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NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Fan Controller Review

NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Fan Controller Review

Manufacturer: NZXT
UK Price (as reviewed): £25.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $34.99 [ex TAX]

We're continually surprised that so few case manufacturers include fan controllers with their cases. The excuses for some, such as Corsair and NZXT (the latter does include them with some of its cases) is that they offer all-in-one liquid coolers with automatic fan control. However this doesn't always solve the issue in cases sporting a number of fans or if you just want to quickly flick a switch or tweak a dial to boost cooling or kill noise.

Thankfully, fan controllers are available in all different shapes and sizes these days and you don't need to break the bank to afford one either. Yes you can go all out with an all-singing, all-dancing automatic bit of kit such as the Lamptron CW611, but for less than half the price you can own a manual one too. NZXT's range of fan controllers is pretty extensive already, but the Sentry Mix 2 flies the flag of the company's budget range.

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It costs just £26, but you're not getting any of the fancy displays of NZXT's other fan controllers here. It's equipped with six sliders that correspond to each of the controller's six channels. Each of these can handle a sizeable 30W simultaneously, with a combined wattage of up to 180W. That's a lot of fans! Of course you could hook up pumps or other devices that are happy with variable voltages.

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Something that pleased us on opening the box is that NZXT has pre-fitted all the necessary cables, which are also cable-tied and tucked into two clips in the base of the 5.25in enclosure. It's certainly a heck of a lot neater than if we'd done it ourselves and as all the connectors are labelled too, installation and wiring up all your fans shouldn't take long at all.

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The unit is powered by two 4-pin molex connectors at the end of a proprietary cable. All the fan connectors support 4-pin or 3-pin fans while all the connectors involved are decidedly chunky and over-sized - the same can be said for the power circuitry, which sports probably the biggest capacitors we've seen outside of a PSU. Closer inspection reveals mainly plastic construction, with the body having a matt finish while the sliders are glossy.


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Despite it looking perhaps a little cheap, the sliders are sturdy enough and certainly don't feel like they'll be falling off any time soon. The sliding action is on the easy to use side of stiff.

Each one can vary the voltage from 5V up to 12V. This isn't enough to turn most fans off, which may or may not be a shortcoming depending on how much control you want. On the flip side, at least it's enough to make sure they'll be spinning and not failing to start by accident, which we've seen on plenty of occasions with fan controllers that offer lower voltages.

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Each of the channels is labelled at the front with an illuminated number. While the intensity or colour doesn't change with voltage, the colour can be toggled using a small button next to the first channel slider. Red, Green, Blue, White and orange are the colours available, but you can also turn it off. The intensity is just about perfect - enough to be able to see it in daylight, just, but not blinding in a darkened room.

Conclusion

The Sentry Mix 2 is cheap and does what it says on the tin. It's well-built, if a little plastic-laiden but the fact it supports 4-pin as well as 3-pin fans and all the cables are pre-fitted and labelled means you'll be dealing with far less hassle. There's plenty of power on tap and it's easy to use too. If we had the choice, though, we'd probably opt for Fractal Design's Adjust 108 on looks alone, but availability continues to plague it so may rule it out depending on where in the world you are. As a second choice, the Sentry Mix 2 certainly won't disappoint and won't break the bank either.
  • Features
    29 / 35
  • Design
    30 / 35
  • Value
    26 / 30

Score guide
Where to buy

Overall 85%
Approved Award

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