The Sentry Mesh is the latest controller from NZXT and has some nice features all wrapped up into a simple 5.25″ form factor.
NZXT is one of those newer companies that had been churning out quality products on a regular basis since day one. Not only do they make some great PC enclosures, they also have quite the selection of PC accessories, including fan controllers. The Sentry Mesh is the latest controller from NZXT and has some nice features all wrapped up into a simple 5.25″ form factor. With cases coming equipped to support many more fans than in the not so distant future, a multi-channel fan controller is just what the PC building community needs.
The Sentry Mesh is a very simple design when it comes down to it, and the features are quite simple as well. The Mesh is a no-nonsense type of fan controller, no flashing lights, bells or whistles. Just an easy to install, slider controlled fan controller that does its job.
- Mesh design to camouflage with mesh case facades
- Five, 30W controls
- Easy-to-use sliders
Simple, yet effective. No need to over-hype a product that doesn’t need the hype.
|NZXT Sentry Mesh|
Plastic and Mesh
3-pin for fans, 4-pin for controller
40% – 100%
pictures & impressions
The packaging that the Sentry Mesh comes in is very simple. The top of the box gives a simple view of the front of the product, while the back lists the features and specifications of the Mesh. From the beginning, the Sentry Mesh has been all about keeping things simple, and the packaging is really the first start of this.
A quick look at the front shows exactly how basic the controls for the Sentry Mesh are. Five vertical sliders provide control of the five fan channels and can provide anywhere from 40% to 100% power to the fans depending on their position.
Just below the small NZXT badge on the right front of the Sentry Mesh is a small white LED that illuminates when power is connected to the unit. The inclusion of this LED is a bit strange, as it does not change in luminosity when fans are adjusted in speed, and does not serve any other function outside of being another system power light.
Five 3-pin fan connectors are attached to the Sentry Mesh, as well as a single 4-pin connector for powering the Mesh itself. The length of the cables is quite adequate and should allow for the Mesh to be installed in a top 5.25″ bay and allow for the connectivity of fans in any location. A plastic bracket helps to keep the cables tidy inside the Sentry Mesh.
Here we see a full view of the Sentry Mesh from the back. The body of the Mesh is molded plastic and has a very cheap feel to it. Once installed however, the body of the Sentry Mesh is secured with screws and should not be a concern. The front facade of the controller is a metal grille and will look right at home in many of today’s cases that feature the same mesh facade.
Removing the cables from the PCB of the Sentry Mesh gives us an up-close look at the guts of the device. Quite a bit of circuitry goes into providing up to 30 watts of power per channel.
The NZXT Sentry Mesh was tested with a variety of fan types including a cage-style fan, and standard 80mm and 120mm fans. Since the Sentry Mesh is able to provide 30 watts per channel, there should be plenty of power for even those extremely large fans found on some computer cases.
While the Mesh does not have any way to indicate the exact speed at which a fan is operating, knowing the specifications of the fan in use can help to estimate the speed at which it is rotating.
Whether the control of fans is done via the motherboard and associated software or a hardware device like the Sentry Mesh, it is typically game of trial and error to determine the exact setting at which the fans should be set to balance performance and noise. The great thing about the Sentry Mesh is the direct access to change the settings at any given time. Software controlled fans would require minimizing out of a game or any other application and making software changes, then resuming the task. With the Sentry Mesh, a simple adjustment of a slider is all it takes to gain the desired change.
It should be noted that the NZXT Sentry Mesh does not allow users to turn a connected fan all the way off. A minimum rotating speed of 40% (or 4.8 V) will always be fed to connected devices.
While most new cases come equipped to handle multiple fans, the vast majority of them do not provide a way to control the speed of the fans. This is the need that the NZXT Sentry Mesh fills. A full 30W of power for each channel ensures that even the largest, most power hungry fans are able to operate at the level needed by enthusiasts. At the same time, the ability to lower the speed of a fan from its normal speed to a slower and thus quieter speed is also very helpful. Another great use way to utilize the fan controller would be in a watercooling loop. By using the Sentry Mesh to provide voltage to the pump, quick access to the control of the pump is easily provided.
All of these great features plus a subtle and simple design equal a quality fan controller in our eyes. In order to wrangle in the herd of fans that can occupy many of today’s cases, a multi-channel fan controller can be a priority and the NZXT Sentry Mesh is definitely considering for the task.
| OUR VERDICT: NZXT Sentry Mesh
|Summary: A plethora of fans can be found on just about any new PC case in today’s market. Thankfully the NZXT Sentry Mesh is able to take control of up to 5 fans in an easy to use package. The simplicity and no-nonsense approach to a fan controller earns the NZXT Sentry Mesh an 8 out of 10.|