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Review: NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller (Touch Screen)

Sid_gamer

Team Digit
Hey everyone,

Some days back (actually a long time back now) I bought the NZXT Sentry LXE Fan controller, I was searching for a good fan controller from some time and later I stumbled on to this one by NZXT. So I thought to review this particular fan controller as it's review was overdue from some time.

Firstly I have shot and included an Un-boxing video of the NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller which you can find below:





The Review:-
Introduction:-

Most of us may have experienced noise from our PC's due to the fans inside it. It happens as they are running at the highest RPM(Rotation Per Minute) even when our PC's are idle so that's where we use a Fan controller. The main purpose of a Fan controller is to control the fan speed by adjusting it's voltage in order to bring the Fan speed up or down, thereby resulting in low noise when we decrease the fan speed. So today fan controllers are available in many forms, like some include normal knobs or sliders, some include buttons, some are also touch screen. Most of the fan controllers these days are made in such a way that they fit inside the cabinet's 5.25" drive bays making them internal fan controllers or maybe they are pre-installed in some way on a cabinet itself.
But the NZXT Sentry LXE is an external Touch-Screen fan controller which is made in such a way that all it's necessary components like an internal control card, fan headers, temperature diodes etc., reside inside the cabinet but the main touch screen control stays out of the cabinet and can be placed on the computer table or on a desk.



Specifications of the NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller:

Fan Adjustment Range ----> 3.7V to 12V
Fan Channel ----> 5
Max watt per channel ----> 10W
Temperature Module Channel ----> 5
Temperature Range ----> 0 ~ 99℃ / 32 ~ 199.9℉
Measurement Frequency ----> Every 2 Seconds
Temperature Alarm Range ----> 30℃ to 90℃
(AUTO) ----> Min 50%, Under 0-25℃,fan RPM 50%
(MANUAL) ----> Min 40%
Screen Size ----> 5.27 inches



Box Contents and First Look:-

The NZXT Sentry LXE comes in a normal cardboard box with a photo of itself along with some of it's main features.

Front:
IMG_3112.jpg



Backside of a box we have a more detailed list of specifications about this fan controller.

Back:
IMG_3117.jpg


Side:
IMG_3118.jpg



Inside the box we find that everything is very neatly and protectively packed.

Opening:
IMG_3140.jpg


Packaging:
IMG_3156.jpg



Firstly the Main touch screen controller unit is kept between two pieces of styrofoam;

Main Unit:
IMG_3158.jpg



The controller card of this unit comes packed in an ESD Safe bag.

Controller Card (pic 1):
IMG_3142.jpg



Controller Card (pic 2):
IMG_3148.jpg



The box contains some more important stuff such as a user manual,2 Screws, a 3V battery, tapes for the temperature probes and some of the required set of cables.

Manual:
IMG_3141.jpg



Battery, Screws and Tape Stickers:
IMG_3155.jpg



NZXT gives us the power cable, the fan cable and the temperature cables connected to the controller card itself so you don't need to figure out where to connect them (but it's easy to connect them anyway).

Controller card and pre-connected cables:
IMG_3152.jpg



Completely Unboxed:
IMG_3163.jpg


Looking at the individual set of cables that we get with the NZXT Sentry LXE, we can see that NZXT has provided very good quality cables and most of them are labelled for ease of use.

Five fan connector cables are included with the NZXT Sentry LXE, each of which are numbered on a sticker which has a label on it stating the fan number (nice job here). Also each of these 3 pin fan cables would easily connect most of the fans available in the market.

Five flat Temperature Probes are also included with the NZXT Sentry LXE, All of these probes are labelled with the temperature probe number as well.

Temperature Probes:
IMG_3154.jpg


A Molex connector based cable has been provided to power the internal controller card and the entire Fan controller unit.
A good 7 feet long ribbon like connector cable has been included for the external touch screen unit to connect to the internal card with the use of which we can put the screen unit anywhere easily on our desk.

Interface Cable:
IMG_3146.jpg



The internal control card provided with the NZXT Sentry LXE is to be installed in one of the empty PCI Expansion slots within our computer case.
The 3V battery is to be mounted onto the control card as with the help of this battery, the fan controller unit is able to save our settings even when our computer is off. (Please note that this control card is not connected to the motherboard in any way, as it simply mounts on an empty PCI expansion slot).



The Touch Screen Unit:

The main touch screen unit of the NZXT Sentry LXE comes very neatly packed in between Styrofoam blocks and is enclosed within a Pink Plastic cover.

Styrofoam:
IMG_3158.jpg


Pink Package:
IMG_3159.jpg


Once we take this unit out of the box, we can see that this unit is well designed with an impressive finish on it. This main touch screen unit is a piece of Brushed Aluminium in black.
There is also a logo of NZXT on this unit's front part giving it a cool look.

Touch Unit:
IMG_3160-1.jpg



The bottom part of this unit comes pre-installed with two rubber strips for allowing the touch screen unit a better grip on the table or desk thus preventing it to move (A small but nice feature).
At the back of this touch screen unit of the NZXT Sentry LXE we find a port for connecting the lengthy interface cable which is connected to the control card behind our computer case.



Installing and Configuring the NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller:-

Installing the NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller is an easy task.
I installed it by starting to connect all of my fans to the fan cables provided and also applying the temperature probes to the areas whose temperatures I needed to monitor. These temperature probes are easy to apply onto the surface where we want to put them by using the small pieces of tape provided with the controller itself. You just need to make sure that the surface onto which these tapes are applied should be dust free as it will provide for a much better contact and a long lasting bond with the surface.

