Review of the AeroCool V12 and Touch-2000 Fan Controller Panels

Summary: We are taking a look at AeroCool’s new fan controller panels with LCD temperature monitors. Both include a great number of add-ons for desktop PCs and add a touch of distinction.


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Most users hardly take notice of their PC’s front panel, except if it has great visual impact. But a front panel isn’t just an aesthetic component. It plays an essential part that often goes unnoticed.



INTRODUCTION


Front panels like the AeroCool V12 and the AeroCool Touch-2000 give you total control over cooling your PC. They also let you know the temperature of your PC’s various components. For a normal PC user, this may not seem of much value. But for advanced users, it’s very valuable, because it lets them adjust the fans as needed and avoid overly high temperatures that can damage components. Demanding users who are noise conscious can also use these panels to control the fan speed. This reduces noise considerably and produces a quieter environment.


 

AeroCool understands the needs of the most demanding users. To satisfy them, it provides the V12 and the Touch-2000. Although there are small differences between them, they both feature a very large LCD display, which you can manipulate by touch.


Before starting a detailed analysis, let’s see the panels’ specs and features:


AeroCool V12 Features

-Innovative LCD touchscreen technology

-Control panel design inspired by sports cars

-Monitors and controls 4 sets of temperature and fan speed individually

-LCD backlight ON/OFF

-Switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit

-Overheating alarm temperature warning

-Fan working display

-Locking function to prevent accidental changes


AeroCool Touch-2000 Features

-Innovative LCD touchscreen technology

-Fan function indicators

-Monitors and controls 4 sets of temperature and fan speed individually

-LCD backlight ON/OFF

-Switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit

-Overheating alarm temperature warning

-Locking function to prevent accidental changes

-1 x e-SATA, 2 x USB, mic & headphone connectors


AeroCool V12 Technical Specs

Dimensions: 149.5 (W) x 85 (H) x 70 (D) mm = 5.9 X 3.3 X 2.8″

LCD size: 115 (W) x 57 (H) mm = 4.5 X 2.2″

Connectors: 4 x 3 pin connectors / 4 x heat sensors

Max power for each fan: 6W


AeroCool Touch-2000 Technical Specs

Dimensions: 149.5 (W) x 85 (H) x 70 (D) mm = 5.9 X 3.3 X 2.8″

LCD size: 115 (W) x 57 (H) mm = 4.5 X 2.2″

Connectors: 4 x 3 pin connectors / 4 x heat sensors

Max power for each fan: 6W




FIRST IMPRESSIONS


Both panels come in small cardboard boxes of identical size. The front includes a large photo that shows the panel and highlights its touchscreen features with a logo that represents a finger. The only difference we saw here is that the V12 box has checkered bands reminiscent of auto racing, while the Touch-2000 box has the same colors and designs as AeroCool’s other products.


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The back of each box has a drawing of the LCD, detailing each element that appears onscreen. The screens of the two panels are different, but they have much in common and are both very intuitive.


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The sides of the V12 and Touch-2000 boxes list the products’ technical specs, in various languages.


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When we opened the boxes, we saw that each panel was protected by two pieces of plastic. Although they do the job, they’re not as rigid, and don’t provide the same level of protection, as we’ve seen in other AeroCool products. Despite this, the protection is more than enough. When we took off the plastic and took out the two panels, we noticed that some of the accessories were the same and some were different. The AeroCool V12 includes two extra heat sensors with adhesives for mounting them, and a set of screws for installing the panel in 5.25″ bays. The Touch-2000 has the same main accessories as the V12, but it also includes a SATA cable for the e-SATA port, a USB cable for each of the panel’s 2 USB ports, and an AC’97 cable for the included microphone and headset connectors.


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Both products have the same user manual, except for descriptions of their different LCDs. They’re brief and concise and perfectly cover any doubts you might have about installing and running either model.


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A DETAILED LOOK AT THE AEROCOOL PANELS


The AeroCool V12 and Touch-2000 are both quality products. The Touch-2000 is made of brushed aluminum and finished with diamond cutting. The back of the V12 is fashioned in plastic, but this doesn’t make it look careless. On the contrary, the finish of both panels is spectacular. The back of the panel is black, no matter what material it’s made of.



The sides include cutouts for attaching the V12 or Touch-2000 panel to a chassis. It’s important to remember that both the V12 and the Touch-2000 occupy two 5.25″ bays.


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The back of each panel has a control board. Its PCB is blue and takes up the entire reverse side of the screen. As far as we could see, this plate is the same in both models, except for something you can see in the lower part of the left-hand image above—the Touch-2000, on the right, has a plate that includes 1e-Sata connector, 2 USB ports, and the mike-in and audio-out connectors. A number of cables come out from the plate. These include cables for the heat sensors and fan speed controllers.


