AeroCool Touch-2000 Introduction
As their name implies, AeroCool makes a wide array of cooling products for PC’s as well as cases, power supplies and other accessories. I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend some time with their newest fan controller and temperature display panel designated as the AeroCool Touch-2000 (EN55345). It can be found at retailers for around $53.99 and in this article I’ll break down the performance and features to determine if this is a good value.
AeroCool.US was established in the US in 2002 and is committed to sharing our technical expertise and innovative designs in providing a total-solution for thermal management. Although AeroCool.US is a new player in the cooler market, we offer the latest cooling technology and solutions for industrial and personal computers. Our strengths lie in our RD abilities, advanced manufacturing facilities, strong cooperative partners, high performance, and unique products. Our engineering and RD staffs specialize in airflow analysis, material conductivity, heat transfer technology and efficiency designs. AeroCool.US not only has expertise in cooler technology and product design, but we also play a vital role in the enhancement of production efficiency and marketing analysis. We are constantly developing new products and technologies to meet market demands and to generate new markets for our thermal products. As a thermal solution provider, AeroCool.US will continue to expand and lead the market in technology. Our mission is to work closely with our partners and customers and to continue to manufacture the highest quality products to satisfy the market demand. We will continue to strive to achieve our goals and continue to improve our marketing and customer service through "e-business" and "e-marketing". We always welcome customer suggestions and recommendations.
Out of the box, I noticed the Touch-2000’s screen was covered with a clear protective film to keep the display scratch free and it peeled right off to show that it was indeed free of defects. The overall construction of the Touch-2000 feels solid and it comes partially pre-assembled with the temperature probe and fan connectors already attached to their respective connection sites. The features & specifications of the Touch-2000 are as follows:
- Large LCD screen (2 x 5.25” bays)
- Innovative "Touch" LCD technology- Stylish "hair brushed" alum front panel w/ Diamond cutting
- Monitors and controls 4 sets of temperature and fan speed individually
- LCD backlight on/off
- Switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Overheating alarm temperature warning
- Fan working display
- "Lock" function provided to prevent careless miss-touch
- 1 x e-SATA , 2 x USB , Mic & Headphone
|Dimension||149.5 (W) x85 (H) x 70(D) mm|
|LCD viewable area||115 (W) x 57 (H) mm|
|Connectors||4 x 3-pin connectors|
|4 x heat sensors|
|Material||Brushed aluminum front bezel w/ steel bracket|
|Max wattage per fan channel||6W|
Besides the unit itself, included is a multi-lingual manual, an HD audio cable, a SATA cable, extra temperature probes, securing screws, thermal tape and an internal USB cable.
External Impressions & Installation
The Touch-2000 itself has a silver bezel around the screen which is framed in black aluminum. This is the only offered color at this time so if you have a case other than black, it may not integrate as seamlessly as you might like, but most optical drives come in only black or beige so this is nothing out of the ordinary. The front also features audio, USB, and eSATA ports which really adds to the value of the Touch-2000. This is especially true if you have a budget case that may totally lack an eSATA port and only have one or two USB ports available.
Looking at the guts of the unit, you’ll see the USB, audio and SATA ports clearly labeled. The fan connectors are somewhat permanently connected with what appears to be glue. The temperature probes are not similarly bound but the cables are joined into one continuous piece for the first few inches. The manual doesn’t explicitly say so, but I’m assuming the extra thermal probes can be used here in the event there is a problem with one or more of the original ones.
On the subject of the manual, I found it to be somewhat difficult to read. It is printed on one 10.5” x 14.5” sheet of paper (unfolded) in eight languages with each step shown in all languages prior to displaying the next step. This requires jumping from place to place on the sheet to walk through the instructions. This probably saves space by only having to show each diagram once but grouping the steps by language would be ideal, even if this required a download of an electronic copy. Also missing from the manual is the listing of all parts which is helpful to know if a mistake was made and parts are missing. While it shows how to connect the fans, power cable, and temperature probes, it makes no mention of the audio cable, USB cable, eSATA or the extra probes. I actually searched for extra probe connectors on the Touch-2000 until I finally decided they were spares.
