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NZXT Sentry 2 review

NZXT Sentry 2 review

Almost a year ago, I reviewed the NZXT Sentry LX, and found it useful, but lacking in a few key areas. This week, I’m taking a look at the NZXT Sentry 2, and it’s obvious that NZXT was listening. Not only has almost every feature of the original Sentry that was a little lacking been improved, but the display and the unit body have been completely overhauled, and a great addition has been made to the functionality in the form of touchscreen controls.

Sentry2 03

Installation

The Sentry 2 is simple to install. The unit itself is already assembled in the box, so the first step is just to unwrap the wires. Second, mount the unit in the front of the case with the supplied screws. Then, all of the existing fan power cables should be unplugged, so that the Sentry 2 can take full control (if you don’t complete this step, the unit will still report temps and speeds, but the speeds won’t adjust away from 100%). Next, plug the Sentry into the PSU, and each of the fans into the Sentry’s power leads. Finally, the thermistors should be mounted near the fan that corresponds with the matching number on the power leads. The whole installation, from shutting down my system to turning it back on again, took about 15 minutes (and I was stopping to take photos).

The unit takes up very little space in the case. Here it's even hard to see, as, from the inside, it's just some wrapped cables hiding behind the optical drive.

The unit takes up very little space in the case. Here, it's just some wrapped cables hiding behind the optical drive.

The little pieces of tape still don’t really help. This is one aspect of the product that did not seem to be improved. The little slices of orange tape that are meant to mount the temperature sensors still don’t really seem to stick very well to the steel of my case. Perhaps if I had fully cleaned the area with some rubbing alcohol, they would work better, but it was faster—and looks better—to just use some of the black electrical tape that I already had laying around. Fortunately, anyone who would be using this product probably has their own nice tape, making this a non-issue from a practical standpoint.

The little slices of tape hold for a few minutes, but are mostly useless.

The little slices of tape hold for a few minutes, but are mostly useless.

There is still a small issue with making the case look a bit cluttered due to the addition of ten more wires, but as more and more cases are improving the way that they allow users to manage cables, this becomes less and less of an issue. For my own case (I’m still using the AZZA Solano 1000 that I reviewed earlier this year) I was able to tuck all of the power cables into the panel behind the motherboard, which just left the thin black wires of the thermistors showing inside the case area.

Operation

It works pretty much the same as the original Sentry. The unit can be set to Auto or Manual. In Auto mode, each of the fans adjusts its speed to keep the temperature in a safe range. In Manual, each fan can be set to a percentage of max speed (in increments of 10%). Instead of being able to view all five fan settings at once—as with the original—the user can instead change the display to show the details for one fan at a time, or a general setting for all five fans. Also, the temperature display can be toggled between Fahrenheit and Centigrade.

The touchscreen might be the best new feature. Control of the unit now involves simply touching the options that one wishes to change. Switch modes or displays, raise and lower the fan speeds, and even reset the unit to factory configurations just by touching the screen. It’s a pressure-sensitive screen, rather than touch-capacitive, so one could use a stylus to change the settings if desired, although it doesn’t seem to collect fingerprints, anyway.

Aesthetics

The panel is colorful, but unobtrusive. Other than the touchscreen, this is the biggest improvement over the original. The clock has been removed, and the unit is only one bay tall now, instead of two. This is good news for anyone with a smaller case, or unconventional bay placement. Also, the clock was unnecessary anyway, and really just meant having one more clock to have to keep set, so it’s good riddance. Also, the viewing angle leaves nothing to be desired. My case sits on a small stand to the left of my desk, and in that position, I can still see and read the display clearly.

The panel looks swank in a tall black case.

The panel looks swank in a tall black case.

The display still prominently features a crudely animated fan that speeds up and slows along with the selected hardware, but it seems less wasteful this time, as there is only one, rather than five. The touchscreen also makes the unit look better. Without buttons flanking the panel, it’s free to take up almost the whole bay, with just a small frame. This really makes it look like it belongs in the case, especially when mounted in the top bay of a black case, as I have done.

Rundown

Pros

  • High Quality Components
  • Looks Swank
  • Installs easy
  • Super intuitive controls
  • Cuts noise
  • Conserves electricity
  • Wide LCD viewing angle
  • Half the price of the original

Cons

  • May require some additional cable management
  • Ships with poor thermistor adhesive

Golden-Fedora-190pxLast word

The Sentry 2 is another great product from NZXT. Not only have they improved it in almost every way, but it is now half the price of the original. This product would be useful for PC users at all levels, allowing anyone to save electricity and noise in their office, game room, or home theatre, while making a stylish addition to the case. If you didn’t pick up the Sentry LX because it was too clunky, then this is the product for you. If you did pick-up the LX, then your upgrade is ready. I’m pleased award the Sentry 2 our highest recommendation, Icrontic’s Golden Fedora.

The NZXT Sentry LX is available now from
Newegg.com
for $29.99, or from Amazon.com for $27.99.

Comments

  1. QuadWhore
    QuadWhore I have the sentry lx and I'm totally pleased with it. I feel no need to upgrade.

    But now that I've seen this...hmm...
  2. Zuntar
    Zuntar Nice review! I am looking for a new fan controller, soooo hmmm.

    (A pic of the unit itself, not turned on and out of the box should always be a part of the visual stimulus IMHO.)
  3. CB
    CB
    Zuntar said:
    A pic of the unit itself, not turned on and out of the box should always be a part of the visual stimulus IMHO.
    I knew I was forgetting something. ;)

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