Scythe KM03 Review (Kaze Master Pro)

Scythe KM03 Review (Kaze Master Pro)

Front panel and rear view of the Scythe KM03.

The Scythe Kaze Master Pro (KM03) fan controller is a high-end 6-channel controller that comes in both 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch variants. It features an LCD display, and its versatility and moderate price makes it a popular choice for many gamers and modders.

The KM03 comes in a cardboard box, inside of which is a foam box with two compartments: one for the accessories and the other for the controller itself. The box contains 6 fan power cables, 6 thermal sensor cables (one for each channel), one power cable connector for the controller, 4 screws to install the controller into the computer case, stickers to attach the thermal sensors to the computer, the fan controller, and a user guide.

The fan controller has 8 knobs on the front panel. 6 of the knobs are for controlling the fans (one for each channel). The other 2 knobs determine which channel information is being displayed about: the first knob is for switching between channels 1, 2 and 3, and the second is for channels 4, 5 and 6. Choosing a channel allows the user to see the CPU speed and temperature of that channel. [The display can show information for 2 fans at the same time; channels 1, 2, or 3 show up on the left side and channels 4, 5, or 6 show up on the right side.] The controller ships with a protective plastic cover on the display to avoid damage during transport.

On the back of the case, there is a jumper that enables the user to mute the temperature alarms, the power connector, and headers for all 6 fans. The controller has two PCBs: one for the display, and one for the actual controller. Each power MOS has its own aluminum heatsink and its own capacitor. The PCB for the display has a buzzer which allows the controller to sound an alarm if the system overheats, and two switches that make the screen show information about the fans.

Scythe KM03 Review (Kaze Master Pro)

Cables and instruction manual included with the KM03.

The fan cables have 3-pin connectors on one end for the fan header. On the other end, the cables will fit onto either 3-pin or 4-pin fans (but they do not fit fan Molex connectors). All the cables included are very long, so be prepared to tie up a lot of cables. On the positive side, the wires all all labeled, so you will easily know which fan is connected to which channel.

One of the common areas of complaint is with the stickers supplied with the controller to stick the temperature sensors to different parts of the computer. Unfortunately, the stick pads do not seem to stick to the components very well. In addition, when the case heats up, they tend to lose their grip entirely. However, the user can always buy his own sticky tape for the sensors, so this should not be too much of a problem.

Overall, the KM03 is a relatively powerful (12 watts per channel) controller, and one which is aesthetically pleasing enough to put in any computer. It carries a relatively modest price tag (the Scythe website has it listed at $50, but I have seen it elsewhere as cheap as $36), which should make it an attractive option for the more budget conscious hardware hacker. Unfortunately, the U.S. branch of Scythe has closed, leaving the distribution of Scythe products in the United States somewhat up in the air, although Scythe has announced it plans to either open a new branch office in the U.S. or contract a main distributor in the near future.

Scythe KM03 Specifications:

Model Name: Kaze Master Pro 5.25
Model Number: KM03-BK (Black)
Manufacturer: Scythe Co., Ltd. Japan
Dimension (W x H x D): 148.5 x 42.5 x 83 mm / 5.85 x 1.65 x 3.26 in
Display Dimension: 100 x 19 mm / 3.93 x 0.74 in
DC Input: 5 V or 12 V (From PC Power Supply Unit)
Fan Adjustment Range: 3.7 V (±10%) ~ 12 V (±10%)
Fan Channel: 6
Maximum Fan Ampere per Channel: 1 Ampere (= 12 W max.)
Fan Speed Range: 0 ~ 9990 rpm (Display: 30 rpm steps)
Temperature Module Channel: 6
Temperature Range: 0 ~ 100°C / 32 ~ 199,9°F
Measurement Frequency: Every 2 Seconds
Weight: 325 g / 10.49 oz.

External Links:

Scythe USA’s product page for the KM03

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