Front Mounted Ports: Take a Joy Ride On The Fan Bus

Nexus Fan & Light Controller - NXP-301 - Vantec, Continued

The NXP-301 is trimmed in silver, and as far as we are aware, it is not offered in any other bezel colors. The NXP-301 mounts in a standard 5-¼ bay using two holes for mounting screws on either side. Since the unit only offers mounting in the front, depending on the type of rails your case uses the install of the NXP-301 might be difficult or have some wobble similar to other units that install this way.

The two cold cathode lights included with the NXP-301 were of average quality and light output. As is common with many of the less expensive cold cathode lights, the cables to connect the lights to the back of the NXP-301 were a little skimpy in length; this means that you might have to use an extension cable, depending on how you install them. We judged the light output of these lights to be slightly above average, but not as good as the Spectrum lights offered by Vantec, which we assume are higher quality. Still, "free" is "free," and the fact that they are included for just a little more than what you would pay for a traditional fan bus is a good thing. The sound activated function uses a mic type setup in the front of the NXP-301 to monitor the sound and to activate the sound function. The disadvantage of this type of setup is of course, if you have head phones plugged into your PC, the NXP-301 will not detect any sound so the sound activated function will not work.

The front of the NXP-301. From our understanding, the front bezel only comes in silver.

We found the action of the knobs on the NXP-301 to offer good control and action. They were smooth when turned and allowed for a good range of adjustment. As with the other Vantec Nexus products, the NXP-301 offers green LED lighting behind the knobs on the NXP-301. This offers a pleasant visual look and is different from the blue back lighting that we have seen on other units.

The cables that were included to connect the fans to the fan bus again did not include any sort of pass through to the three pin fan monitoring connectors on the motherboard. In addition, the NXP-301 does not offer any type of temperature monitoring or alarm or overheating notification device.

The back of the NXP-301 is very clean and less cluttered than most other normal lighting setups. This is a clear advantage over many of the other DIY products available for lighting on the PC.

We liked the NXP-301 very much! Vantec has a real winner, we believe. The only minor complaint that we have is that Vantec does not offer the NXP-301 with black colored bezel; but if you can live with the silver bezel version this will not be of importance.

The integration of the fan bus with the cold cathode lighting is a match made in heaven. The good news is that this product does not cost much more than you would expect to pay for just a fan bus, AND the price includes the cold cathode lighting, inverter, and the switch. The NXP-301 configuration and design allows a user with very little experience to add a fan bus and lighting in the same installation; there is no need to drill holes to mount the lighting switch, once you install the NXP-301 away you go. We think this is a great solution and time saver. We recommend the NXP-301 for purchase. However, if you are going to buy it over the Internet, do some on line comparison pricing, as prices vary widely for this product.