BitFenix Recon Fan Controller Review
Installation and Conventional Operation.
The installation of the Recon into your case of choice, in our case, our stalwart Cooler Master "Test Trooper" is simplicity itself, being only a matter of slipping the fascia into a vacant 5.25" bay, screwing it in using the the screws provideds, or perhaps using whichever tool free mechanism your case comes with and Roberts your Mothers Brother. Actually you're not quite done yet as the job of running all the various power cables and sensors around and about the inside of your case can never be described as truly painless. However, as all the wires are well labelled with decent quality solid terminations the task is made somewhat more bearable. The unit is then hooked up to the PSU by means of a molex so as to power up when the PC powers up.
Although the Recon is a web connected fan controller it can still be used in the conventional manner. We say conventional, but it should be remembered that this isn't exactly an analogue "twisty knob" sort of controller, far from it in fact. Nestled between the soft touch plastic bezels lies a decent sized digital touch screen fascia. keeping it to it's simplest, the Recon can be used in manual mode by pressing the numerical icon corresponding to the fan you wish to set the speed of, then using the + and - buttons to alter the speed as you so desire, striking as you will, the perfect balance between performance and noise as dictated by the performance envelope of your fans. It's also possible to set temperature warning thresholds in manual mode, by touching the area of the screen where the temperature is displayed and then using the + and - keys to set the desired warning temperature. Should one of these temperatures be reached, an alarm will sound and the Recon unit will increase the speed of the appropriate fan until such time as the temperature threshold is recovered. You will of course be delighted to know that the sound can be turned off by pressing the "alarm " area of the touch screen. In Auto mode the fans will spin at 40% of their maximum speed provided the temperature indicated by the appropriate sensor remains below 20 degrees. Between 20 and 60 degrees the fan speeds will be automatically adjusted from 40% -100% by means of frequency modulation. If the temperatures top 60 degrees then the Recon will automatically ramp up the speed of the fans to the full 100% until such time as the temperature drops below 60 degrees. We've used the figure of 60 degrees here as it's the default BitFenix figure, however it is possible to set your own upper threshold figure should you wish to.
Viewed from straight on, as in the pictures above, the screen is clear and easy to read. Although it is black and white, this simple monochrome approach does lend a sense of class to the unit not necessarily found in those fan controllers which favour showing every colour of the rainbow on the screen at any given time. Possibly the only leaning towards a bit of digital bling is the animated fan icon on the far right of the screen, which spins around when the unit is operational. It's also worth noting that by pressing and holding the power button symbol, the display can be turned off completely. Alter your viewpoint and as the images below show the display becomes less legible, a fault found with a great many, but not all digital display units. Here at OC3D we test every aspect of the kit we review, pushing it beyond what can normally be expected of it, and as such, it should be noted that these are extreme viewing angles. In normal use with the PC case on the desk and the controller at eye level your view of the recon will be as per the upper images.