Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6 Review

Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6 Review

Front and side view of the Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6.

The Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6 (PL-RS 6) fan controller is, as you might have guessed, a 6-channel fan controller which supports a wide variety of fans. Each channel can handle a maximum of 30 watts. The controller fits in a 5.25-inch drive bay, and its solid construction and overall look and feel make it an attractive choice for hardware hackers. It does not have a fancy digital readout – in fact, it doesn’t have an LCD panel at all – but for those who value power over dazzling displays, the price of this controller (about $30) will make it appealing.

The Rheosmart 6 ships in a box that contains the controller itself, along with four mounting screws (you will need these, as the controller will not stay in place otherwise). a small badge, a manual, and six different cables (all contained in small, plastic zip bags). These cables are: [1] a 4-pin PWN cable, that plugs into the motherboard at the CPU or SYS_FAN header on one end and the controller on the other, which gives the Rheosmart its “Smart Cooling” feature and enables it to receive temperature data from the processor’s temperature sensor so it can adjust the fan speed when in automatic mode; [2] 2 3-pin monitor cables, which enable the user to link up to two fans with additional motherboard fan headers to provide RPM monitoring (these cables are Y cables, and if the one branch of the Y is not plugged into the motherboard, then the cables could be used as extension cables as well); [3] 2 3-pin extension cables, and [4] 2 4-pin Molex to 3-pin adapter cables.

The fan controller itself is contained on two PCBs; one has the 6 potentiometers mounted onto it, and the other has the controller circuitry, as well as the 6 fan headers, a header for the PWM cable, and a Molex connector to connect the controller to the power supply. Each channel gets its own voltage regulator to vary fan speed. The front panel has a knob for each 6 channels and an LED for each channel that switches between red (if the fan controller is varying the fan speed with temperature) and green (if the fans are under user control). There are buttons below each knob for switching between manual and automatic modes.

Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6 Review

Rear view of the Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6, including the PCB. Note the seventh header for the 4-pin PWM cable.

Installation of the Rheosmart 6 is easy. Just open a 5.25″ bay on your case, put the panel in place, attach the screws, and make the connections. It will fit best with cases that allow the user to put screws on both drive rails, but even with tool-less cases that have tool-less drive rails on one side should accommodate the Rheosmart 6 if the user puts 2 screws on one side. Connecting the controller should be simple as well: just connect the power, the fans, and, most importantly, the PWM cable to the CPU fan connector (and to the CPU cooler fan).

The Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6 is an easy-to-use, powerful budget-priced controller. On the negative side, there is no way to completely turn off a fan, and because there is no display, there is no indication of any of the fan’s actual states. Moreover, the force required to turn the knobs is not consistent, as the middle knobs require less force than the outer two. This controller is not always easy to find, although a spot check revealed that both Amazon and Newegg has this item in stock at the time this article was published. This controller may not have all the features of some of the more expensive controllers, and the lack of a display may be a deal-breaker for some, but it’s ability to handle 30 watts a channel along with its low price makes it worthy of consideration.

Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6 Specifications:

Part Number:  PL-RS-6
Main Function:  PWM/Manual Fan Controller
Color:  Black
Material:  Aluminum and Mesh
DC Input:  +12 V (Standard 4 -Pin Connector)
DC Output:  0V – 12 V DC
Max Output:  30W*6
3-Pin Fan Connectors:  6
Fan RPM Knobs:  6
Compatibility:  5.25″ Drive bay
Dimensions(W*H*D):  148mm *42 mm * 82mm

External Links:

Sunbeamtech’s product page for the Sunbeamtech Rheosmart 6