I’ve never met anyone who said “Wooo! I get to install a fan controller!” and I’m not about to say the same thing. While installing a fan controller is simple and straight forward, the NZXT Sentry 2 is as tedious as the LX and just about any other fan controller. To install, you simply open your case, disconnect your fans from the motherboard. Slide the Sentry 2 into the drive bay of your choosing, screw it in, then connect the fans to the Sentry. Tape temperature probes (with provided orange tape strips) where you want the Sentry 2 to monitor. Then plug the Sentry 2 into a spare 4pin Molex connector. Close your case and you’re done. The tedious part is taping the temperature probes to where you want them. It’s not generally recommended to tape anything to your motherboard, so finding a convenient spot on the case or random bit of plastic, can be a little troublesome. Also, if you’re hands a little sweaty due to the Florida humidity, or because your case isn’t cold, the tape could very easily fall off (the tape that comes with it works surprisingly well with slightly sweaty fingers). While this isn’t difficult (especially on a large case), it can feel like a chore.
To test the NZXT Sentry 2, I’ve carefully placed 3 fan probes in places that I can also measure with software: the CPU, the hard drive and my GPU using CPUID Hardware Monitor. We are testing how close the local temperature is compared to the actual temperature of the component. Let’s how the Sentry 2 fares:
The NZXT Sentry 2 performed very well. Since a temperature probe can really only be placed near the source, there is always going to be a variation of a few degrees, and since other cooling equipment can easily change the local temperature of the component the software read will usually be a bit higher than the area read. This is because your reading tow different temperatures: Core Temperature, and Surface Temperature. As you can see, there was a difference of about 3 degrees on the HDD and CPU which where most likely due to either my poor job of placing the probes (I keed!) or my cooling equipment effectively cooling the area. I did do every thing that I could to avoid poor placement. The discrepancy with the GPU is much more likely due to the difference between the local temperature and the GPU itself. Just remember, temperature probes are for local air temperatures, not actual hardware temperature.
Overall, I’d say the NZXT Sentry 2 is definitely a great fan controller. The touch screen interface is very easy to use and requires very little pressure; and the screen is a definite improvement over the Sentry LX. Something that then Sentry 2 is lacking compared to the LX is the simple calendar functions and time. To me, these are not must have features and do not outweigh the benefits of a single slot fan controller. I’d definitely recommend the Sentry 2 over the Sentry LX and at an MSRP of 29.99 compared to the $59.99 of the LX, why not? Like the Sentry LX, I’d like to award the Sentry 2 the TechwareLabs Awesome Hardware Award because it really deserves it.