Date: January 18th, 2005
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product Submitted by: Thermaltake
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
The Hardcano 13 installs like any other big bay device by sliding it into an available bay and securing it with the included screws. Thermaltake recommends that the temperature probe from one channel be placed as to control a fan in the same area. For example, if "FAN1" on the Hardcano is used to control the CPU cooling fan, the corresponding thermal probe should be attached to the heatsink as close to the processor as possible and connected to the "T1" header on the device. This allows the fan speed and temperature to be monitored on the same screen displayed on the Hardcano. While not absolutely necessary, this makes the Hardcano much easier to use and it will operate more efficiently in Auto mode. More on this later.
This seems like a good place to mention a few "quirks" of the Hardcano in relation to its fan control capabilities. The vast majority of three pin fans will work with no problems. Four pin fans require the use of a special adapter (two are included with the Hardcano) and the manual covers this nicely. Two pin fan speeds can be controlled by the Hardcano, but fan speed will not be displayed. Attaching more than one fan to a single channel is not recommended, and can cause incorrect RPM reporting and device malfunction.
After attaching the temperature probes with the included thermal tape and connecting the fans to the appropriate headers, the USB cable can be plugged into the motherboard and the power connection can be made.
After pressing the power button, I was greeted with a very pleasant blue glow from the LCD screen. The characters on the screen are easily read even from the most oblique angles and the screen has a very even appearance with no light or dark areas.
As mentioned above, the control buttons are very intuitive and easy to use. The manual explains the various controls and their functions quite well, so I'll only briefly discuss them here. The Hardcano13 has two modes of operation: auto and manual. In auto mode, the fan speed is controlled automatically by the Hardcano, using input from the thermal probe associated with that fan, increasing fan speed as temperature rises. Alarm thresholds can be set in auto mode, but fan speed cannot be changed. Manual mode allows the user to adjust alarm thresholds as well as fan speed. Fan speed is controlled by turning the center knob and, in my case RPMs could be adjusted between 1400 and 2300. As they say at the car lot, your mileage may vary. Pressing "A/M" toggles between auto and manual. Alarm settings are changed by pressing the Alarm button until the desired temperature threshold appears on the display. There are only four choices available: 40C, 50C, 60C and 70C (104F, 122F, 140F and 158F). Although limited, the thresholds should provide ample protection for the majority of users. The alarm will also activate when the Hardcano senses fan failure. When alarm thresholds are exceeded, the display flashes red and the device emits a beeping sound.
Pressing the "Fan" button allows the user to choose one of the four channels to monitor or adjust settings. The "Color" button changes the display color to one of eight available. The "C/F" button toggles the temperature display between Celsius and Fahrenheit while the "Clock" button, in conjunction with the rotary knob is used to set the clock.
Opening "My Computer" should show four additional devices with removable storage, indicating that the card reader is working. When a media card is inserted into the reader, the display shows which type of media is in use. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could also transfer files from the computer onto the media card. Moving files to and from the card proved to be very quick and easy.