The touch screen allows the Touch-2000 to forgo knobs and buttons which gives it a sleek, clean appearance. It takes up two 5.25” drive bays so those with small cases and multiple optical drives may have to opt for the Touch-2000’s little brother, the Touch-1000 which only requires one empty bay. The side panels of the unit are sized as most fan control panels are -- much shorter than that of optical drives. As a result, it can be hard to get it to lock in perfectly with a flush mount when installing in tool-less cases depending upon the design of the locks. It took me a few minutes to get it where I wanted it and I followed that up with the included screws to secure it for use as there is no real weight to counterbalance the unit.
Once it's in place, it's a simple matter of plugging in the Molex power cable, connecting the USB and audio cables to the proper plug locations on the motherboard, attaching the temperature probes with the included thermal tape and connecting the fans to the 3 pin fan connectors. AeroCool strongly recommends turning off your system prior to disconnecting/connecting fans, even though certain Legit Reviews writers (ahem, Bubba) make a habit of doing so. The fan cables are labeled 1-4 and via an instructional picture in the manual, it is inferred that this is to be used for the CPU fan. This makes sense because this is the only fan cable that actually has an extra speed sensor cable that can be plugged in the CPU fan port on the motherboard so that the motherboard can monitor the fan speed in tandem with the Touch-2000. If you choose not to use this, remember to disable that setting in your BIOS first or it may think your fan has died and set off alarms or even shut down. Note that the max power per fan channel is 6 Watts (0.5A@12V), which should be plenty for most case fans.
The temperature probes are labeled 1-4 as well and it is again only inferred in the manual that these should be used in for the CPU, VGA, HDD & SYS temperatures respectively, although you can use them wherever you wish. Please do not attempt to place a probe between the heat sink base and the CPU! This will cause the cooler to have poor contact with the CPU which can lead to all sorts of bad things.
The display on the Touch-2000 is clean and crisp with good color saturation. Viewing angles are pretty good with the side to side angles being an estimated 140° and the vertical being an estimated 110°. If you keep your case on the floor, you may have to bend down slightly to read the display depending on the height of your chair. The display is broken up into two main sections horizontally with the temperature readouts on the top and the fan speeds on the bottom. Below the fan speeds, which are naturally displayed in RPM's, are animated arrow graphics representing fan motion. If a fan is not plugged in or not detected, the RPM's will flash all zeros and the individual animated arrow graphics will flash as one unit. AeroCool recommends that sharp or pointy objects should not be used on the screen as it will likely incur damage. You’ll be happy to know that the screen surface itself does a good job of resisting fingerprints and smudges so there’s really no reason use anything other than your fingers anyway. The backlight on the display itself can be turned off by hitting the AeroCool logo at the top. Although the display appears blank, the fan setting remains, and to turn it back on you just tap this same area.
Using the Touch-2000 is very simple. AeroCool thoughtfully designed it so that the screen locks to prevent accidental input, so before inputting any commands you must first touch the lock icon in the center to unlock the screen. The red semi-circles surrounding the lock will disappear letting you know you can proceed. You can hit this again to lock it or it will lock itself after 30 seconds of inactivity. The amount of pressure needed is rather light, although somewhat firmer than most touch screen phones like the iPhone. Aerocool warns in the manual that excessive pressure should not be applied. To help, each valid touch of the screen emits a soft beep to provide audio feedback that the command was accepted.
For setting the fan speeds, all you need to do is touch the digits on the fan speed for the fan you wish to modify (once you have unlocked it). The readout will begin blinking and then you can use the “+” and “–“ icons on the screen to adjust the fan to your liking in 100RPM intervals. Note that fan speeds cannot be adjusted to less than 50% of their max RPM speed. Once you have set the speed, again touch the digits to lock in the speed or leave it to lock in itself after 30 seconds. It can take 5-10 seconds for the fan to actually begin changing speed so be patient as the new speed is implemented. In case you were wondering, these speeds will remain set even after turning off the PC and restarting.
