Elstado's Vantec Nexus NXP-301 Fan & Light Controller review-640x480 res pics inside!

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by elstado, May 18, 2009.

  1. elstado

    elstado Member

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    Hi all,

    Yes I am on a review frenzy. I know a few people have been looking into getting this as it is currently on sale at PCCG for $25 (they dropped the price from $39 two days after I put my order in, bastards! :p), so I thought I'd do a quick review of them to help others out looking for a decent fan & light controller on a budget.

    So for $25, atm, you get the following:

    A pretty box with all the details and sales spiel stuff:

    [​IMG]

    Everything in the box, that being the 5.25" controller unit, a pair of 30cm blue vantec cathodes, and a few cables and adapters:

    [​IMG]

    It comes with 1x molex extender, in case your PSU cable isn't long enough, and 3x molex/3-pin adapters, to ensure connectivity and length is met. You can plug a 3-pin fan in directly, if you don't need the extra cable length, this is a plug for CM freaks out there. :D

    [​IMG]

    The control unit works with any case fans that use a standard 3-pin connection, or a 4-pin molex connector, if not it would only take a few minutes to a mod a suitable connection. All the case fans I have use a 4-pin molex or 3-pin connector. Very simple to operate, as all the ports are clearly marked and the instruction manual gives extra info if needed:

    [​IMG]

    The front is well presented, with solid, sturdy knobs that change the fan speeds and lighting controls. The are well marked and easy to read. Only downside is that it is silver, and most gaming systems use a black theme, can always be modded and painted though if needed (as I might do myself):

    [​IMG]

    The cathodes are encased in a solid feeling clear casing, they have standard 3-pin power connectors that fit to the onboard inverter and also weird tri-angle end bits in favour of the standard square ends. Not sure how good this is, but it seems like it will be ok. The tri ends are quite wide though, measuring about 22mm long, as opposed to the normal width of 12mm, this may cause issue for some with limited case space.

    [​IMG]

    When installed and powered on, which can be finicky if you have tool-less or special type 5.25" bays, like Antec cases do, the unit sits neatly in the 5.25" bay and has a nice green glow. Behind the unit (sorry no pics) it gives off a green and blue glow from the LEDs providing the front lighting. This may bother some, but I personally quite like it.

    [​IMG]

    The bonus Vantec cathodes that came with the controller are of high quality and are very bright and clear. They are not so much of a "deep" blue, but more of a lighter, almost UV, blue, which made for a very cool lighting effect.

    [​IMG]

    The control unit has a sound sensor built into the onboard inverter, and has different levels of sensitivity, as well as plain on/off, I tuned it in and cranked some Concord Dawn, and it was pretty damn cool, I felt like I was in a rave :leet:

    The connectors for the cathodes are standard 3-pin, and I tested the controller with some 30cm AC Ryan green cathodes and they worked a treat!

    Warning, intense flashing lights in this video:



    Maybe not so suitable if you intend on doing real work, or are epileptic, but if you want to spin out your mates, get a disco going in your room, or are at a LAN and want to piss everyone off, you're sure to like this feature. :p

    Conclusion:


    Great little unit for some basic fan and lighting management, some will find it a little too basic, as it only controls 3 fans and 1 set of cathodes at stock, but for the current price of $25, if you need something that is decent and does the basics, this is the best thing on the market right now.

    Only thing I didn't really like was that I found the connectors to the controller unit were a little wobbly and I was always worried they would break as I was connecting and disconnecting different devices. You really would only want to connect everything once and leave it like that. One last gripe was that none of the cables were sleeved, but for most this isn't really an issue as they would DIY this themselves anyhow.

    Great value package here.

    My rating:
    8/10
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  2. broox

    broox Member

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    Thanks for the review :thumbup:
    Glad I made my purchase, looks ideal.

    In your opinion, how easy would it be to change the LED's in there to a different colour? sexy orange could be on the cards :D

    From looking at your 4th pic, it doesnt seem like it would be too hard.

    Cheers,

    Broox
     
  3. standby.

    standby. Member

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    I was going to pick this up as well but i hate the controller being white! :mad:

    But it looks like a really good deal
     
  4. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    No probs, thought you'd appreciate it.

    It would take some skill and time, but you could do it if you were keen. The thing is that there are 4x LEDs, which are actually a blue/white colour, with the green illumination coming from the green tinted persex backing behind the knobs.

