NZXT Sentry Mix Fan Controller ReviewnVidia_Freak - August 28, 2011
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Noisy fans? Not enough airflow? These are just two of the more popular reasons to get a fan controller. But which to buy? Say your fans are putting out a fair amount of cubic feet of air every minute, but it isn't enough for you. Your soul craves, no, thirsts for more; more speed, more sound, more airflow. What then should one do? Most fan controllers offer only four channels at a meager 25 or 30 Watts per. This lack of power and control is not fit for you. What then should one look toward to satisfy this demand? No further than NZXT's Sentry Mix. The Sentry Mix aims to placate the ravaging beast within with six channels, each capable of being supplied 50 Watts per channel. Without a doubt, this claim alone ought to be enough to pique your interest.
NZXT plans to release the Sentry Mix before the year's end, but when? Whom else can say other than NZXT? All the more important, art thou capable of quelling the savage nature of thy lust for more air flow? Perhaps a peek at what is to be in store will calm this feeling long enough. Perhaps even long enough so as to prevent your devourment, your utter destruction by that which you cannot control! Come, let us tarry no longer! For I see in your eyes, now more than ever before, that you are already losing control. There it is! Look! Look and be relieved of your burden if but only for a short time. I hope only for both our sakes that it is for long enough...
A pleasant change from NZXT this time around is a fully colored box! A clean and modern design certainly helps to portray NZXT's product in an attractive light. Unchanged, however, is the standard information NZXT provides. The Sentry Mix is capable of controlling a maximum of six fans and providing each channel with 50 Watts. If each channel is maxed out, that makes for a total of 300 Watts for fans alone! Another positive change is the external labeling of each channel to eliminate guessing at any point which slider controls which fan. Additionally, each marker is backlit by its own set of LEDs. The colors of the LEDs can be switched at the press of a button between red, green, white, and two shades of blue, one primary and one secondary. Curiously, NZXT states on the box that orange is one of the selectable colors, but a second shade of blue has been used instead. The Sentry Mix's potentiometers are set to provide no less than 4.8v at the lowest setting so that connected fans can be silenced without detrimental affects to airflow and cooling. Included are a set of four mounting screws and an installation foldout. The Sentry Mix is long enough to be mounted in tool-less drive bays without issue, which is definitely a plus. Interestingly, NZXT provides some insight as to the origins of the Sentry Mix's name. NZXT claims the design was inspired by mixing boards at concert venues, which the sliders and markings mimic well enough. By extension, since mixing boards supply a considerable amount of power to the stacks as compared to speakers, so too does this fan controller provide considerable power to the fans, as compared to most controllers. Thus the name Sentry Mix is born.
The sliders on the Sentry Mix have a full range of motion from top to bottom and are attached to linear potentiometers. Power is supplied to the fan controller by two standard 4-pin Molex connectors, a sure sign that 50 Watts per channel is not simply a facetious boast. Each channel has its own detachable cable should removal be necessary to facilitate case cleanliness. Each cable, once stretched, is approximately 22" in length, providing ample reach for the largest of cases. NZXT has numerically labeled each cable, a common feature on their fan controllers, to mark which channel one fan or another is being connected to. Furthermore, the numbers on the cables and the front of the controller correspond to one another to make controlling fans a breeze.