In this content, you will find the values, compatibility, and installation of the NZXT Sentry LX Fan Controller.
Not surprisingly, a number of enterprising businesses have been happy to provide hardware solutions for this; after all, you have a lot going on in your typical frag-fest and don’t have time (or screen space) to keep an eye on all the things that can get too hot and ruin your day.
In addition, the ability to control various facets of these things—specifically fan speed—again, without having to mess with a bunch of onscreen stuff that would interfere with what you’d rather be doing, is another plus.
Also, being the highly-focused bunch that we are, the device has to look good in our rig. NZXT, one of the killer cases (and more recently the Avatar Gaming Mouse), has stepped up to the plate with the Sentry LX High-Performance CPU Fan cooler’s Controller.
Thank you to our friends at NZXT Sentry LX Fan Controller for supplying the review sample.
The NZXT Sentry LX
The device itself appears solid, but keep in mind that it’s made of aluminum and that the expensive part consists of a PCB and lighted LED display, so despite the appearance of looking like it was carved from a fresh piece of billet aluminum, it does not, in fact, weigh 25 lbs.
The wiring also includes a standard 4-pin Molex with a passthrough to power the unit without stealing one of your PSU’s Molex plugs.
Closer Look of NZXT Sentry LX
There is a downside here, unfortunately: the fan plugs are of the 3-pin variety, so the newer 4-pin fans will have to be modified. This may be an assumption on NZ XT’s part that you may have something else in mind for your CPU and that this is primarily for case/northbridge fans, or maybe that there are simply more 3-pin fan plugs out there than those with 4-pins; a logical assumption.
Downside #2: The temp probes start out as a collective ribbon similar to an IDE drive cable or front-panel wiring ribbon, and don’t look to be able to withstand a lot of damage. Not a dealbreaker by any means, but something to keep in mind when routing temp probes all over the place, especially if you happen to have a cheapish case with sharp edges.
Installation & Testing
Installation was a breeze. Everything lined up; there was less than no drama involved. Again, something we’ve come to expect from NZXT.
It’s a dual-bay unit. If this is a problem, you’re either running a laptop or you need to get rid of that combination ashtray/drink holder/USB-powered refrigerator you have taking up space in your front panel. 4 screws (provided) and you’re done; it’ll take you longer to pull the case apart to get at the screw holes.
Temp-probe placement is completely arbitrary; just don’t be a goof and try putting one in between your CPU and HSF (in fact, NZXT specifically tells you NOT to do this in the manual, which gives one the impression that someone was actually dim enough to try it at one point).
In this particular test box, I had only 2 case fans installed and placed temp probes in 2 locations: The northbridge heatsink and the vid card’s heatsink. The hardware in question was nothing over-the-top, just my Bad Axe 2 mule. Odds are the other 3 fan leads and temp probes work the same way.
Fan speeds as measured by (what else) Speedfan were right on, allowing for variations in time for data refresh; and the temps were within 3%, a margin easily accounted for by temp-probe placement.
Using the controls (all on the front panel, no added software running in the background on your machine) was a cinch; I was going to mention that the user manual didn’t amount to much (the NZXT manuals I’ve seen so far aren’t usually printed on magazine-stock anyway), but once it’s installed, you really don’t need it. Yeah, it’s that easy.
If the post on Corsair Hydro, which is on CPU coolers, helps then you may go with it.
Really, there is only one detraction here, and it is the price. With a price tag of about $60 USD, as I write this, maybe less if you hunt around, the NZXT Sentry LX Fan Controller does not come cheap. This is not by any means a slight on the Sentry LX itself; if you need a fan controller, you can hardly go wrong here.
It’s just that the idea of a fan controller costing more than, say, $40 seems a little steep. That being said, you definitely get what you pay for here, as the NZXT Sentry LX Fan Controller is indeed a premium product that will last you a very long time.
This may very well be nitpicking, but if your machine lives and dies by fans that aren’t running right off the 12v rail, then the NZXT Sentry LX is the one you want.