Then we fix the 3V battery on the control card and mount the control card of this fan controller unit on an empty PCI expansion slot. We also need to connect the Molex connector for powering the fan controller unit.
After which the ribbon-like interface cable must be connected to the back of the control card behind the Case and the Touch-Screen unit; and we're done installing the NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller.

You can also install it the other way i.e., by mounting the control card first and then connecting all the other cables such as the fan connectors and the temperature probes to their respective places but It's easier to route the cables in the case by installing the way I have done as seen below.

Installed card:
IMG_3166.jpg



Finally we can power our system on and we hear a beep sound coming out from the controller and the touch screen is lit-up.

On Desk 1:
IMG_3215.jpg


On Desk 2 (Front)...Pardon the Gloss :)
IMG_3222.jpg




Configuring the controller:

We can easily configure the fan controller by using the touch-screen as shown in the manual, although the manual isn't detailed that well but most of the information on it is enough for a hassle free configuration for example; we can touch the places on the screen which display the time and date and use the + or - parts of the screen to increase or decrease values on them.
As for the fan control configuration, we can press on the respective fan number on the screen and increase or decrease the particular fan's speed by pressing the + or - areas. By this we can let the fans run at their full speed or let them run a lesser speed or shut them down when not required.

The NZXT Sentry LXE has two modes of operation which are the Automatic mode and the Manual Mode.
We can select any one of these modes for ease of use and functioning. There is also an Alarm feature provided in this fan controller by the use of which we can set temperature threshold alarms for the particular temperature monitoring places if the temperature crosses a particular barrier.
We can use the power button on the touch screen to shut down the screen (Please note that this only shuts off the screen so the fan controlling is still done by the control card of this fan controller; A useful feature I must say).
The entire controller can be reset by pressing and holding the reset button on the touch screen which sets the controller to it's default values and Automatic mode.
Fan RPM's are accurately shown on the screen of this fan controller.
Also whenever we make any changes or touch the screen of this fan controller a beep sound arises notifying us about the said touch.



Using the NZXT Sentry LXE:

I used this fan controller on my PC which has the following configuration :

Intel Core i7 - 920 Processor,
DFI Lanparty DK-X58 T3eH6 Motherboard,
G.Skill RAM 12800-CL9T 6GB NQ i.e., 3 x 2Gb at 1600 Mhz,
Zotac GeForce GTX 260 Amp ! edition GPU,
Corsair Hydro H70 Liquid Cooler,
Cooler Master Silent Pro M600 - 600 Watts PSU.

Altogether 4 fans were connected by me for controlling them with this unit (A Maximum of 5 Fans can be connected to this controller).

I must say that using this fan controller is easy as the Touch- Screen is amazingly bright and lists out all of the required information necessary for fan controlling.



Conclusion:-

NZXT has had this fan controller in the market for quite a long time now and I must say that I am very much impressed by this particular product from them. Mostly because it's an non-traditional fan controller as it is an external fan controller rather than the usual controllers we see in the market which are housed inside the cabinet itself. It's touch screen is a focal point of it's uniqueness.
It's screen is bright and shows us everything we need to know about fan controlling and temperature monitoring.
On the same note the screen has a good Horizontal viewing angle but not a good vertical viewing angle (particularly when seeing from down). Also as the touch screen is resistive in nature and it tends to be a bit less responsive but it gets the job done pretty well. Also the screen could have been designed to have a more easy to use layout (But we can't ask for everything; can we ?!).

As far as looks are concerned, the NZXT Sentry LXE looks very professional indeed thanks to it's brushed aluminium finishing.
This product is costing at around 3.6k and is a great choice for people with performance based systems with mid to high-end configurations and I give it my thumbs-up :thumbs:.



Some Positives and Negatives:

Pros:-

> Good Design
> Touch Screen
> Screen Brightness
> Great Build quality
> Alarm and Temperature system
> Ability to turn of fans
> Enough wattage per Fan power channel
> Screen can be turned off

Cons:-

> Vertical viewing angle could have been better
> Satisfactory touch response (Resistive Touch Screen so Understandable)


In all a very Recommended product.



Thanks for reading :reading:, please do comment.

Cheers and e-peace :smile:,
sid_gamer
 

nginx

In the zone
Great review but I think its way too fancy for a fan controller. I doubt I will ever invest in a fan controller for my PC, just doesn't seem all that useful.
 
Awesome review indeed!
Thats really too much detail! Just the way i like :)

@nginx-Have a look at his profile picture! You will understand how useful it is for him!
 

Skud

Super Moderator
Staff member
Nice review. Would like a shot of the controller running in complete darkness.
 
OP
Sid_gamer

Sid_gamer

Team Digit
Great review but I think its way too fancy for a fan controller. I doubt I will ever invest in a fan controller for my PC, just doesn't seem all that useful.

Yeah the review is big, but i wanted to write a completely covered review so I went full guns with it..:)
And it completely depends on your rig and it's usage whether you want to use a fan controller in it or not.
I have got 5 x 120 mm High RPM (loud) fans in my rig so this controller is obviously very useful for me.


Awesome review indeed!
Thats really too much detail! Just the way i like :)

@nginx-Have a look at his profile picture! You will understand how useful it is for him!

Thanks mate..
And yeah this fan controller is proving to be very useful for me.

Nice review. Would like a shot of the controller running in complete darkness.

Thanks alot..
Product shot in darkness coming up soon..

Cheers and e-peace,
sid_gamer
 
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