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ASUS iPanel

Former staff writer    -   October 30, 2001
Category: Cooling, Gadgets
Tccomputers
Price: $19.99 USD


Introduction
I have been looking at the iPanel since I got my ASUS A7A266 motherboard and finally decided to pick one up. This is a great product for tweakers or anyone who likes to keep an eye on the status of their computer. The iPanel provides information from your motherboard such as POST status; CPU, FSB and Memory frequency; CPU, Power supply and Chassis fan speed; CPU, Power supply and Motherboard Temperature as well as CPU, +3.3 and +5 Voltage. It also 5 hot keys 1 for Mode select, 1 for your email program, 1 for WWW and 2 that are user configurable. Lets have a closer look!




iPanel Update

After a week of using the iPanel I have decided to change a few things. I wanted to mount it in my top drive bay, but the length of the USB cable prohibited this. To solve this problem I used an old IDE 40 conductor cable that was 32" long. The cable for the USB only needed 10 conductors. So, I sliced the 40 conductor down to 10 conductors and terminated the new 32" 10 conductor cable with the connectors from the old USB cable. This allowed me to move the iPanel up to the top drive bay. I also wanted to make it sturdier. So, I drilled an extra hole on either side and added a couple of screws. This tightened things right up! Now I can use the iPanel without feeling like I am going to break it!



Features (From User's Guide)

System Status Detection and display
-Temperature: Allows the monitoring of system temperature to prevent the system from crashing because of CPU or motherboard overheat.
-Voltage: Allows the monitoring of the Pc's voltage to ensure the power supply is within limits.
-Startup Diagnostics: Allows the detection of problems during POST.
-System Working Frequency: Allows the display of the current FSB, CPU and memory frequency.
-System Fan Rotation Display: Allows the monitoring of fan rotation speeds to determine if the system fans are working properly or within the set limits.



Installation

The installation of this product is easy! Find an open 5.25" bay and slide it in. Next connect the 2 ribbon cables to the back of the iPanel. There is one cable for iPanel control and the other is for the USB ports. Run these cables down to the iPanel and USB connectors on your ASUS motherboard. Now tighten everything down and fire up your computer. The iPanel will work from the start with nothing else to install. However if you wish to use the hot keys then you need to install the included software for setting this up.




Conclusion
Well, there are likes and dislikes about this product. It is very easy to install and the information you get is great. The USB ports are also a great feature. But, the iPanels construction feels fragile to me. I keep feeling like I am going to break it when I go to press a button. It only has 2 screw holes (one on each side) and is a little lose in its bay. Also the ribbon cable for the USB ports is to short. I have the cable fully stretched and I only have the iPanel in my bottom 5.25" bay. The iPanel control cable is nearly 6" longer than the USB. You would think ASUS would make the cables the same length. Also, I don't use the hot key functions. Why would you want to reach for your computer to launch a program when you can just use the quick launch function in windows. But I still like this product considering its flaws!

Pros:
  • Easy to install
  • Great source of information
  • 2 USB ports

Cons:
  • USB ribbon cable to short
  • Fragile construction
  • Hot Keys to small and flimsy
  • ONLY WORKS WITH ASUS MOTHERBOARDS THAT SUPPORT THIS FEATURE!!!



  1. ASUS iPanel Review
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