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Fan Controllers or Temp Monitors


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#1
AF_Money

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This question has been asked before, but most of my searches regarding fan controllers and temperature read-outs are from 5-6 years ago from people frying their computers. I'm really only looking for a digital temperature display. My case is awesome and has really good airflow, so I'm not worried enough, nor do I really care enough to adjust all of my fans manually. I am planning on putting in a second video card (2x EVGA GTX 460s in SLI), all of my ram slots are filled, and my CPU is mildly overclocked, so I would like some peace of mind to be able to see my temps while I'm gaming. If the only way I can see that is to get one with an integrated fan controller, then so be it. Newegg and Amazon don't have any that have any really good ratings and most are plagued by the controller eventually failing and the fans shutting down or complaints of cheap quality.

I was looking at this one:

Posted Image
NZXT Sentry-2 5.25" Touch Screen fan controller

or this one:

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AeroCool Touch 2000 Controller, Panel

But since I don't really care about having an actual fan controller, I was wondering what anyone's thoughts were on just a digitial media center panel like this:

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nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum Panel PRO-LCD-B Media Center Programmable LCD

So, thoughts? comments?

---------------------------
Antec 300 Illusion
ASUS P7p55D Pro
i5-760 (o/c 3.5GHz)
EVGA Superclocked GTX 460
Corsair 750W modular PSU
8GB ripjaw 1600
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#2
Digerati

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So, thoughts? comments?

The problem with any of these devices is they require you divert your eye to the case. That is hardly convenient, IMO. I much prefer to glance down at the system tray. Therefore, I would recommend a hardware monitor program. Your motherboard utilities disk should have a monitoring program (or check for a more recent version on your motherboard or PC maker's website). If none, I recommend CoreTemp for newer Intel and AMD64 CPUs, or http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>RealTemp for Intels. SpeedFan is a great and popular alternative, or you can try Motherboard Monitor. Unfortunately, I have found that these programs often have problems properly identifying and labeling the sensor they are reading. The temperatures shown are as accurate as the inexpensive, low-tech sensors will allow, but it may say System Fan instead of CPU Fan. Fortunately, the programs do allow you to edit the labels, so I use Everest to verify the temperatures (as it is able to match sensor with label correctly), then edit the label in the monitoring program. In Everest, look under Computer > Sensor, then wait a couple seconds for the readings to appear. Unfortunately, Everest does not minimize to the system tray to show real-time temperatures, otherwise, you could use Everest instead of the others. Check but do not rely on the temps shown in the BIOS Setup Menu. While they are likely correct, running the BIOS Setup Menu is probably the least demanding task you can ask of your computer so it does not show the temps when the system is being taxed. But if the BIOS Setup Menu temps are high, you have a problem that needs to be corrected. HWMonitor, from the makers of CPUID is also very informative, but does not minimize to the system tray.

Be sure to select the custom install option for each to ensure you don't install any unwanted toolbars, etc.
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#3
AF_Money

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That all sounds well and good. Only problem with all that is, if I can see my toolbar, then what am I doing? Probably checking email, playing solitare, responding to a forum... not exactly putting a "high demand" on my components. I want it for full screen first person shooter ulta high resolution gaming action. Plus, I think a digital led display on the front of my case would be a cool gadget for my rig. I understand that "universal" temperature sensors aren't going to be exact, but it'll give me an idea.
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#4
Digerati

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Only problem with all that is, if I can see my toolbar, then what am I doing?

:confused: I don't know what that means. With the monitoring tools I suggested, the temp appears in the System Tray in the lower left hand corner of your screen next to your clock. You don't even have to move your head to see all is fine.

As for universal sensors, understand the sensors are already built into the motherboard/chipset, GPU or CPU. Those display units just display what the existing sensors sense.

Finally, looking cool on your rig is one thing and if that appeals to you, then that's fine. My own personal opinion is that a case should sit quietly and discreetly off to the side and not draw attention to itself. For that reason, I don't go for fancy facades or flashy lights on my case as I tend to pay attention to what's happening on my monitors. But that's me.
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#5
AF_Money

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Sorry for the little bit of sarcasm. I should rephrase that and ask what I'm not doing if I can see my toolbar. Answer is, I'm not playing a game, which is my primary use for my computer. If I'm in full screen mode while i'm playing a game, I wouldn't be able to see any of the temperature monitoring software programs on my desktop or toolbar, which for my uses would be the most demanding time for my computer, and the most likely point in time to possibly overheat if a fan dies on me or something. And I kind of like the "cool factor". Personal preference I suppose. I was more curious if people had any experience with these hardware fan controllers/ media panels since none of them really have any raving reviews, no matter how expensive or high quality they advertise to be.
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#6
Digerati

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If I'm in full screen mode while i'm playing a game, I wouldn't be able to see any of the temperature monitoring software programs on my desktop or toolbar

Ah, well please understand that many, if not most users have the Taskbar (not toolbar, btw) set for "Always on top" - even in full screen mode.

And BECAUSE gaming is one of the most demanding task we can ask of our computers, being able to see the temps while gaming, without having to look away from the monitor is a good thing. Like the gauges on your car dashboard display, they are all right there so you can quickly glance down and safely and quickly see all is alright while you are speeding down the highway.

If are going to use that case mounted monitor, and not an on-screen monitoring method (either system tray or desktop gadget), I would urge you to set and use the audible alarms.

Note the only reason to use a fan controller is to slow down fans to make them quieter. That may be fine when reading email or simply surfing the net, but then again, the better motherboards already do that automatically.
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