NZXT Sentry LX Fan Controller
Author: Rutledge Feman
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 08-26-2008
Provided by: NZXT Corp
Usage and Conclusions

Using the Sentry LX was actually a lot easier than I was expecting. The manual has all of the commands readily available and most were quite intuitive. The ability to control all of the fans at once made using the controller far less tedious than other controllers with LCD screens, and I was able to see what my case sounded like with no fans plugged in, which was a new, pleasant experience.

Installing the Sentry LX was not only easy, but it was also clean. Because all of the included fan power wires and temperature probes have very long cords, they have more options for cable routing. This meant that the inevitable internal case spaghetti was drastically cut down on, reducing one of the biggest inconveniences of having a fan controller.

While the screen takes up two whole drive bays, which may be more than some people can afford, it looks so good you'll end up wanting it to take up three bays. My only complaint with looks on the Sentry LX comes with the brushed aluminum faceplate. While it seems like a good idea to have a horizontally brushed faceplate on a wide device, any brushed front panel (for example, the Lian Li PC-B77 case I used this device in) will have a vertical design, which gives a subtle, but annoying, visual conflict.

The screen on the Sentry LX is generally stunning. It does, however, have an awful viewing angle. If your case is on your desk next to you, you'll find that you can't actually read the screen when you are in your computer chair. Indeed, even from straight on in a dark room, the screen appears jumbled even from 10 inches away. From a foot or more away, though, it looks great and everything is legible and clear. I would have liked to see a little better screen quality, but everybody has their case in a different place, so this may be less of a problem for other people. Also, sometimes the screen appears to go to “sleep” after a few hours of disuse. Sometimes, the date will appear jumbled, and neither “auto” nor “manual” will be highlighted. Pushing a button seems to “wake it up,” but I don't understand if this is a feature or a glitch in the product's design. Either way, it is a little bit inconvenient.

This is not NZXT's first fan controller. They released the Sentry (not LX) a while ago and it didn't get too much fame. Since then, NZXT seems to have learned a few lessons, because, to me, the Sentry LX is absolutely stunning. I never pegged myself as a fan controller type—I like to have my fans at high always, so I always have the best performance (in fact, there is a fan controller built into my case, which I never wanted to use). I also like to maintain a clean front panel, without any gimmicky devices. The Sentry LX has converted me, though. The set-and-forget style automated settings, allowing you to program certain fans to certain speeds given their specific temperature probe, is very powerful and lets me have my fans at high when I need them, and turn them off when I'm just browsing and chatting.

The Sentry LX is a great fan controller, and deserves a look from everybody, modders and performance buffs alike, even if you never thought you wanted a fan controller. I'm happy to award NZXT's Sentry LX the Seal of Approval.

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