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The control console fits into a standard 5.25" bay. The bulk
of the console is set aside for the display, with a large jog wheel to adjust
fan speed and a small, easy-to-miss fan selection button at the far right. The
whole package has the sleek, faux hi-fi look that so many computer cases have
adopted in recent years.
The black and silver design has a sleek home theater look to it.
Around the back is a straightforward array of connectors: Three 3-pin fan headers,
a 4-pin header, a single header for the four thermistors, a small plug for the
power meter, and a standard Molex connector for power. All of the connections
are clearly labeled and use different headers, making installation safe and
With a total of 10 potential cables, cable management could prove a challenge.
The user interface leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps Zalman was going for
the iPod's fewer-buttons-is-better aesthetic, but it doesn't work so well on
a fan controller where it's hard to imagine a more intuitive interface than
a line of four knobs. Even so, the controller is needlessly complicated. It
doesn't adjust the fan speed until a few seconds after the jog wheel has stopped
and it doesn't remember what fan was selected last. This makes fine adjustment
a bit painful, as each individual tweak is a three step process:
- Select the fan by pressing the "mode" button an appropriate number
- Twirl the jog wheel to dial in a new target rotation speed.
- Wait 5-10 seconds for the fan to adjust itself and listen to see if it is
at the desired speed.
Twirling the knob without first selecting a fan does not adjust the last-selected
fan as you might expect; it is necessary to re-select a the fan for every minute
adjustment. Perhaps Zalman meant this as a safety feature to prevent accidental
changes in fan speed.
Plenty of flashy, bright, multicolored lights to incite your loathing or
satisfy your lust for bling.
Another issue we had was the viewing angle of the display. When viewed from
above as would be typical for a system placed on the ground the
display appeared fully lit, eradicating the ability to read anything on it.
A quick measurement and some trigonometry revealed that the display became unviewable
27° above a straight-on view.
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