Kingwin Thermal Center TC-02BK Review

Admin - 2007-10-03 07:42:23 in Storage / Hard Drives, Hard Drive Cooling
Category: Storage / Hard Drives, Hard Drive Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: March 10, 2003
Kingwin
Kingwin
Price: $32.00

Introduction

We've seen our fair share of thermal monitors in the past, and one thing is for sure, no two have been exactly the same. Today, we'll be taking a look at another thermal monitor, the Kingwin Thermal Center. With three thermal probes and three fan speed monitors, the Kingwin Thermal Center doesn't appear to be the most sophisticated thermal monitor out there, but it does have one unique quality, it automatically adjusts fan speeds based on temperatures recorded from the associated thermal probe.

Features



Specifications


Model: TC-02BK
Dimension: 2 11/16"(69 mm)D x 5 13/16"(148 mm)W x 1 5/8"(42 mm)H

Input: DC 12V + DC 5V
Output: DC 12V + 5V x 3 set.
Heat point detector length: 33 7/16"(850 mm)L
Extension fan wire length: 20 7/8(530 mm)L
LCD visual area: 13/16"(18 mm)H x 2 9/16"(64 mm)L

Whats Included



A Closer Look


The Thermal Center is built of black aluminum (silver is also available), and has a LCD screen centered on the front. Below the LCD screen are four buttons, which I actually thought were knobs when I first looked at the item.

“Simple” is probably the best way to describe this. A display and four buttons. That's it.

Even the back of the unit is fairly simple. We have a power connector, three connectors for fans, three connectors for thermal probes, and a connector for the HDD activity LED.

Even the back of the unit is fairly simple. We have a power connector, three connectors for fans, three connectors for thermal probes, and a connector for the HDD activity LED.< br />




Things start to get a little messier when you connect up all the wires, but even then it's still far less messy than some other thermal monitors.

A Closer Look


Despite much of the simplicity of the unit, you can see that front of it has several channels and bevels on each side of the LCD. While these don't look bad on the unit itself, when put in a case such as the Kingwin KT-424-BK-WM it doesn't exactly fit the “look” of the case. Why the heck Kingwin didn't use a flat brushed faceplate on this to match their cases is beyond me. In my opinion it would improve the look of the unit 110%.

The LCD and the four buttons below it have a white to faint blue color to them when powered on. And makes the unit extremely easy to read in the light or in the dark.


What exactly do we have to look at on the LCD? Well, a few things are displayed on the screen.
Every 5 seconds the display will cycle through fan/temp. The temp display can be changed between °C and °F, but only reads to the nearest whole number. The CFM readout will only display in increments of 10.

As I mentioned earlier, the Kingwin Thermal Center will automatically adjust fan speed based on the temperature for a device. This is programmed into the unit itself, and cannot be adjusted, which really sucks. The way the fan speed is controlled, is by adjusting the percentage of voltage to the fan based on the numbers below (this was taken from the User Manual).

System (Temperature Range 25°C to 45°C)
DC Output % Temperature
50, 53, 56, 59, 62 25°C ~ 29°C
65, 68, 71, 74, 77 30°C ~ 34°C
80, 83, 86, 89, 92 35°C ~ 39°C
95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100 40°C ~ 45°C

HDD (Temperature Range 25°C to 55°C)
DC Output % Temperature
50, 50, 51, 51, 52 25°C ~ 29°C
53, 54, 55, 56, 57 30°C ~ 34°C
58, 59, 60, 60, 64 35°C ~ 39°C
69, 73, 78, 82, 87 40°C ~ 44°C
91, 95, 98, 100, 100 45°C ~ 49°C
100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 50°C ~ 55°C

CPU (Temperature Range 25°C to 65°C)
DC Output % Temperature
50, 50, 51, 51, 52 25°C ~ 29°C
53, 53, 53, 54, 54 30°C ~ 34°C
55, 55, 56, 56, 57 35°C ~ 39°C
57, 58, 58, 58, 59 40°C ~ 44°C
59, 59, 60, 60, 64 45°C ~ 49°C
68, 82, 86, 80, 84 50°C ~ 54°C
92, 96, 98, 100, 100 55°C ~ 59°C
100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 60°C ~ 65°C

Testing

There were three things that the Thermal Center was suppose to do that it could be tested on.

The first thing that the Thermal Center should be doing is recording the temperature accurately. To do this, the accuracy of the Thermal Center's thermal probes were compared to the readings taken by a CompuNurse probe. In all test, the Thermal Center was right on the readings. This is with one exception, the Thermal Center will only display temperature to the neared whole number.

The second is the Thermal Center is suppose to adjust the fan speed based on temp. The adjustments at small temperature changes was not noticeable being only a small percentage change in power to the fan. However when going from an idle system state to a load system state the change was noticeable.

The system sat at idle and I recorded the CPU temp as 39°C and the fan was running at 2010 RPM. After starting F@H and allowing it to run for a minute the CPU temp 49°C and the fan speed had increased to 2370 RPM.

The last thing that the Thermal Center should do is sound an alarm should the temperature for a given probe go over the set level. To test this, I just lowered the alarm level to 25°C and as expected the alarm went off. It was also nice to find out that when the alarm is going off, the fan will run at full speed. The alarm itself is not very loud, and sounds almost like a pager going off. You can hear it for yourself here.

The Thermal Center passed all of it's test with flying colors.

Conclusion


Despite being simple, the Thermal Center does a great job of controlling fans and displaying the information. There are only a few things that I don't like, as I pointed out in the review the design of the faceplate really doesn't match any case. My only other complaint is that the Thermal Center doesn't allow for an RPM wire to be tailed off back to the motherboard so that you can still monitor you fan through software/BIOS.

With that, I'd have to say the Thermal Center is an excellent product, and I would gladly recommend it to anyone.

Pros


Cons