I’m sitting at my desk in my nice comfortable chair, I have the 5.1 surround sound speakers in the perfect positions, the mouse and the keyboard are primed for fragging, BUT I CAN’T HEAR THE DAMNED GAME because my computer is TOO loud!!! There is a solution that doesn’t require losing fans. I’m not introducing you to a revolutionary product here, or one that will change computer cooling forever. I am, however, introducing you to one company’s idea on what a rheobus is. Sunbeam is the company and the Easy Fan Controller Rheobus kit #2 is the product.
If cooling and noise are issues for consideration in your box then a rheobus is something that will most likely find a home with you. The main function of a rheobus is to be able to adjust voltages to various things with ease. A good example of this and the most widely adopted use for this is with fans. At different times in the day you will use your computer differently. During the times when you are stressing your system more you can adjust the voltages on the rheobus to make your fans spin faster or at maximum speeds by increasing the voltage. Inversely, you can decrease the speed of the fans for less noise during periods of normal use.
Sunbeam has done a very nice job of adapting this rheobus for those of us with aluminum cases. There are 2 colors available with this particular kit, black and silver and both feature aluminum knobs. The one we will be looking at here is Kit #2 in black. Kit #2, what the hell is that? Well, it sports some features that kit # 1 doesn’t. Sunbeam has decided to outfit this rheobus with 20 watts of power per channel, this means that you will be able to run your Delta screamer and your Vantec Tornado fans at full speed for max noise, or tone them down until you are doing some really CPU intensive things. Have a look.
One of the first things you will notice about this unit when looking at it is its very large heatsinks. Adequate cooling is necessary for anything that gets to manipulate electrical current in the manner that this does. I think the size of these heatsinks might be a bit overboard but more is better than not enough when it comes to cooling. They are fastened very securely so if you are a LAN gamer and bring your box around with you, you don’t have to worry about metal objects floating around in your case.
This unit uses bare wire leads, which I consider one of its’ greatest assets. Most of the competition uses 3 or 4 pin molex connections. With bare wire leads it doesn’t matter what kind of connection your fan has on it because you are going to cut it off anyway, strip the ends, and insert them into the fan connector. This is also beneficial if you require longer length wires because now it will be easier to splice 2 sets together. When inserted, simply screw the retention mechanism down and your wires aren’t going anywhere. They also make connecting things together very simple by labeling where to insert the wires.
When your devices are connected you have a ton of control with regards to the amount of “juice” they are getting. The knobs have a full range of values, from low to high voltage. At the start you are in the OFF position and with a slight turn you click to the lowest voltage. This is indicated by the LED going from off to red. With further adjusting you will notice that the LED goes from red to blue, this happens when you pass the 7 volt mark, from then on you are in the blue.
If noise is an issue and cooling is important, then a rheobus should be a consideration for you. With the ability to adjust the voltages on fans you can maintain maximum cooling when you need it, and minimize noise when you don’t need it. Sunbeam has made a very nice product, functionally, the appearance is simple and effective, but I would have liked to have seen some more flare, without being obtrusive. If you are considering a rheobus, this one should top your list.