NZXT Sentry LXE Review

 

NZXT Sentry LXE Review

The NZXT Sentry LXE display panel.

The Sentry LXE is a somewhat unusual product, an external fan controller with an intuitive touch screen. It is a 5-channel, 10 watt per channel controller that connects through a PCI card interface. At a relatively moderate price ($53.48), it is a good option for PC users who want a stylish fan control option without having to use up a drive bay.

The Sentry LXE ships in a simple, shrink-wrapped red box which has a picture of the controller on the front. On the back of the box is more information about the controller, including specifications in several languages. Inside the box, everything is wrapped in plastic between 2 pieces of foam. The box includes the manual, controller card, a 3-volt battery to power the card, 2 extra temperature sensors, temperature probe tape, 2 screws and several cables.

The card that controls the fans rests in any available PCI slot on the motherboard and is secured just like any other expansion card. The battery goes in the lower right hand portion of the card. The thermal sensors are attached directly above it. The 8=pin interface cable that runs from the card to the stand-alone display uses the same Molex mini-fit connections as an ATX or PCI-Express power connector, but the patters don’t match up with any other connectors; the cable is 7 feet long, so the users should be able to place the display wherever they want on the desk. The fan cables are about 2 feet long (which should be enough to reach anywhere in the case), and are numbered 1 through 5. One problem is that the cables are 3-pin cables and thus will not accommodate 4-pin PWN fan connections without modification.

Sentry LXE expansion card

The PCI expansion card which contains the controller circuitry.

Installation is a bit more involved than it might be for a standard fan controller, but it is not overly complex. First, hook up all the fans and temperature sensors; it helps if you have cable ties to make it manageable. After connecting the fans and putting the temperature probes in place, then all that is left to do is put the battery in, connect the 4-pin internal power cable to a Molex connector on the PSU, mount the card into an open PCI slot and connect the interface cable. Powering up the computer will cause the LCD display to light up.

The manual for the Sentry LXE leaves much to be desired and does not go into detail on how to operate the controller. Fortunately, however, the touchscreen interface is rather intuitive. On the right side of the display window are the RPM readings for each of the 5 fans. The user can operate the LXE in either auto or manual mode. When in auto mode the controller automatically adjusts the fan speed based on a predefined temperature scale (the adjustable temperature is just the alarm temperature, though). The LXE can also be operated in manual mode. To adjust the fan speed, the user simply taps twice on the fan number on the left side of the display. The number will flash and + and – signs will appear in the lower left corner of the display which will either increase or decrease the RPM setting that corresponds to the selected fan. Fans can be adjusted from 100 to 40 percent, then turned off completely. The LXE also allows the user to set temperature alarms; to set these alarms, the user taps once on the fan number and then uses the + and – signs to set the maximum temperature for each of the 5 thermal sensors. Once configured, an audible alarm sounds if the temperature goes above the configured setting. There is also a built-in clock and calendar which can be set by tapping the time readout on the display. The last two “buttons” are the power button and reset button: the power button shuts off the screen (but the controller continues to run), and the reset button (which must be pressed and held in order for the reset to work) will revert the controller back to default settings. The display leaves a bit to be desired; the + and – buttons could be bigger, and the touch screen requires a firm tap. Moreover, the fans take up to 5 seconds to response to the user changing the fan RPM.

Running the controller in automatic mode will allow the user to maintain reasonable temperatures while keeping the fan noise to a minimum, even while running CPU and GPU-intensive software such as games. Running the LXE and manual mode also works well, while also bringing down the temperatures several degrees. The temperature probes are very accurate, which is par for the course with NZXT controllers.

On the whole, the Sentry LXE is a good product. There are some issues: the PCI card does not stay in place particularly well (the user would do well to secure the card in place with a screw), the connectors do not accommodate 4-pin PWM fan connectors, and there are the above mentioned user interface issues. Still, this is a unique product, and with 10 watts per channel, it should satisfy both the typical desktop user and the overclocker as well.

Specifications

Max Power: Up to 10 W per channel
Colors Available: Black
DC Input: 12 V (Standard 4 Pin Molex connector)
Fan Connectors: 5
Material: Aluminum, LCD screen, PCB
Plug Type: 3-Pin Molex KK (male)
Model Number: SEN2-001
Material: LCD Screen, Plastic, PCB
Included Accessories: 2x screws
Connections: 1x Molex, 5x Temperature Sensors
Max Combined Wattage: 50 Watts
Brightness Levels: On / Off
Control Modes: Manual / Automatic
Fan Channel Quantity 5
Temperature Range: 0 to 99°C
Measurement Frequency 2 Seconds
Temp Alarm Range: 30? to 90?
Minimum Power To Fans: 40%
Screen Size: 5.27 Inches
Screen Type: Capacitive Touch
Fan Control Method: Voltage
Warranty: 2 Years
Finish: Black brushed Aluminum
Form Factor: External Device & Expansion Slot
UPC: 895562002735

Features

Intuitive Touch Screen LCD – Advanced, touch screen LCD displays temperatures in C/F, RPMs, along with the date, time, and day of the week. Users have the ability to switch the display off for complete darkness for more immersive gaming sessions

Complete Control – 5 Temperature Probes keep tabs on thermals throughout the case while the 5 Fan controllers adjust the fans’ RPM speed for at least 10W per channel. Allows users to automatically adjust the fan speeds to correspond to a specific temperature, manually customize for extreme overclocking capabilities, or set to absolute silence

Temperature Alarm – Instant notification if temperatures rise above a designated point

Sleek Design – Brushed aluminum frame provides sleek aesthetics for any desktop.

Rechargeable Battery – The Sentry LXE features a rechargeable battery for up to 500 times, keeping the LXE life time longer without the hassle of replacing batteries constantly.

Using a NZXT developed PCI board and external touch display, the LXE allows for more 5.25″ bays freed up for other peripherals.environment. Simply set the fan controller atop your PC or desktop and connect through PCI card interface.

Be Sociable, Share!

Speak Your Mind

*