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Old 04-10-2006, 11:47 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default CrystalFontz CFA-635

With the dearth of fan controllers and temperature monitors on the market today it's not very often that you run across one that brings a whole lot more to the table. Today we're taking a look at one that brings more than just fan speed control and simple temp reporting.

After reading the review here, you can discuss it here!

I never considered getting one of these before, but this looks damn sweet.
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Old 04-11-2006, 12:04 AM   #2
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Killer reviews Matt. I have had my eye on a similar product from Silverstone and seeing what you could do with yours might speed up my decision. Thorough review...
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:40 AM   #3
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I looked at that Silverstone one you put up in the Staff Forum and it's just a basic 2-line VFD display. No fan control. You should check out Matrix Orbital. They have a nice unit similar to the 635. Me, I'm used to CF so I wanted to review this one and I wasn't disapointed.
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:55 PM   #4
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Awesome product. I like the fully configurable software and 32 sensor option. The only thing that really confuses me is how big the temp sensors are. I've used the smaller ones before for cpu control, but never tried to find how accurate they were. My guess is that the larger diodes allow for more surface covering, meaning a more exact reading. The display is quite nice, and I like the different color options available. I'm sure a lot of modders could go for something like this.

The leds.... Can CF explain why they're not incorporated yet? If the company is going to spend the money to add them to the product, I'd think they would make sure it works.

I'm not in need of something like this but I do like the principle of it. I would think that this would give the modder market something to buzz about.
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:17 PM   #5
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I never asked to be honest, I assume it will be added in in the newer versions of Crystal Control 2 just like the user configurable screens.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:22 PM   #6
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One thing I'd like to mention, I gave the unit the Editors Choice award based on it's value. You'd have to spend as much for what the display does if you purchased a front panel temp monitor and something like the Sunbeam PCI fan controller and still not have as many options as far as displayed content on the front screen. The 635 can display your playlists in Winamp, it can monitor and display software temps in SpeedFan and Rivatuner among other things. In fact if I listed everything it can display I'd have needed 20 pages of space for the review, it's simply that amazing the number of things that you can have going on with the front panel on this.

I also forgot to mention that I think CrystalFontz should include some sort of thermal adhesive for the temp probes. I mentioned it in there but I forgot to list it as a negative, sorry about those omisions.
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Old 04-13-2006, 10:05 AM   #7
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Nice review, and a nice product obviously. I would prefer the lighting to be more subtle, to be more in line with my personal PC case (CMSTacker), but tastes differ.

One other thing: you do realise that the word "dearth" means "shortage", while I guess you meant "abundance", "plethora" or something similar. That would convey the sense that this product stands out in a large crowd of otherwise unremarkable fan controllers.
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Old 04-13-2006, 11:02 AM   #8
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Yep, I guess that Rob'll need to remedy that. Thanks for knocking me down a peg <3
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Old 04-30-2006, 09:03 PM   #9
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Hi,

I do some freelance work for Crystalfontz, and I just thought I would mention that the LED's (and keypad) of the CFA-635 can be programmed. If interested, refer to this thread: http://www.crystalfontz.com/forum/sh...&threadid=4322.

For keypad programming, refer to this thread: http://www.crystalfontz.com/forum/sh...&threadid=4321.

Regarding the SCAB, I have to agree that some fans are not PWM friendly. This is not what I would call a "fault" of PWM controllers, just a case of fan/PWM incompatibility. I had those Delta fans from a Swiftech Apex kit hooked to the SCAB. I hated them at any speed. I replaced them with a pair of Scythe S-FLEX 120mm Case Fan, 1600RPM, Model: SFF21F fans. Almost the same CFM rating, VERY quiet even at full RPM and very PWM friendly.

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Old 04-30-2006, 09:15 PM   #10
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After looking at both threads all I can say is I am completely lost. The same can be said of programing the screens. A man should know his limitations and all three of those are beyond mine.

I'm looking forward to seeing CC2 configured with a user interface for doing those functions without requiring any real programing. I respect the heck out of guys like you, Jim, because you have the ability to do things like that and I'm happy that you are around to help guys like me over at CF's forums.

Welcome to out humble site and I hope to see you around showing off your building skills

Edit: I tried the Swiftech fans on the CFA-635 and I didn't have any problem with their sound. The sound they made was very subtle, I hardly noticed it at all. Now the RPM wouldn't report at all with those fans but I don't hold that against either the fans or the 635, sometimes these things happen. As to the fan that does clatter, it's a 120mm X 38mm Delta that's considerably more powerful than the ones provided by Swiftech. It makes so much noise that it sounds like a squirrel sized diesel engine idling in my PC. You don't really notice it until you're trying to go to sleep of a night.
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Last edited by madmat; 04-30-2006 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmat
After looking at both threads all I can say is I am completely lost. The same can be said of programing the screens. A man should know his limitations and all three of those are beyond mine.

I'm looking forward to seeing CC2 configured with a user interface for doing those functions without requiring any real programing. I respect the heck out of guys like you, Jim, because you have the ability to do things like that and I'm happy that you are around to help guys like me over at CF's forums.

Welcome to out humble site and I hope to see you around showing off your building skills

Edit: I tried the Swiftech fans on the CFA-635 and I didn't have any problem with their sound. The sound they made was very subtle, I hardly noticed it at all. Now the RPM wouldn't report at all with those fans but I don't hold that against either the fans or the 635, sometimes these things happen. As to the fan that does clatter, it's a 120mm X 38mm Delta that's considerably more powerful than the ones provided by Swiftech. It makes so much noise that it sounds like a squirrel sized diesel engine idling in my PC. You don't really notice it until you're trying to go to sleep of a night.

If you or anyone else wants ANY help regarding CF screens/LED's/Keypad, or anything else CC2, please post a request over at the CF forums, http://www.crystalfontz.com/forum/index.php?s=. If I can't help, there is always someone else who probably can.

And FWIW, the GUI version of CC2 is starting to ramp-up to a nearly complete piece of software. Hopefully, users should see something within the next 2-3 months (but don't quote me on that!).

And regarding those Swiftech Delta fans. I had the exact same problem. No fan speed output. CC2 or Delta, I cannot answer. Never had a problem with any other fan, except these. And I guess if you have diesel engine sounding fans in your PC, I guess the smaller Deltas would seem quiet by comparison. One of main reasons I went to water was to keep the PC cool with MINIMAL noise level.

I think I succeded, in that regard!

Jim
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:06 PM   #12
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Minor update, in the Zero review I decided to use the CFA-635 again. Since then the module has been locking up and requiring a full reboot to get it going again. I've started a thread here in their support forums and I emailed the address I was given to to try to rectify the situation. So far I've recieved one reply from their support personnel that was less than helpful in that they couldn't figure out why I was emailing them even though I had linked the post in their forum.

Kind of sad since I was pretty impressed at the help I'd received in their forums. I'll keep you updated with what transpires.
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Last edited by madmat; 10-20-2006 at 03:08 PM.
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