    What you would need to do is remove the knobs and LEDs, remove the green plastic bit, use that as a template and cut your own clear orange peice to size, then put it all back together again, and in the process you could solder on some new orange LEDs so that the rear glow is orange as well instead of blue/green/clear etc.

    It would be a bit of a job, but not impossible. The hardest bit would be getting the knobs off without breaking them. They might just pull off but I am not going to try it on mine hehe.
     
  5. Skobb

    Skobb Member

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    Woww $25 for controller AND dual cathodes!!
    How much did postage set you back?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    The controller is silver, with green illumination.

    I reckon that if you have a soldering iron, a screw driver, some paint and an hour spare you could easily dismantle it and repaint the cage that the circuit board sits in. I might have to do it myself, as I want it to be black to match my mod and case.

    I'll have to see how Broox goes first.

    For $25 though, you just cant go wrong. Only issue is that PCCG sting you for postage. I paid $20 postage for this, a mouse, some cathodes and a few fans.

    Cheers! :thumbup:
     
  7. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Yeah, a pretty damn nice controller and pretty damn nice Vantec 30cm cathodes too!

    Postage was $20 (as explained above) but that was for a whole bunch of stuff. If you just ordered this on it's own it would cost around $15 I think. You can calculate postage with PCCG if you interested.
     
  8. xms3500

    xms3500 Member

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    Very good review m8.:thumbup:

    As far as your postage being $20 to W.A that's cheap, its costs me $15 to get gear from PCCG and I'm in the same state.:)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Cheers. Hopefully it helps some other ppl out there who are in the same position as I was a week ago.

    Yeah I think they charge a min flat-fee. It was a pretty big package, and came in 2 days, so I'm not complaining. :D
     
  10. Lil Flipp

    Lil Flipp Member

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    wow awesome, i might get this for my case that is been built in a few months. wonder how much postage is to Sydney,

    EDIT: Just checked through there estimate postage. $14 :D
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  11. broox

    broox Member

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    green tinted perspex :/ ghey.

    If I put a red led behind the perspex it should (hopefuly) come out orange... gotsta experiment there
     
  12. Lil Flipp

    Lil Flipp Member

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    does anybody know if the website accepts paypal?
     
  13. standby.

    standby. Member

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    Yeah unfortunately they don't but you can always pay by credit card
     
  14. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Let us know how you go, I want to remove the knobs and circuit board and paint the bay bit black, not sure how easy that will be though.
     
  15. Lil Flipp

    Lil Flipp Member

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    can always do it cheap way, black contact over it and get someone with a steady hand to cut out holes for the knobs. Job done :) hahaha
     
  16. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    That's not a half bad idea actually, could try that first.

    I've got a mate at Uni who works for a sign writing company, so he could probably get a piece cut for me. :thumbup:
     
  17. Lil Flipp

    Lil Flipp Member

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    awesome if you do go ahead with it show us the end result :) since he does sign writing you could also get him to write the Fan1 Fan2 writing on it if it bothers you not seeing it?
     
  18. TMM

    TMM Member

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    I can confirm the knobs just pull off easily :).

    Unfortunately the green plastic is molded such that you wouldn't be able to replicate it to the same effect by cutting a new one from sheet of perspex. One made from perspex would work, but you'd only see the full 'ring' when viewing head-on because the perspex will sit 1-2mm back from the front panel due to the front panel contours.
    Iirc the plastic is also thinner behind where the knobs sit (otherwise the shaft doesn't stick out enough for the knob to attach), you could just cut large holes for the knobs to fit through but it wouldn't be as sturdy.

    The best way would probably be to make a mold of the existing plastic and cast a new one out of resin :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  19. flinchy

    flinchy Member

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    do want for rave cathodes
    :)
     
  20. i7r7

    i7r7 Member

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    I bought one of these many, many years ago when it first came out (was about $50 back then, which was still very cheap considering a single CCFL was about $25).

    I don't know if the design has been changed since or if it's just my unit but the CCFL controls don't work quite right. At first it was fine, off at 0%, strobes with sound with the knob between about 10-90% and constant on at 90%-100%. After a while though the CCFLs flickering off occasionally with the knob at 100% and a few months later it would mostly be off and occasionally flicker on with the knob at 100%.

    I desoldered the microphone and now the CCFLs are off at 0-90% and is constant on at 90-100%, which is fine because the flashing is annoying anyway.
     

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