A Good Showing For All Of The Products That We Tested!
It is not very often that we can honestly say that "all" of the products that we review in a particular article tested well. However, this was the case with this review. All of the units that we tested passed our testing with no problems. There were a few shortcomings with some of the units, as noted, but to meet the very specialized needs of case modders and fan bus users requires an array of products that can do a variety of things.
Vantec clearly has the leadership in this product category; however, they could make a few improvements on some of their products that would enhance their value and should not require a major design change in the product. Vantec also has an advantage over the other products due to its larger distribution channels, broader variety of product offerings and more competitive pricing than many of the its competitors can offer.
The ("Magic") Fan Bus Arrives At Its Destination, But Not The End Of The Line
After taking our first ride on the fan bus, we feel one product deserves an Editor's Choice award, and two others that were very close deserve an Honorable Mention award. The Honorable Mention awards go to the Vantec Nexus NXP-301 and the Coolermaster Musketeer LLC-U01; both of these products were close to perfect, but just a little short of the Editor's Choice winner.
The Vantec NXP-301 is a beginning case modder's dream configuration, as it allows novices to do a little experimentation with a fan bus while also adding a lighting solution at a very reasonable price. On the other hand, the Coolermaster Musketeer LLC-U01 is an elegant solution that is a work of art; it deserves great kudos for its unique retro design with analog VU meters. The quality and design of this unit will appeal to many case modders, as this unit will look great in almost any case that you could put it in. If either of these two products meets your needs, then there is no reason not to consider purchasing them; they are of excellent quality and they do what they are supposed to do very well.
As for the THG Editor's Choice product, we award it to the newcomer, Super Flower/TTGI, for its Fan Master SF-609. The Fan Master SF-609 offers the most features of the products reviewed here at an incredible value for the price. Clearly, this four channel fan bus offers more options and features than any of the other products reviewed here. If you were going to purchase this product for a novice, the Fan Master SF-609 offers a level of protection with its temperature alarms that aren't available from some of the other products; we feel that this temperature monitoring automation is an important feature that many users will require if fan busses are to become more mainstream. The changeable colors on the display and the interchangeable bezels are just more "icing on the cake" for an already exceptional product. The Fan Master SF-609 is the one that we would choose for our own systems, and is the one we recommend for most users.
We learned some things during our first ride on the ("magic") fan bus. This product category is still evolving and new products are still being developed. Fan buses are going to get better and more intelligent with each generation. While the price will likely increase, so will the amount of features and capabilities. With more advanced and capable features and new innovations, the fan bus still has more routes to explore and many more stops to make before it finally arrives at the end of the line and heads back to the terminal.