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mCubed T-Balancer Review - Page 1 of 1

Have you ever wanted to control the noise your fans make, but not wanted to mod out the case to add a bunch of rheostats and switches? This little device may help you out. It's called the T-Balancer. Made by an Austrian company called mCubed, and provided by 3DCool, the T-Balancer is a computer climate system with a "noiseless" mode. How's the sound? Listen up.

PACKAGING AND DESCRIPTION

The product is the T-Balancer TBAN-SL4 by mCubed. They describe this unit as:

The first climate control system with a truly unique noiseless mode. Traditional fan control systems only reduce the fan speed by 50%, while the T-Balancer reduces the fan speed by 90%. It is even possible to completely stop, or turn the fan off, without any harm to your PC, something which is highly unique for fan control systems world-wide.

Package

The unit came packaged in a nice box with a bunch of cables and sensors. It had everything in the box, minus two very important things-information on the following...

DOCUMENTATION AND INSTALLATION

Well, in order to install this guy, I had to figure out what I needed to do to install it. That involved reading the manual. Wait a minute, do you see a manual in this picture?

Package Contents

That's right, no manual and no CD software came with my T-Balancer, although it says they're included on the side of the box. A quick hit to the mCubed website, and I found the manuals in pdf format and the software under the support tab. I also found a quick install guide that helped me to install the mass of cables and sensors.

In order to install the card in my case, I had to unscrew the two screws in the rear plate so they could clear my slot rails. I then tightened them back up so the card was mounted to the case in a stable fashion. This was a little annoying, as I have never had to do this for any other card.

Card Secured to the Case

I then had to connect my fans and the supplied sensors to the T-Balancer. This created a lot of spaghetti, but I love Italian food. I then added more pasta by using the supplied internal USB wires to connect the T-Balancer to one of my internal USB connectors. Upon powering up my PC, 3 of the sensors didn't light up. The problem? I reversed one of the cables for the sensors. So, I powered down, reversed the cable in question, and then powered back up. 4 glowing amber sensors. Way cool.

Card Closeup

At first I tried to install Version 2 of the software. I quickly discovered that it requires that Version 1 of the software be installed. Since I hadn't installed Version 1, it wouldn't let me upgrade the firmware, which is a requirement for Version 2 of the software. So I uninstalled Version 2 and installed Version 1. Any attempt to upgrade Version 1 to Version 2 failed. The software continued to think that Version 2 was installed and would not allow an upgrade to the firmware. At this point I really wanted to play with it, so after a quick reboot everything was finally recognized, and I was able to get started configuring Version 1 of the software.

SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION

Configuration of the T-Balancer occurs through the software. I started off by first naming the fans and the sensors. I only connected 3 fans, although the T-Balancer allows for 4 (more if you have any fan power splitters), and I named those fans in accordance to where they were located in my case. I then named the 4 sensors in accordance to where they were located in the case. The next step in the configuration was calibration of the sensor temperatures. You can calibrate the sensors from 1-250%, with 100% being the base temperature for that sensor. If you set the calibration percentage higher, the T-Balancer thinks the base temperature is higher, and thus will output more power to the fan that is connected to that sensor.

Software

Software Options

Next you set the critical temperature, or the temperature at which you would like the T-Balancer to send out an alert. After this, you assign fans to sensors. Now you can control the responses of each fan. You can choose to have a fan speed up in a progressive, degressive, step-by-step, or linear fashion. These options provide the ultimate control over how the fans behave when the temperatures start to warm up under load. Once you have configured all these configurations, the T-Balancer is ready to go.

OPERATION

This device can keeps your fans running at optimal speeds, no more, no less than necessary. You have control over the operation of all your fans through the software configuration, and the device just flat out works. You can see the T-Balancer working by watching the actual fans and the monitor included in the software while you are running apps that cause the computer to heat up. You'll be able to see the fans speed up to compensate for the extra load.

A Couple of Configuration Options

If I would want to make the T-Balancer run the fans more or less, I can adjust the calibration on the sensors. This would case the T-Balancer to think that the inside of the case is warmer or cooler than it really is, and power the fans accordingly. While this isn't the best practice, for those who like to tweak, it's really the way to go.

Software Monitor

CONCLUSION

My test machine ran quieter than usual at idle and also under load. I'd say the T-Balancer does its job, and does it well. I would have liked to have gotten Version 2 of the software to work, but Version 1 did everything promised. Get one of these if you use fan cooling...are in a fan club...or just enjoy the breeze.

Please feel free to post any feedback here.


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