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CoolerMaster Musketeer

Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be some sort of connection between gear heads and computer nerds that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's that we both are trying to go as fast as we can, no matter what it costs us (so long as we can find a way to convince the wife), but whatever the reason you can be assured that Cooler Master was aware of this connection when they designed the Musketeer. After all, few things scream Hot-Rod like Old School lighted analog gauges. I would venture a guess that at least one of the guys on the Musketeer design team has a old Muscle car stored away in the garage somewhere.

Musketeer Box Closed     Musketeer Box Open

Cooler Master has always produced some of the computer industry's slickest packaging and the Musketeer is no exception. It's not all show and no go either as the unit is safely encased in two fat Styrofoam sleeves. The instructions are possibly a little lacking in written details, but nonetheless do a fairly good job of summarizing the use and installation of the product. If you have any questions and you just might hooking up the VU (more on this later) there is also several handy diagrams included. The features and specs listed below were pulled off the back of the Musketeer box.

Specifications

Voltage (Left) dial display: DC 0 to 12V
VU (middle) dial display: -20 to +3dB
Temperature (right) dial display: 10-90 Celsius/ 50-180 Fahrenheit
Voltage adjustment: DC 6 to approximately 11V (IC controlled)
Sound pressure: -20 to +3dB (depends on the input from sound card)

Features

Connects directly to your computer's +12V DC power source
No software required
Reflective Blue L.E.D. Display
Easy to install
Requires only one 5 1/4 drive bay
Sound pressures for audio device
Operator controlled fans allow for energy conservation and noise reduction
Suitable for PC equipped with Audio device & high-speed fan

Installation

Installation was a relatively straight forward process that took a total of fifteen minutes. The Musketeer fit snugly in the drive bay, the screw holes matched the railess case fine. The cables are also long enough that they should fit anywhere in all but the most extreme mutant small refrigerator sized cases. The first connector I attached was the standard four pin Molex power connector, next I moved on to the thermistor (temp probe) which after plugging in I chose to leave it dangling so it could monitor ambient case temperature although you can also tape it near the CPU for some rough processor temps, next I plugged in the IC fan speed controller to the four pin Molex connector on the CPU fan, also included is a another connector for use with fans that use RPM monitoring.

Musketeer Box Contents

Musketeer Face

To hookup the VU you plug the wire attached to the inside of the PCI bracket to the rear middle of your Musketeer from there you attach the bracket, then you plug the included 3.5 mm stereo cable from the sound card output to the PCI bracket input, your speakers then attach to the bracket output. Now you have to adjust the software volume so the peak output doesn't exceed that shown in the VU gauge red zone. Failure to adjust this properly will cause sound clipping, especially in MP3 playback.

Musketeer Rear

Usage

After installation of the Musketeer I began fooling around with the two front sliders and discovered that the left slider which controls fan voltages only let me adjust the voltage between 6v-10v! In all fairness to Cooler Master this is noted in the unit specifications that I had overlooked, they even go so far as to claim that this shortcoming is a feature as it prevents your fans from being damaged by overvoltage. This is complete nonsense, as 12v is the voltage these fans are specced to run at.

Musketeer Fan Voltage

This is a major shortcoming which IMO renders the Musketeer unsuitable for the hardcore crowd, particularly if you are overclocking. 10V is generally not enough to cool your overclocked CPU when it is running at full load. In my case the CPU load temps went up 4C after installation because the Musketeer wasn't running my 92mm Delta at anywhere close to full speed. What makes this especially frustrating is that it could be easily remedied by making the fan controller Rheostat, or PWM, instead of IC based.

I had no such problems with the VU meter, in all my testing it functioned correctly. The problem with the VU meter was one of usefulness, or rather its lack of. Just how many sound adjustments do you need? You already have a software sound level control, and a speaker volume control, do you really need a VU control too? Much more useful IMO would have been a second fan controller.

Musketeer Mounted

Conclusion:

The Musketeer is a classic example of form over function. The styling and looks of the Musketeer are by far the nicest I have seen in this price range (39 bucks), however its inability to run a fan at full speed as well as the questionable inclusion of the sound meter greatly limits this products usefulness to the hardcore crowd. Now if you are strictly a case modder running your low or medium speed CPU at stock levels, who is only interested in good looks and quiet operation and is willing to overlook the above fan speed problem, as well as the mostly useless sound meter the Musketeer maybe right for you.

I am left with having to give the Musketeer a split score, if you are an overclocker I give this product 3 stars, if you are strictly a case modder I give it 4 stars. Thanks go to Crazy PC for donating this product for review. They sponsor many of the reviews on this site.

Pros:

  • Unique analog styling
  • Decent Price
  • Long cables

Cons:

  • Limited fan voltage adjustment
  • Sound meter somewhat useless

 Crazy PC

Added: October 7th 2003
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 6  
Related Link: Cooler Master
Hits: 11086
Language: english

  

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