Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller

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Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review

Introduction

With the ever increasingly popular gaming cases – such as the Twelve Hundred which we reviewed at Tech-reviews yesterday – more and more fans are being added to cases. This is good in the way of cooling; hence better performance from components, however installing lots of fans increases the noise levels of computers considerably. To drop these noise levels, you need control over your fans and if you don’t have mystic powers, one such product that achieves this is a fan controller. Fortunately, we’ve been lucky enough to review a fan controller from reputable manufacturer Scythe. Introducing the Scythe Kaze Master…

About Scythe

Scythe’s first venture was to manufacture a super powerful YET super quiet CPU cooler (Scythe Kamakaze CPU cooler), and with the great success of this Kamakaze CPU cooler, Scythe became recognized as the leading CPU cooler supplier in Japan’s Akihabara Electric Town. Shortly there after, due to popular demand, Scythe began exporting products all over the world.

Features

  • Fan Controller and Temperature Monitor Features
  • Passive Safety – Safe Alarm Feature
  • 2-Way Temperature Display
  • Fan Stop Function
  • Wide Variable Voltage to Control Fans

Specifications

Model Name: Kaze Master 5.25
Model Number: KM01-BK (Black)

KM01-SL (Silver)

Manufacturer: Scythe Co., Ltd. Japan
Dimension (W x H x D) 148.5 x 42.5 x 63 mm
Display Dimension 114 x 20 mm
DC Input 5V or 12V (From PC Power Supply)
Fan Adjustment Range 3.7V (±10%) ~ 12V (±10%)
Fan Channel 4
Maximum Fan Ampere per Channel 1A per channel
Fan Speed Range 0 ~ 7500 rpm (Display Range: 30rpm Incremental)

* Package indicates the maximum range as 9,990 rpm, but the actual range is 7,500 rpm.

Temperature Module Channel 4
Temperature Range 0 ~ 100°C / 32 ~ 199.9°F
Measurement Frequency Every 2 Seconds
Weight 165 g

The Package

The Scythe Kaze Master arrives in a thick cardboard box with a large image of the fan controller on the front with features also dotted about the box. All the content on the front of the box seems to be very relevant to the product and is written in 5 different languages – English being one of them.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The back of the box has a diagram of the Kaze Master’s internal workings showing how the controller works. Some warranty information is also listed below this.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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On the sides of the box are Scythe’s contact information and the products specifications listed neatly in a table.

Opening the box up reveals all the accessories and the Kaze Master itself comfortably sitting inside a foam case.

The accessories included are:

  • Six thermal temperature sensors
  • Four screws for mounting the controller
  • Tape for securing the temperature sensors
  • Molex Power cable – for the fan controller
  • Four 3-pin cables for attaching the fans (via 3-pin) to the Kaze Master
Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review

The fan controller is sealed in an anti-static bag to prevent it from static damage – making sure that the Scythe works effectively on arrival. Protecting the glossy screenfrom scratches there is a thin piece of plastic which can be peeled away.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The Scythe Kaze Master

The Kaze Master is constructed from 2mm aluminium. This gives it more of a quality construction than other cheaper fan controllers which are constructed out of a mixture of steel and plastic.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The front of the fan controller looks pretty stealthy with a glossy blacked out finish. When the fan controller is switched off, the LCD is not visible, but once powered up, the blue and green digits on the LCD can be seen through the black-out glass this fan controller is fronted with.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The knobs for adjusting fan speeds are aluminium with machined circular rings which go all 360 degrees round the knobs. These rings make the knobs nice to touch…haha. But seriously, it really gives them that higher quality finish, which undoubtedly, we’re all looking for. Fortunately too, the aluminium knobs are well spaced for easy adjustment of fan speeds. As well as this, they protrude only 12mm, so the Scythe can be installed in most cases with doors – such as the P190.

Right up in the top left hand corner of the controller is the words Scythe written in a font which looks to be the same font used on the front cover of the movie ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’. This looks very appealing and along with the stealthy black finish, the Kaze Master looks somewhat futuristic.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The Scythe’s PCB is blue in colour and can be seen easily from the rear of teh fan controller. On the PCB is two jumpers and many connectors where the temperature sensors and fans plug onto.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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To secure the Kaze Master in your system, it slots into a 5.25″ drive bay and is screwed in place by four screws which go in the holes at the tabs of the fan controller.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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Installation and Testing

To test the Scythe Kaze Master I installed it in the Rig listed below and made notes of any faults/ findings from the installation.

