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Vantec Nexus (NXP-201) Fan Controller Review

Former staff writer    -   December 12, 2002
Category: Cooling
Price: $30 -/+ USD


Introduction
A few days ago we took a look at the Vantec Nexus (NXP-101) Multi-function Panel which controlled the CPU fan speed, as well as gave us a few temperature read outs on a LCD screen. While it was a great product, it left us a bit lacking as it only controlled one fan. Well, Vantec has given us a new toy to take care of all those other fans; The Vantec Nexus (NXP-201) Fan Controller
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Features
Taken straight from the Vantec NXP-201 product page:

  • 4 Channel Fan Controller
  • Adjustable Fan Speed Knob
  • Aluminum "U" Type Housing
  • Each Channel Will Support 15 to 18 Watts
  • Fits In a Standard 5.25" Drive Bay
  • No Need to Cut Wires Like Other Fan Controllers. Just Plug The Cable In
  • Great for Vantec Tornado or Other High CFM Fans

 

Specifications

  Output Voltage 7V ± 20% ~ 12V ± 5%
  Output Current 0~1.5A

 

A Closer Look
The Nexus Fan Controller comes in two colors, black and silver. I would have thought the Nexus Fan Controller, and the "plate" from the Nexus Multi-function Panel would have the same "brushed" look that you find on most, if not all, Aluminum cases. Sadly, this was not the case, both the black and silver have more of a "textured" look to it. In my opinion, the black actually looks better.




The silver controller has a blue-green PCB, whereas the black controller has a brownish PCB. As you can see, in the closer look here, the controller PCB has a large 4-pin Molex that supplies the power, four 3-pin fan connectors, and five LEDs. What? LEDs? Did I forget to mention the LEDs? Ok.. on each side of the control knobs is an LED - That means the fan controller has five LEDs. There is a clear plastic piece that the LEDs run into, which helps produce a nice glow around the controller knobs. Don't worry; you'll see the pretty lights soon.




The PCBs are mounted to the faceplate via a metal bracket that screws into each. The two holes that you see in the silver plat are, as you may have guessed, mounting holes for your 5.25 bay.



The Fan controller is mounted in a standard, 5.25 drive ba- err.. is suppose to mount in a standard 5.25" drive bay. While attempting to install the fan controllers, I noticed that apparently my Lian Li PC70 does not have standard 5.25" drive bays. As you can see below, the rear screws that mount the PCB to the frame, are in the way. I also tried the Ahanix dboX Case which I reviewed last month, and again, the screws were in the way.  I did find that the controllers would fit in my old "generic" beige cases, though it was a bit of a squeeze.



This is only a minor problem, as simply removing the rear screw on both sides resolved the issue, and allowed me to mount the controllers. I found that the PCB was still firmly attached with only one screw on each side. Removing both screws on each side, and the PCB is unsupported, and will fall out.

As Vantec said, "No need to cut wires like other fan controllers. Just plug the cable in." It doesn't get much simpler than that. Plug the 4-pin power connector, and plug the fans into the 3-pin connectors. If your fans have a 4-pin connector, you'll need to buy a 4-pin to 3-pin adaptor which you can find just about everywhere for a few bucks.

My camera's flash dulled out the LEDs' glow, but does give you a chance to better see the difference in the "brushed" look of my case and the Multi-function panel, to the "textured" look of the controller.



Here is another shot, with out the flash, giving you a better idea of the LED brightness.



And finally, here we have the LEDs in the dark.



Conclusion
Whether you are looking for something to pick up where the Vantec Nexus Multi-function Panel left off, or your just looking for a simple rheobus, the Vantec Nexus (NXP-201) Fan Controller is defiantly a great item. 15-18W on each channel is going to give you what you need to power just about any 80mm or 120mm fan, and should provide enough for even two fans per channel. We did have a minor problem come up during the install of the controller, but it was easily and quickly resolved. I can't go into enough detail to describe how bright and beautiful the blue LEDs are, it's really something that has to be seen. I highly expect we'll see some people modding these controllers with different color LEDs within a few weeks after these get released.

UPDATE
We have been told by VantecUSA that they have fixed the problem where the screws hit some computer cases. Here is what the news side panel of the fan controller looks like:



Pros

  • Blue LEDs
  • No wire cutting required
  • 15-18W each channel

Cons

  • Some people may not like the "textured" look
LEGACY - OCC Recommended



  1. Vantec Nexus (NXP-201) Fan Controller Review
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