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Both the V12 and the Touch-2000 use a Molex connector for power. Aside from power, each one has 2 different sets of cables. On one side, each has 4 heat sensors, and on the other, four 3-pin connectors to control fan speed. Both panels individually control 4 temperature settings and the fan speed. Although the cabling may look chaotic, all the heat sensors and fan speed controllers are labeled for easy identification on the LCD. The heat sensors for both panels have different labels that tell you how to call up the temperature readings on the LCD. The heat probes on the left are from the Touch-2000 and those on the right from the V12.


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INSTALLATION AND TESTING


We installed each panel in a Tacens Aluminum chassis. It’s a box that looks spectacular, with a style all its own. To install either panel, we simply connected its Molex to the power supply, connected the fan’s power cables to the panel’s connectors, and installed the heat sensors.


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Once either panel’s cabling was connected, it showed us the RPM for each fan, and the temperature of each of the heat sensors. Although the LCD interface may look different between the V12 and the Touch-2000, the data shown, and way to access that data, are the same.


The most important thing about both models is that they operate by touch. Many of their competitors include large LCD screens, but you can’t access the LCD by touch. They use the classic solution of having buttons to move around the screen.


Although their interfaces are somewhat different, we’ll try to state the functions that are common to both the V12 and the Touch-2000, all of which you access from the screen. On both models, you press the AeroCool logo to turn the LCDs backlighting on or off (for a few seconds to turn it off, briefly to turn it on.



By pressing the lock icon inside the AeroCool logo, you can lock or unlock your settings, to make changes or to prevent accidental changes. Pressing a nearby onscreen button lets you switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit. You can switch between viewing the current temperature and alarm temperature for each fan by pressing the digits that show that fan’s temperature. To set an alarm temperature, press its numbers for 3 seconds. You can then press “+” or “-” to adjust the temperature to anything from 25-90ºC (68-194º F). Finally, to change a fan’s speed, press the digits for that fan. You can then press “+” or “-” to adjust the speed in intervals of 100 RPM. The lowest possible speed for a fan is 50% — in other words, the possible speeds for a 2000 RPM fan are from 1000 to 2000 RPM.


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The LCD screen looks fantastic, but its visibility goes down noticeably as the angle of vision increases or in bright light. The V12 and Touch-2000 really stand out in low light, allowing you to really appreciate the colorfulness of their screens.


The measurements made by the heat sensors are very reliable. They gave almost identical results to those we obtained measuring the temperature by software.




CONCLUSIONS


If AeroCool was trying to dazzle the most demanding users, they succeeded. They have created two high-quality panels with a large touchscreen that lets users control them in a very intuitive manner. The panels also give a unique style to any case in which you install them. More importantly than the style, they let you control your cooling system and adapt it to your circumstances. That’s something priceless. Even better, at a price of about $60, they won’t burn a hole in your pocket. The main difference between the two units is that the Touch-2000 has better connectivity, and that the visible part of it is finished in aluminum. But whichever one you choose, it will be one that surpassed our expectations.


AeroCool V12

Strong Points

Weak Points

Good finishing

Poor visibility from some angles

Intuitive touchscreen


Provides excellent control of fan speed and temperature


Adds value to your PC


Good price



AeroCool V12

Packaging

0.5/0.5

Quality and finishing

1.3/1.5

Monitoring options

2.8/3

Control options

2.8/3

Price

1.7/2

Total

9.1/10

 

The final score is 91 out of 100 owls, and we give the “AeroCool V12 Fan Controller Panel” our Editor’s Choice Award.


TestSeek Labs Editor's Choice 2009 Award

AeroCool Touch 2000

Strong Points

Weak Points

High-quality materials and finishing

Poor visibility from some angles

Intuitive touchscreen


Provides excellent control of fan speed and temperature


Adds value to your PC


Great connectivity



AeroCool Touch-2000

Packaging

0.5/0.5

Quality and finishing

1.5/1.5

Monitoring options

2.8/3

Control options

2.8/3

Price

1.7/2

Total

9.3/10

 

The final score is 93 out of 100 owls, and we give the “AeroCool Touch-2000 Fan Controller Panel” our Editor’s Choice Award.

 

TestSeek Labs Editor's Choice 2009 Award


Thanks to BIOMAG and AeroCool for loaning us the V12 and Touch-2000 panels for this review.


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Author: Noel Íñiquez Fernández

Translator: Ed Winograd


  1. Joe
    January 29th, 2010 at 19:39 | #1

    So… can it automagically control the fan speed? Can I set it to keep my HDs at ~110 degrees and it’ll adjust speed to meet that request?

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