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NZXT Sentry LX Fan Controller Review

The Smith    -   August 14, 2008
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Testing:

I first began to test the Sentry LX's features, but in doing so, I encountered a defect with the Temperature Alarm. In the user's manual, NZXT says that it is supposed to ring when a fan is detached during operation. That function simply does not work. Later, I discovered that it rings when a temperature probe is disconnected! So it is probably a misconception or user's manual error, but I would think it's supposed to ring when the fan is disconnected, and not a probe, like on a motherboard.

I am also going to test the accuracy of the Sentry LX. I am not going to compare its temperatures to the ones of SpeedFan, because we know that they are not going to be the same as internal probes, as I said earlier.

So first of all, I needed to get another tool to compare. Measuring up to 1/10 of a degree would be a plus, since the Sentry LX does. So I bought an infrared temperature reader. To compare the results, I am going to test them at room temperature, and also at colder and hotter temperatures. To get these, I will make perform test in the fridge, and another one in the oven. But when I began the test, I took the fridge temperature using the infrared temperature reader, and I was getting negative results, ranging from -10C to 2C. Seeing those numbers, I dismissed the idea of using this tool, and I came back with a good old alcohol thermometer. I had one specially designed for yogurt making, which is supposed to be very accurate, so all of the tests will be run using it.

Since I am not going to use the infrared temperature reader, I want to point out that the two devices I will compare don't have the same accuracy. For a digital tool such as the Sentry LX, it is the smallest unit measured, therefore 1/10 of a degree. For a visual tool such a thermometer, it is widely accepted that the accuracy is half of the smallest unit. Since we can only tell if it's between the lines, this means jumps of 0.5C, and not of 0.1C.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison devices:

  • High precision yogurt making thermometer

 

First of all, I verified if the Sentry LX probes were reading the same temperature in the same location. I bound them together using an elastic band, and I left them for a few seconds. The five probes were all indicating 25.9C. I hoped they would, because this would have meant a lack of accuracy, straight at the beginning.

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the temperatures were extremely close, and well between the accuracy ranges; I could not have determined if it was 3.9C or 4C on the thermometer. However, at high temperatures, there was a 1C difference between the two. In this test, due to wire length, the probe was very close to the oven door, where the heat can escape. So again, due to the very small difference, accuracy of both devices and circumstances, I can't tell if this marginal 1C difference was caused by a lack of accuracy. Therefore, I consider the NZXT Sentry a very accurate tool to monitor temperatures. It would not have been the case with a 3C difference, though.

I also want to say that I was impressed by how fast changes in temperatures are detected by the Sentry LX. For example, when I was simply touching a probe with my finger, the displayed temperature instantly jumped from 26C to 33C, instead of rising gradually.




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Installation & Configuration
  4. Features
  5. Testing
  6. Conclusion
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