If you’re like me, your PC takes up an enormous part of your free time. Games machine, web browser, audio and video player – my PC is the centre of my home entertainment, so much so that I couldn’t dream of not having a PC in my room. But those different applications have very different demands on my system, and while you might want those four 120mm cooling fans for hardware intensive tasks like gaming or video encoding, they soon become noisy irritants when you’re trying to watch last week’s Lost, or just trying to get some work done.
This is where the Scythe Kaze Master and the variety of manual fan controllers on the market come in, allowing you to manually dial fans up and down dependant on your thermal and noise requirements. However, most fan controllers I’ve used have not only been of pretty shoddy build quality, but have relied on you to adjust your fans by noise level alone, with no indication of the actual reduction in RPM, and thus cooling performance.
The technology behind fan controllers themselves has been pretty much unchanged in the last 6 years, barring some poorly executed examples, while onboard motherboard fan control systems have become more and more automated and advanced.
Can the Kaze Master break the mould of poorly built fan controllers, and fight off the competition from automated motherboard fan controls? Lets crack open the box and find out.
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1x Scythe Kaze Master front panel fan controller
4 x 4pin PWM to 3 PIN fan connectors
4 x Temperature sensors
1 x Molex to 4pin power adapter
1 x Bag of mounting screws and temperature sensor tape
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The unit itself certainly feels very solid thanks to an all metal mounting frame and once the protective film has been removed it looks pretty damn cool, although the smooth reflective fascia is a serious magnet for fingerprints. The control knobs are all metal, firmly attached, and with a good level of resistance when turned. It’s a departure from many of the fan controllers I’ve used previously, which bent by just looking at them, and the Kaze Master certainly has the weight and feel of a well constructed product
The equipment provided is all specific to the Kaze Master – you won’t be plugging anything in to the main unit without the provided adapters. This was a pretty big disappointment, especially as the fan connector cables are each 70cm long, not exactly helping in the quest for a tidy case interior, although that length of cable means plugging in just about any case fan won’t be a problem.
It was also a shame that Scythe chose not to include any pass through cables for motherboard connections, especially as most boards will error on post without a CPU fan connected. Although this can usually resolved with a quick tinker in the BIOS to disable the "Halt on CPU fan failure," it’s a hassle that could easily have been avoided with an inexpensive addition. Fortunately, the temperature sensors are also 70cm long, and will easily stretch to any corner of your case where you’d like to take temperature readings.