Coolermaster Musketeer Mult-Function Panel Review

Admin - 2007-03-13 11:33:52 in Modding
Category: Modding
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: April 28, 2006
GF City Computers
Introduction
Musketeer, a name that brings the memory of three sword toting classic heroes, and chivalry to mind. Whether or not this product has any of this heroism, or chivalry is yet to be decided. Since being founded a little over a decade ago, Coolermaster has maintained a strong foothold in the Thermal industry, ever since their initial outbreak onto the market. Having a large range of products, ranging from cases, to coolers, and into fan speed controllers such as the Musketeer that Coolermaster is dubbing a "System Dynamics Detector" that I will be going over in the pages to come.


Closer Look

Upon receiving this package I gave a quick check for damage, and I found nothing out of the ordinary. Removing the plastic wrap, and opening the box I was greeted by three smaller bags that included all the supplied hookups, as well as eight supplied drive screws for mounting. Underneath these bags there is the body of the Musketeer itself, securely packed in 2 pieces of foam, as well as a plastic bag. The model that I received to review was the black version; the Musketeer is also available in Silver. Removing this bundle from the box, I found the instruction in the bottom of the package. These instructions are provided in nine different languages.


While being fairly complete I feel that they could have been better worded, as to be more insightful, or a larger picture could have been provided. But overall the instructions where helpful, and did aid me in installing this device into my computer.

 

Looking at the front of the unit, you will see three gauges, as well as two vertical sliders, going from left to right the gauges are Voltage, VU (Volume Unit, for measuring Volume), and Temperature. The first slider adjusts the voltage that is provided to the fan ranging from 6-10 volts DC, and the second slider adjusts the sensitivity of the VU meter.


Moving onto looking at the supplied cabling, there is a temperature sensor, as well as audio panel hookup, to split output for the VU meter, and an adaptor for 3 pin fan connectors, and 4 pin Molex.

Installation
Installation of this device is very simple as it mounts the same way as a standard optical drive, with 2-4 screws per side. My case makes the utilization of quick release drive bays. I mounted the sliders, onto the device with two of the supplied screws per side. Plugged all the cables into the device, and slid it into the case until it locked into place.


Next step that I took was to install the backing plate, this mounted into an empty PCI expansion slot, as well as there is an internal 3.5mm mini jack plug. The internal plug plugs into the back of the Musketeer and acts as a signal transmitter for the VU meter.

I placed the temperature sensor up near the top of my case so that I could monitor the absolute highest temperature that was likely to be present inside.

I used the Molex adaptor for the fan controller aspect of this device; I plugged my front 120mm intake fan into it, so that I would be able to adjust the sound/CFM ratio of this fan.

Specifications
Voltage (left) dial display DC 0 to 12V
VU (middle) dial display -20 to +3db
Temperature (right) dial display 10-90 Celsius/50-180 Fahrenheit
Voltage Adjustment DC 6 to approx. 11v (IC controlled)
Sound Pressure -20 to +3dB (depends on input from soundcard)
Testing
Testing setup

Coming into this review I was very excited about trying this product out. But upon booting up my machine after the install my excitement started to wane. My first test was to play with the voltage adjustment, I found that at lowest it was reading 6 volts, and at fastest it was showing 10 volts. That is 2 volts lower than the maximum voltage of the fan. This was a very large disappointment for me as I would have liked to see adjustments up to 12 volts, and down to something below 6 volts, so that the fan could at least run at full speed.

Next was the VU meter, I tested this by playing some music with my normal sound volume, as I use a pair of headphones and do not adjust my volume at all, I found that the VU meter would not move at the volumes that I ran. I was forced to turn up my system volume up to 3/4-full volume, to get the needle to give me a healthy bounce. I next decided to drop back to my normal running volume and play a game to see if I had any better luck. While playing Counterstrike source with my stock volume (about 1/7th) and the gain for the VU meter turned up to max, it would move only under extreme combat situations, or very loud environmental sounds. This again was a disappointment, as the needle never actually gave me a fast, or a steady bounce, it was more of a slow slide.

The next part of testing on this unit was that of the temperature sensor. This sensor will report from 10 to 80*C, this is a healthy range for a computer based readout. I found that this sensor was very well calibrated, as when placed against my chipset it was only reading about 1-2*C off, although this was most likely due to it being an analog rather than digital display. Throughout the testing I found that this was a very nice probe, the probe itself came with quite a long cord, so I had no issues hiding it once I had it placed. With the use of this temperature sensor I was able to drop my overall case temp by 4*C by monitors temps in different areas, and then adjusting my airflow accordingly.


Conclusion
If you are looking for something to perk up the overall look of your case, than this is a more than worthwhile investment. But if you are someone who is more interested in functionality than looks this is not the product for you. While it is definitely eye catching it does not have performance enthusiasts in mind, due to the lack of voltage adjustment, as well as the lack of a more precise [digital] readout for the temperature probe. This product is more geared towards improving the aesthetics of your computer, while giving trivial and minor adjustments/monitoring. The use of uniform Blue LED lighting is a nice effect, and the chrome edge around the gauges gives a nice look, however I feel that this does not make up for its other shortcomings.

Pros

Cons