The temperatures can be displayed in either Celsius or Fahrenheit and it is toggled by hitting the °C/°F graphic near the center of the display. Temperature alarms can be set to your preferences but are set by default as follows:
|CPU (1)||VGA (2)||HDD (3)||SYS (4)|
Setting the temperature alarms is very easy as well. Unlock the screen, touch the digits for the sensor you wish to modify and they will begin to blink with the text below changing to “alarm temp”. Use the “+” or “-” icons to adjust and touch the digits again to lock it in (or leave it for 30 seconds). When the alarm sounds, it's four consecutive beeps followed by a pause and then it repeats for about 20 seconds. It's not very loud and if you are in another room the odds are good that you won't hear it so be sure to set your shutdown temps in your BIOS to be safe in case a fan fails while you are not present.
I did some testing with multiple fans to see how the Touch-2000 fared. To test, I utilized the fans listed where each fan had unrestricted airflow.
|MANUFACTURER||MODEL||SIZE||POWER SPECS||MAX RPM|
I had a few interesting results. First, the Panaflo did not register any speed at all on the display but rather blinked zeros instead even though it was properly connected and had the necessary speed sensor wire. The fan ran at full speed and was not adjustable. It's within spec in regards to power so I don't really have an explanation for the result. Second, each fan would display an RPM speed that bounced between the set speed and 100RPM's lower. This was very consistent no matter at what speed I set each. AeroCool does say in the manual that the Touch-2000 has a tolerance of +/- 100RPM and what I found reinforces this statement. Not a big deal really as I think most people would typically throttle down fans to reduce noise and raise it back up to increase cooling performance instead of trying to hit a specific RPM target. The one exception to this was the Sycthe S-Flex fan which never showed the top RPM speed of 1600 but rather 1500. Again, not a big deal as you know it's at its max or min because the numbers stop rising and falling when the “+” or “-” icons are hit.
For the testing the temperature probes, I used a Fluke 62 Mini IR thermometer to validate the readings reported by the Touch-2000. In all my tests, I found the probes to be very accurate and in cases where the reading wavered, I recorded the high/low temps. The results achieved are in the following table:
*The reading with the IR thermometer was taken directly on the probe.
Final Thoughts & Conclusions
When the AeroCool Touch-2000 is installed, it is a thing of beauty. It's very modern and touch screens are all the rage these days and are showing up virtually everywhere. At $53.99 shipped, you can certainly find a cheaper fan controller but not one with an integrated temperature monitor, touch screen operation and the added bonus of audio jacks, eSATA and USB ports. Although I didn't get into it specifically in the article, I tested each of these and they performed as expected. The use of a lock on the screen is smart and the overall screen layout is logical and easy to read.
I have some minor complaints, the main being the included manual. It's a bit difficult to follow due to the way it is laid out as grouped by instruction rather than language. It's also missing some basic information such as what parts are included in the package and how loose parts are intended to be used. The viewing angle, while good, could be a problem for those who keep their case on the floor and may require some bending to see it properly. The temperature alarm may be a little too low in volume to be of any use unless you are in the same room as the PC and it failed to provide speed readings or control one fan I tested on it. In fairness, the Panaflo is probably the oldest fan I have lying around and I didn't list three of the fans I actually have in my case, all of which had no problems with the speed display or control. Seven out of eight isn't bad.
Overall, I think the AeroCool Touch-2000 is a good value and delivers what it promises. I've already donated my previous no-frills rheobus fan controller to a Legit Reviews forum member and he will be using the Touch-2000 in his main case full time. If you like this model but your case lacks the dual bays it requires, a single bay size version is available with the Touch-1000.
Legit Bottom Line: The AeroCool Touch-2000 provides touch screen fan control, temperature monitoring, and expansions for eSATA, USB and audio connects all in one elegant package. I haven't found anything to prevent me from recommending this product for those looking to add some style and thermal control to their PC case.