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Aerocool FP-01 LCD Display


Author:  Jason Dumbaugh
Date:  2008.02.05
Topic:  Displays
Provider:  Aerocool
Manufacturer:  Aerocool






Aerocool FP-01 LCD Display

Aerocool

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display

Aerocool has graciously sent us their FP-01 multifunction display. This fantastic creation sits in a standard 5.25" bay, out of sight, and shows only as a 55-in-1 card reader, a USB port, and an eSATA port. One gentle press on the top part of the panel which pops out, and you are warmly greeted by a flip-up LCD screen. This screen has the capability to display 3 different temperatures through the use of three included thermal probes, as well as the current RPM of three fans. Follow along as we check out thiscool looking product.

What's in the Box?

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display
The Aerocool FP-01 comes packaged in a simple, yet effectively calming box. The product features are listed on the back, and 55-in-1 card compatibility chart is listed on the side.
Once the pox is opened up, the FP-01, driver CD, manual, and bag of cables are arranged inside of a plastic bin to dampen vibrations and shaking inside the box.
Aerocool FP-01 LCD display
Aerocool FP-01 LCD display
The cables include: 6 fans (3 can be used at a time), 1 USB, 1 SATA, 1 Power, 5 temp., 1 HDD activity, and stickers indicating the plugs.


Click on the Thumbnails above for a Larger Image

Features:

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display

  • Car stereo style flip-up LCD screen (Color)
  • Detect 3 sets of temperature and fan speed
  • 3 sets of Alarm settings
  • Auto / Manual control
  • 55 in 1 card reader (no need for adaptor)
  • Smart copy function - copy card data to your desktop in one touch
  • 1 x USB port
  • 1 x e-SATA port

Specifications:

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display

Note the "CAUTION" light on the left. You can program the alerts to flash
the caution light if temperatures get too low.

 

Testing:

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display
Click on the Thumbnail for a Larger Image

Testing the Aerocool FP-01 was quite simple:

First, the unit was installed into a 5.25" bay, and each cable was connected. The side profile of the FP-01 shows there are a couple of places the display can be secured. This comes in handy if the user has a front panel where they need to compensate for depth. Take note, however, that the FP-01 may have trouble fitting into tool-less cases, for it can only be secured with the four screw-holes (two on each side) provided.

The problem with this setup is that standard 5.52" devices such as an optical drive have two sets of screw holes on each side, one set of top mounts and the set of bottom mount holes just beneath them. The FP-01 was created with only the bottom set of mounts which can complicate things for those with tool-less cases in which the drive bays (5.25") often only have screw holes for the top set of mounts. Those with Cooler Master and Thermaltake cases are in luck as their tool-less cases often have plastic retainers that keep the 5.25" drives in place and these can be removed thus revealing screw holes that Cooler Master and Thermaltake thought ahead to make.

We can see why Aerocool did not integrate a top set of mounting holes into the design simply by taking a quick look at the side of the FP-01 in which you can see that these holes would interfere with the rails which carry the flip out LCD. While this design arrangement should not pose a problem for many users, those with tool-less cases might want to check their case before making a purchase.


Click on the Thumbnail for a Larger Image

All of the connectors for the device are located on the rear as usual and each is clearly labled which really helps in installation to avoid confusion. The plugs are located in the following order: 3 temperature sensors, 3 fans, power, HDD indicator, USB, eSATA.

NOTE: eSATA is a function supported by your motherboard or an add-on card, do not confuse eSATA with onboard SATA as the two are not interchangeable.

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display Aerocool FP-01 LCD display
Click on the Thumbnail for a Larger Image

With the plugs installed, the computer can now be booted up. Once turned on, the OS finds the new hardware and asks to install it. Insert the Driver CD and let it go to work. Your computer may have to reboot after the installation.

Windows Vista Find Hardware display
Click on the Thumbnail for a Larger Image

The screen should have power now, and you can see the temperatures of the case, along with the fan speeds, and HDD activity.

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display Aerocool FP-01 LCD display

We'll now take a look again at the buttons on the front panel. You'll notice the +/- buttons on the left-hand side, and the "MODE" and "SET" buttons located on the right. The alarms are very easy to set, and are quite loud when they go off. The temperatures can be switched back and forth between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Aerocool FP-01 LCD display

Aerocool includes software with the FP-01 called the C-Media Card Manager. This included software works as prescribed with all but the SD/MMC card slot which we could not get to function properly. There is either an issue with the drivers for this device, which we find unlikely or our SD/MMC port may have been damaged. Aerocool makes an updated Vista version of this software available. Once the card manager was installed on an XP machine, the software was quite easy to use. There is a "COPY" button located on the top of the LCD screen. When the COPY button is pressed, the C-Media software automatically pulls the contents off of the most recently inserted card onto the desktop. As a result of the flip screen design, the user is prevented from breaking the screen while transporting their machine.

 

Thoughts and Conclusion:

Aerocool's FP-01 is s fantastic product for the common user. Have we mentioned is simply looks cool. For the truely tech at heart this may be a must have product. At a SRP of $49.99 its a bit on the expensive side but is worth every penny once installed. We would like to see slighly better build quality for a roughly ~$50 product as the flip panel while secure seems a bit too plasticy for our taste. As we mentioned the LCD panel is quite crisp and easy to read. The temperatures and fan speeds are updated by the second, and the alarms keep your components from burning up. The flip-panel design your screen from being broken in transport, and allows for a large panel to fit into a single bay. The only downside is that the design of the FP-01 may not fit into tool-less cases.

There are many cables included in the box, and the software included with the FP-01 has an update button, which should allow every user's PC to handle the latest media. Its 55-in-1 card reader are fantastic for the widest variety of cards, though strangely, SD cards must be inserted upside-down, and the Vista software wouldn't even let us read our test SD cards.

I expect that Aerocool will come out with better Vista drivers over time. The SD card problems and software issues should be fixed in due time. For an XP machine, the FP-01 is about as good as it could get, and I recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a new multifunction panel for their latest rig. The FP-01 can be purchased from Newegg.com for ~$49.99



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