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SunbeamTech Rheobus

Introduction

Generally hot and loud are 2 words that describe most power users PC's. Fan noise becomes more intrusive as we attempt to cool our monster PC's. However there are many products on the market that will help in reducing fan noise, while maintaining a nice airflow within the case. We have a slick product from Sunbeam that does both. Today we review the Rheobus fan controller.

The Package

Sunbeam Rheobus

The package came with the following items:

Rheobus
Color Instructions
Molex Y splitter cable
6 Screws

Specifications:

Sunbeam Rheobus Front

-Power : 20 watt per channel
-Input voltage : DC 12V
-Output voltage: 0 ~ 12 V
-Output current: up to 1.67 A
-Dim: 148.5x 105x 42 mm
-Weight( Net) : 184

Features

Sunbeam Rheobus Inside

Anodized Aluminum Knobs
High Quality Rheostats
Extra Large Heatsinks
Printed circuit board to reduce wiring mess
Pre-Assembled Kit

Installation

Over all installation was very easy. The device mounts in an open 5 & 1/4 drive bay. My drive rails had screw holes that worked in the first set of holes in the rheostat mounting holes. However the second/single hole did not fit. There were 4 of the six holes being used to secure the rheostat thus it was stable, but I would have liked to have seen a couple of holes further down the bay module to give it a more rigid mounting.

Subeamtech Rheobus Mounting

Power is delivered to the rheostat via one 4 pin Molex power plug. Sunbeam was nice enough to include one Y adapter to allow you to split power off of another device if you power supply is already powering many other devices. The fans that were in this case were Sunon with the 4 pin power plug and do not work with this rheostat, since the power connector was not the 3 pin variety. The Rheostat will power the Sunon fans, if you have a 4 to 3 pin converter or if you put a 3 pin power plug on your fan. Remember, the Rheostat will power 20W per Channel. So you could actually put multiple fans on each of the 4 channels, if you had the proper power cables to do so.

Rheobus Up Close

I ran into a problem when plugging my fans into the rheostat. 2 of my fans power cables were not long enough to plug in. I had to find some power extensions to give them enough length to reach. It would be nice if Sunbeam had included a couple of power cable extensions.

Running

After the install was complete, I turned on the system to see the LEDs light up and the fans kick on. When the dial is above half power the LED turns from Red to Blue. The nice thing is that with an additional adapter you can hook up your CCFL's from Sunbeam and use the Rheostat to Dim the light output to suit your needs. There are a total of 4 channels that can be used with the Rheostat, again with 20w per channel.

Sunbeam Rheobus Running

Comparison

In the past I reviewed the FanBus Controller by FanStorm which is very similar to the Sunbeam Rheostat. There are some differences. The Rheostat regulates the fan speed by a resistor which in turn produces heat. The Fanstorm product uses a technology called Pulse Width which does not produce heat.

I wanted to see if I could see any noticeable difference in heat when I fired up a high power fan. So I rigged a Vantec Tornado fan up to the Rheostat, because it will pull at max 9 watts, which is like 3x the power consumption of most fans. Remember the rheostat only uses a 3 pin power connector, so I managed to purchase a CPU Temp alarm kit from CompUSA for $10 that had an adapter I could use. After I installed the Tornado I ran it at the lowest speed to for an hour and I was not able to notice any real difference in case temps. It did notice that when I cranked up the power on the Rheostat the case temps did drop, but that was probably because of the 84 CFM of airflow that was now being blasted thru the case. In any case, the heat produced by the Rheostat was in my opinion, negligible. Now keep in mind this was only 1 channel that was being loaded up at less than half its max rated power.

Conclusion:

So, did I like the Sunbeam Rheostat? Yes! It was easy to install and gives me complete control over my fans and consequently the ability to control the noise my PC emits. The optional black bezel is a very nice touch and would go well with any black case. The silver would be great with most aluminum cases. One thing I did not stress enough is the brightness of the LED's.

Rheobus Lit 1

They blow the doors off the LED's on the FanStorm I reviewed earlier. 2 things I would like to see would be some extra power cables/converters and some way for the Rheobus to automatically control airflow according to temp settings I choose.

Rheobus Lit 2

Pros:

  • Aluminum Bezels in Black and Silver
  • 20Watts per Channel X 4
  • Quick Install
  • Pre-Assembled
  • Bright LEDs

Cons:

  • No power cable extensions
  • Only accepts 3 pin molex power

Added: May 23rd 2003
Reviewer: KingKash
Score: 9  
Related Link: SunbeamTech
Hits: 6677
Language: english

  

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