unit was mounted like any other 5-1/4 inch bay device with the provided Phillips head screws. A good point in design is that the unit is about the exact length of a standard drive cage. This is great if you have a mid-tower case where longer peripherals might interfere with the motherboard, or otherwise result in bunched up wiring and cabling near RAM sticks or capacitors.

First, I had to determine which fan I wanted to control via the slider. I was a hesitant to connect an unproven voltage controller to anything critical like a CPU fan, so I chose the lighted 80mm intake fan in the Biohazard case. Next, I installed the temperature probe on the underside of the GPU heat sink on my Gainward GeForceTi 4600. I had to remove the heat sink, of course, but it was a good opportunity to get some quality Arctic Silver compound on there, and give the fan a good dusting. Not included in the packaging was the small strip of strong cellophane tape used for attaching temp probes, so I used black electrician?s tape. It?s important to use very sticky tape to secure temp probes, because just a few wiggles of the wire lead and they will slip out of the tape.


After the temp probe was plugged into the back of the unit, I installed the audio PCI bracket on the rear panel. I couldn?t resist sleeving the ugly gray audio cable with some ? black split-loom sealed on each end with shrink tubing. The cable was then jacked into the female port on the back of the Musketeer.


The supplied dual 3.5mm Stereo Plug Audio Cable was used to connect the audio out from the sound card to the Musketeer?s PCI audio bracket input for monitoring. Speaker output on the bracket was then connected to an Altec Lansing VS4121 2.1 speaker system.

Upon powering up the system, I was greeted by a pleasing blue light and very stylish look from the Musketeer?s display that fit perfectly with this particular case mod. The temperature gauge monitoring the GPU slowly began to climb, then settled around 35 Celsius. Out of curiosity, I pumped up the GeForce to a clock setting of 260 MHz and a memory clock of 518 MHz and ran 3DMark 2001 at the default settings. The temp on the indicator went up to about 48 Celsius, and stayed there throughout the benchmark. I?d say, in the absence of serious testing, that this was a fairly accurate reading of the GPU temp.

Using the voltage slider for the fan, I was only able to adjust between about 6 volts to a maximum of 10 volts. While this may be a limited range, I was able to quiet the fan down noticeably at approximately 7-8 volts. In retrospect, I?m glad I didn?t hook my CPU fan to this controller. Another reason for this was the lack of an amperage rating for the slider in the specifications. You would not want to test this on a CPU fan and find out the very hard and expensive way.


Following the instructions for the Vu meter, I was able to get a nice readout of the audio from WinAmp, and it immediately reminded me of the old Harmon Kardon and Marantz receivers that had analog meters. It?s a nice break from the digital read outs to which we?ve become accustomed. The metronomic pulsing of the needle to the beat of music was very accurate and a bit mesmerizing. A little rust paint on the Musketeer and it?s ready to live in this mod forever!

The limited range and usefulness of the Musketeer?s slider controls are dwarfed by a very well made and good-looking unit. Cooler Master could have easily cut corners in several areas, like manufacturing and packaging, to produce a similar product, but they chose to make a solid device that mod accessory manufacturers should study and follow. The only electronics gripe I have is that Cooler Master did not reveal the rated amperage of the voltage slider, adding doubt to its usefulness for control of critical cooling. If you don?t have a need for critical system control and monitoring, and want to add a very stylish and well-made device to that empty drive bay, I would highly recommend the Musketeer.

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