Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 XT Manufacturer: Aquacomputer
UK price (as reviewed): £142.42 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed):
The Aquaero 5 XT is made by water-cooling hardware manufacturer Aquacomputer,
which also lends its hand to reservoirs, waterblocks and pumps. The Aquaero 5 XT is tasked with comprehensively managing all these water-cooling components, making it the most fully featured and downright turbo-nutter fan controller we’ve seen. And so it should be – it costs £142, which would also buy you an Intel Core i5 CPU.
Click to enlarge
Occupying a single 5.25in bay and connecting to your PC using a USB header, the Aquaero 5 XT has four configurable 3-pin fan headers on individual channels, each providing up to 19.8W of power. Each of these has the ability to power several fans using splitter cables and, in addition, there are two 4-pin PWM fan headers. However, all six channels can supply no more than 60W. Also included in the box are four 2-pin temperature probes with connectors for four more, so you could monitor the temperatures in multiple water-cooling loops and several areas of your case at the same time.
The Aquaero 5 XT is fully configurable via an LCD touch-screen interface, but Aquacomputer also offers a configuration program called Aquasuite 2012
, which is free to download from its website. Also included is an infrared remote control, which we found to be far more efficient in navigating the Aquaero 5 XT’s menus than using the largely superfluous touchscreen.
While standard fan controllers usually have dials or buttons, the Aquaero sports fully configurable automatic fan control. You can use a variety of configurable inputs, including air temperature, flow rate or coolant temperature sensors to control the speed of your fans. For example, if you have a compatible coolant temperature sensor, you can configure the Aquaero 5 XT to increase the speed of the fans on your water-cooling radiator as the coolant temperature rises during a heavy gaming session.
The Aquaero 5 XT doesn’t only switch between high and low fan speeds either – it can also use fan response curves to adjust the fan’s voltage or even the specific fan speed in line with increasing temperatures, meaning that noise variations are kept to a minimum. While Aquacomputer’s own range of hardware is designed to work with the Aquaero 5 XT, Aquacomputer told us that any pump with a 3-pin power connector can be hooked up to one of the Aquaero 5 XT’s fan headers, enabling you to control the pump’s speed as you would a fan. Flow sensors and temperature sensors made by other companies such as Koolance or Alphacool will work too, as long as they operate at 5V and are based on 10k Ohm thermistors.
Click to enlarge - The Aquaero 5 XT comes with loads of extras, including an IR remote, four temperature sensors and even its own waterblock
Sadly, though, the Aquaero 5 XT’s instructions are far too basic for such a complex piece of kit and we initially struggled to master some of the more advanced settings. However, after an hour or two of persevering, we were able to configure the fan-response curves and create some custom profiles, after which it worked flawlessly. The Aquasuite 2012 software proved to be far quicker and easier to use than the touch-screen, although at the moment you’re only able to adjust the fan response curves on the Aquaero 5 XT itself, which proves a little frustrating.
The Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 XT’s features and potential are vast but it lacks a decent manual. It’s also very expensive; mCubed’s T-Balancer miniNG
costs just £30 and also offers basic automatic fan control with fan-speed curve response, and the slightly less extravagantly featured versions of the Aquaero can be had for £35 less. However, for those with a water-cooling loop or multitudinous fans, the Aquaero 5 XT offers unparalleled automatic control over your PC’s cooling, with a healthy dose of LCD bling.