NZXT Sentry 2 Reviewtacohunter52 - July 15, 2009
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Every PC enthusiast knows that when you purchase new hardware, there will be some sort of installation process. Sometimes it's extremely easy, and other times you end up taking apart your entire rig. Installing the Sentry 2 can be a mixture between the two. For those of you that don't care about wire management, installing the Sentry 2 will be a breeze. For every one else, it will be a little disheartening. Unless you've managed your wires in a way that they can easily be moved around, you'll have to undo your handy work. Think of it this way though - you're getting more practice at hiding wires.
Putting the Sentry 2 in your case is extraordinarily easy. First choose which 5.25" drive bay you want to place it in. If this drive bay has some sort of cover, simply remove it. After you've chosen where to place the Sentry 2, install it as you would an optical drive. Then use the 4 screws provided to attach the Sentry 2 to your case. Many people don't actually screw these types of things into the case. I know this, because I'm one of those people. You will however need to screw the Sentry 2 in, otherwise it will move when you touch it.
The next step is to provide power to the Sentry 2, so that it can then provide power to your fans. This is as easy as connecting a few Molex connectors. First attach the Sentry 2's power connector to your PSU. Then connect the fans you wish to control to the Sentry 2's fan connectors.
Now that the fans have been connected, we can begin placing the sensors. If you plan on using the Sentry 2's auto control feature, you'll need to place the sensors on hardware close to the fans. That way when the hardware gets hotter the fans can get faster. I'll be using only the manual control feature. Instead of using the sensors to control how fast the fans spin, I'll be using them to get a general idea of how hot my hardware is. I'll be using the fan controller itself to slow down my noisy fans when I'm not doing anything intensive or if the noise is irritating me.
Before you can actually begin using the sensors you'll need to remove the tube that is placed around them. After you've done that, you're going to need to think about where to place them. I decided to place sensor 1 close to my CPU. Do not place the sensor between the CPU and the HSF. Doing so will cause bad contact between the two, thus making your expensive cooler obsolete. Instead do what I did, and place it as close to the bottom of the HSF as possible. I chose to place sensor 2 on my chipset's cooler. Why? Because I was slightly curious as to how hot it gets. The third and fourth sensors were used to monitor my GPU cores. I placed them under the backplate of the card directly behind the RV770 cores. The fifth sensor I really didn't have a place for, so I just taped it to the heat spreader on a stick of memory.
At this point you've got everything set up. Before actually configuring the Sentry 2, I'd advise you remanage your wires and do any other housekeeping tasks you've been putting off. Yes, that means clean the dust out of your rig.
Even though you've installed the Sentry 2, you're job isn't done. You'll need to configure it to run exactly the way you want. If you'll be controlling your fans manually there's only three buttons you need to use. The - button, the + button, and the fan button. When set to manual mode the - button will decrease fan speed, while the + button increases it. The fan button allows you to change fans. The temperature sensors are supposed to correspond with the numbered fans, so when you're on fan 4 you'll be seeing the temperature of sensor 4.
Switching between "Manual" and "Auto" mode is again very easy. All you have to do is touch the area that says what mode you're on. Touching the temperature button will allow you to set the alarm temperatures. After you've touched the temperature button you need to touch the + or - buttons to set a max temperature for each sensor. When the sensor goes over the max temperature an alarm will go off. On auto mode the fans will automatically increase speeds to keep your hardware under these alarm temperatures, but if the fans are at 100% and you go above the alarm temperature ... well it might be time for a break!
So far every thing seemed to work great, but there was a slight problem. This was the lack of instructions. There was one very untitled 3" by 2" piece of paper, with an overall usefulness of nil. This isn't much of a problem, because fan controllers are extremely easy to figure out. However, there were three buttons/icons that I had trouble with and instructions on them would have been nice. The first was the power switch. I'd imagine touching the icon shaped like a I/O switch would have been the on/off switch mentioned on the box. However, simply touching this button did absolutely nothing. Instead I needed to hold down the button for a good seven seconds before it would function properly. The same goes for the reset button, and the button that changes the temperature display from degrees C to degrees F. In all truth having these buttons not react as fast is a very good idea. This way you won't accidentally turn off the back light, or accidentally reset all of your settings. I just would have like a heads up in the instructions that holding the buttons was necessary. It is very true that you can look on the Internet for more detailed instructions, but I would have liked them to come in the packaging.