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Vantec Nexus NXP201 Fan-Controller Review
Vantec Nexus NXP201 Fan-Controller Review
Overall Rating:   89%
Abstract: A fan speed rheostat (as they were originally called) is meant to bring RPM control to the users' finger tips.

 Company link     Category     Published     Author    
Vantec   $$ Price It! ££ Cases   Dec 09, 2002   Max Page  

Vantec Nexus NXP201 Fan-Controller Review

I can remember when the first home-brew fan speed 'rheobus' was introduced on an enthusiasts website a few years back. Since then, a lot has changed in the computer world, and more than a few manufacturers have started producing their own variation of fan speed controller.

A fan speed rheostat (as they were originally called) is meant to bring RPM control to the users' finger tips. With the case fans connected to such a device you can decrease the speed of each fan independently for optimal airflow vs. noise.

The basic components to make a fan speed controller are nothing extraordinary, but the outside appearance can vary drastically from one manufacturer to another.

Vantec have recently released their own take on the fan speed controller, called the Nexus NXP201, and they've managed to pull it off rather well!

With the Nexus NXP201, which comes in either black or silver, we not only have control over four fans independently, but we're also treated to blue-LED silhouetted set of metal control dials and a metal bezel.

The bezel and the dials are both made from aluminum, but have special powder coating. The silver version of the NXP201 looks really nice, and would go really well with an aluminum case, but since I have a black Antec SX1030B, I'm partial to the black version.

In any case, both units will be retailing for about $29USD when they hit the shops just before Christmas.

We received a pre-production version which came to us bare, but the final retail units are expected to come with; screws, molex power cable, (2) 4 pin - 3 pin power cable adaptors, and (2) 3 pin - 3 pin power extension cables.

The Nexus NXP201 supports four channels of 15W - 18W each, so this unit can be used with Vantec's own Tornado fans without worry of blown circuits. Fans simply plug into the units standard 3-pin fan headers - so there is no wire cutting involved. The Vantec Nexus NXP201 itself draws all its power from one Molex connector. The entire unit measures just 50mm deep, and the PCB layout is clean and compact.

Installation is a breeze, the unit simply fits into a standard 5.25" bay with the two first mounting screws to hold it in place. On the Antec SX1030B, or for that matter any other Antec cases which also use that frame there may be a small problem however.

Since this case uses rails to guide the 5.25" devices into place you have to attach them to the NXP201 first. The problem arrises because of two small screws used to hold the aluminum bezel to the PCB - these screw heads cause the plastic slides to stick out just enough that the unit won't install properly. The fix we found was to just cut away a little from the top of the plastic slide so that it didn't get in the way. After this little 'mod' we were in business and the unit slid into the case without any problems whatsoever.

The only other aspect of the these two really cool looking fan controllers I would change are the dials. The metal coating on the aluminum makes the control dials a little slippery, so it can be difficult to get a good grip on them at times. That's a pretty small complaint, and not something I would really hold against this unit to any great extent.

The blue LED back lighting around the dials looks amazing, and in a darkened room, it looks even better! Vantec have managed to create a nice looking accessory which is both useful and well designed. Where fan controllers used to be the realm of overclockers and case tweakers only, Vantec have brought it to the mainstream, and all without the least bit of tackiness!

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