Test Setup

Case Antec Twelve Hundred
Processor Intel C2D E8400 @ 3.6GHz
Memory 4GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer
Motherboard Asus P5K Premium
Graphics Card Vivikoo 9600GT
Power Supply Kingwin Mach 1
Hard Drive SATA Western Digital SE16 500GB
Optical Drive SATA Samsung DVD-RW

In our Antec Twelve Hundred we’ll be controlling the speed of three of the case fans and our Asus CPU Cooler.

The temperature sensors will be attached to the frames of fans, aluminium fins on the CPU cooler and the heat-sink of the graphics card.

The first part of the install was to connect the 3-pin adapters on the fans to the 3-pin leads which the Scythe includes. As you can imagine this was simple enough and was made even simpler as the cables are quite long. The fan lead connectors, as well as just being able to support 3-pin fans, can also support the newer 4-pin plugs found on CPU coolers. This allowed me to use the fan controller to control the speed of my CPU cooler’s fan. Fortunately each fan connector is labelled too (e.g. Fan 1) so when plugging them up to the Kaze Master’s PCB you won’t get the fans mixed up.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The next step was to position the temperature sensors. As the sensors are very thin, they are good for poking into heat sink fins or beneath hard drives – which I did. However even though the temperature sensors are very thin, they’re not ideal for positioning in between a CPU cooler and CPU as it would damage the processor. Just like the fan cables, the temperature cables are also labelled for miss-confusion.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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The last cable to connect up was the fan controllers’ power lead. This is a simple Molex connector which plugs into the PCB of the Scythe.

Also on the PCB of the fan controller are two jumpers. One of these jumpers has the ability to change the temperature readings on the front from Celsius to Fahrenheit. The other jumper can turn on/off the alarm which beeps when a problem with the fan occurs or when the temperature exceeds 75 degrees C.

Now that most of the wiring was done, I slotted the fan controller into its bay, but before I did this, I connected up all the wires to the PCB for easier installation. When slotting the Kaze Master into my 5 .25” bay, it was a pretty tight fit and needed some persuasion to get it into place. However after a bit of hassle, it was comfortably screwed in place.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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With everything now plugged up correctly, I set all the dials to maximum, turned on my computer and began playing with the fan speeds.

I found that if I set the knobs to maximum the fan speeds averaged at about ~1200rpm, however my Noctua NF-P12 managed to reach ~1320rpm at maximum. After determining the maximum speeds, I started lowering the fan speeds. Turning the knob anti-clockwise as far as it could go turned the fans off – this is something to take caution of, as you probably don’t want to set your CPU cooler’s fan to ‘off’ state. Turning the knob clockwise slightly, I managed to get a minimum RPM of 360. Most fan controllers don’t go this low, so it’s quite an impressive record for the Scythe. This concludes to show that the Scythe is capable of lowering the voltages of the fans from a hefty 12v to a minor 3.7v and to even nothing.

Aside from performance, the VFD display looks very appealing with green digits for RPM and blue digits for Temperature. With these figures shining through the blacked-out front, it looks more than just stealthy.

Scythe Kaze Master Fan Controller Review
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Cost

The Scythe Kaze Master retails at ~£30. For the quality, brilliant aesthetics and features this controller offers, it’s a good buy compared to competitor fan controllers.

Conclusion

With PC silencing starting to become a more and more apparent factor in gaming rigs – which are often driven with many fans – buying a fan controller makes sense. Also, with HTPC’s normally operating in a living room environment – being used to watch films on – the last thing you want to hear is the whirring of fans through a movie. Fortunately though, with the stylish aesthetics and good performance this fan controller offers, the Kaze Master is a perfect candidate for both these functions.

Although we liked the Scythe a lot, it’s always important to mention the negatives a product has. Fortunately though, there’s only one real problem with the Kaze Master, that is, the installation. With it being a little wider than most 5.25” drives, it’s a tight fit in most cases and it a bit of a hassle to position properly. That said, after a couple of minutes, it went in and lined up with the screw holes perfectly.

For all these reasons, the Scythe Kaze Master scores a well deserved 4/5.

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