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NZXT Sentry LX

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Observation

NZXT Sentry LX NZXT, Sentry LX 1
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The Sentry LX makes fan monitoring easy, with an animated icon on the right side simulating a spinning fan blade. If you have a fan hooked up, and it is working, then the blades are spinning. If a fan fails, or becomes disconnected, the corresponding line of the display begins blinking, thusly alerting you visually to the failure of a fan.

To test the thermal responsiveness of the unit, I took the controller and put it on my test bench with 5 different fans attached to it. Then, to simulate thermal issues within a case, I put my fingers around a specific sensor to selectively speed up the fans. In my testing I realized that the delta on the percentage of fan speed increase is directly tied to how fast it spins in its unfettered state. In other words, if you put a higher RPM fan on the controller, the Sentry will dial it back more to keep the noise to a minimum, but will have more headroom to spin it up should the temperatures dictate it. If you put a slower RPM fan on the controller, the amount that the controller can speed up the blades is lowered by the design of the fan… and is not a limiting factor of the controller. Just a point to keep in mind when pairing up the device with a set of fans.

In almost all of the fans that I tested the simulated thermal load did spur the controller to raise the RPM levels on the corresponding fan (Temp Probe 1 corresponds to Fan 1, Temp Probe 2 to Fan 2, etc.) except on my low noise, low flow 900RPM fans. Those just kinda shrugged off the “spin faster” request like Spicoli in a gym class… (Link for all you younglings out there that don’t know the movie reference… ;)  )

 Now, an FYI that I found concerning during this test, is I had a fan hooked up that was rated at 7.2 watts, and the controller is only rated at 4 watts per channel, which seems quite low to me. The fan that I had attached was an Aerocool running 12v/.6A, and if you have higher draw fans, this may be a deal breaker for you. I would have thought that this model, for all of it’s perks, would be able to handle more wattage per channel than this. With all of the high flow fans out there, and the ability of this controller to throttle down and up the fans, I would have thought that 7-8 watts would have been the minimum. I have some Yate Loon fans that are low flow, quiet fans, and those are 3.8 watts, and you cant really speed up a low flow fan, nor can you really slow it down. So I am unclear on how much good neutering the wattage per channel to 4 watts is going to do.

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Craig Tate

Craig began modding many years ago. He has been featured in domestic and international print and web, has become a contributor to CPU Magazine, as well as participated/instructed at live modding workshops and enthusiast conventions.

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