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Sunbeamtech 20 in 1 Superior Panel - Page 2 of 2
Posted: March 31, 2005
Author: dadx2mj
Manufacturer: Sunbeamtech
Source: Sunbeamtech
Comment or Question: Post Here

Impressions:

The Sunbeamtech 20 in 1 panel is very similar to the Enermax 18 in 1 Panel that we reviewed in September of 2004. The main differences are that the Enermax panel has two LED knobs for the fan controllers where the Sunbeamtech has two small wheels, and the Enermax panel lacks the three audio ports for line in, microphone, headphone, as well as the video out port that the Sunbeamtech model offers.

Sunbeamtech did a fine job packing all these features into the space of a 5.25” drive bay. The unit is very well constructed and the layout is very convenient and easy to use. The fan control knobs, mode button, and reset button are pretty small, but even with my big fingers they were very easy to use. In addition, all of the ports and card reader slots are clearly marked as to their function.

Installation:

Before you can actually install the panel, you must set the jumpers on it first. The jumpers are used to determine whether the temperature monitoring LCD will read in Fahrenheit or Celsius, and to set the temperature that the overheating alarm will be triggered at. The jumpers are a little hard to get to, but with a pair of tweezers it was not too much trouble setting them up. The alarm can be set to go off in increments of 5 degree Celsius with a range between 45C for a low, and 80C for a high. I set the test unit up to monitor temperatures in Celsius and with an alarm trip point of 55C.

As you can see by the picture of the panel below, there are a lot of wires and cables and it will be a challenge for most to connect them all and keep the interior of the case looking neat. It does look somewhat intimidating but it really is not that bad.

Click Image For Larger View

The panel mounts with two screws in an open 5.25” drive bay, then you will need to connect a 12v 4 pin molex connector from your power supply to the panel to get things started. The USB and Firewire ports, as well as the Audio/Video cables, all go through a PCI card pass through plate that is included with the panel to connect in the appropriate ports on the back I/O panel of your mother board or expansion cards. The card readers all use one USB cable that needs a standard internal USB pin header on the motherboard or USB expansion card to connect to. There are two fan controller channels with each channel being capable of having two fans on it. All fan connectors are of the 3 pin variety with only one connector on each channel having an RPM wire. For this installation I am only connecting the CPU fan (5200 RPM Delta fan) to the fan controller and I am leaving the other case fans connected to the integrated fan controller in the Enermax case the system is in. The SATA ports have a cable that would connect to the SATA controller on your motherboard, but since I have no SATA devices I did not connect these in an effort to keep the wiring mess in the case a little more manageable.

If you are running an older operating system such as Windows 98 you will need to install the drivers for the USB and Firewire function that are included on the driver disk. If you are running Windows XP/2000 this step will not be needed.

That is about it for installation it took me all of about 45 minutes from start to finish and really did not take as long, or was it as difficult, as I thought it would be on the onset of the installation.

Operation:

Click Image For Larger View

With installation complete and the system powered on you will need to press the reset button that resides in the upper right hand corner of the panel. This activates the jumper setting you have selected. The “Mode” button underneath the reset button selects which channel the LCD will monitor temperatures and fan speeds on. The small wheels that control the fan speed on were very easy to use despite their small size, but require enough pressure to turn them that I doubt you will be accidentally bump them and change your fan setting. The fan controller enabled me to adjust the speed on the big Delta CPU fan from 1200RPM up to 5100RPM. The LCD is back lit with a nice blue light that is very clear and easy to read.

The USB, Firewire, and Audio/Video ports are a nice convenience moving them from the back of the computer to the front where they are more easily accessed. They are nicely laid out and clearly marked, making their use a very simple matter.

I was able to test the card reader using two kinds of digital media, Compact Flash and Secure Digital cards. Both worked just as they should providing quick and easy access to the data on the cards simply by plugging them into the appropriate card slot. There are two small LEDs above the card reader slots. The first one shows a green light to indicate they are getting power and the second and larger red LED shows when data is being transferred or the card is being accessed.

Click Image For Larger View

Conclusion:

Sunbeamtech has done a fine job packing a ton of features into a very small space. Quality of construction is top notch. The Sunbeamtech "Where To Buy" page lists several familiar store names, but I only found one place listing the 20 in 1 Superior Panel. Xoxide offers it for a very reasonable $34.99, but as of the time this was written, it was out of stock. I would say that price combined with all the features and quality puts it in the high range in the “bang for the buck” department. I doubt if most users will take advantage of each and every feature the panel offers, but it sure is nice to have so many options available to you.

Based on quality of construction and high number of useful features, I give the Sunbeamtech 20 in 1 Superior Panel 4.5 out of 5 stars... "Readily Recommended".

Final Rating (4.5 out of 5 stars):


Pros:

• Available in silver and black
• Attractive layout and very convenient
• Lots of features
• Quality of construction
• Great value for the money

Cons:

• Jumper settings are hard to reach
• Tons of wires to manage

Special thanks to Sunbeamtech for supplying the 20 in 1 Superior Panel to Bigbruin.com for review!

Please drop by the Bigbruin.com forum and feel free to discuss this review.

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