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Enerpoint Computers France

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Enermax UC-001TM2 Dual Temperature Monitor
Author : Wayne Date : 14th January 2002

3DVelocity would like to thank Enerpoint Computers France and especially Marc Tai for their help and courtesy in providing this peripheral for review.

...Product UC-001TM2
...Manufacturer Enermax
...Supplier Enerpoint Computers
...Price $25.95 - Coolerguys




Introduction :

The need for speed is almost single handedly driving the modern PC market. Faster and bigger hard drives, overclocked processors, overclocked video cards, pumped up front side buses and high speed memory it all boils down to one thing, the PC enthusiast is happiest when pushing their system to the limit of stability in search of that extra few frames per second or 3DMarks. Whether you're a runner, a pilot, a racing driver or an overclocker speed brings with it one undeniable and unavoidable problem....heat!

Of course in most cases heat can be controlled, but it's no good cooling the wrong part of the system or guessing at what might be causing instabilities, we need a simple and accurate way of monitoring components so we know exactly what's happening and where.

The UC-001TM2 from Enermax is a simple, no frills temperature monitor designed to fit into a vacant 5.25inch external bay allowing simultaneous monitoring from two locations. It's design allows for you to also fit either two 80mm cooling fans or to bolt in a hard drive.

In the box :

Inside the box you'll find the main monitor rack with twin LCD readouts and a small sheet of transparent printed stickers to identify which readout is for what. As you can see below, there's no sticker for memory or for your video card so you'll have to remember which is which or scribble on the front.

The details :

The whole design is modular allowing for the front panel to be clipped off if needed, and even the LCD units themselves can be snapped out of the front panel if you want to cut a couple of holes in your actual case and mount them that way. This modular design may be useful for some, but it does come at the cost of rigidity. The unit feels pretty flimsy when assembled and isn't going to take much punishment, although when it's installed there's no reason why it should see too much disturbance anyway.

After pulling out the two protector strips from the back of the LCD units you're ready to go. The LCD's are quite large and easy to read, but as with all LCD's the viewing angle is limited. With most people now storing their boxes under the desk these days, the truth is that you're probably going to have to resort to hands and knees in order to see the readouts, not exactly ideal. The LCD's are not backlit making easy viewing even harder, and although I took one apart to see if there was any way to cobble up some kind of backlighting it looked just about impossible without major surgery.

Each LCD is powered by a single button cell which should be good for a couple of years at least, though I can't find any specs listing expected battery life. Temperatures are sampled at three second intervals and are displayed in full degrees and also tenths of a degree. The unit claims an accuracy to within 1 degree Celsius which is pretty much standard for units at this price.

Fortunately the supplied sensors are the flat type as this allows a greater flexibility for positioning. The profile was flat enough for me to be able to slip one of the sensors under my RAM sinks between two of the memory chips on my graphics card and gave pretty accurate readings of my video card's memory temps. In fact you should have no problems taping or wedging these sensors just about anywhere you might need them. Cable length should be more than enough for just about any application.

The biggest problem with a temperature readout in tenths of a degree is that the deviations between the two readouts looks huge. As you can see below there was a difference of 0.7 degrees Celsius between the two units, and while this is within the one degree accuracy tolerance it does draw attention to itself. In theory you could have a 2 degree difference between the two readings without exceeding the one degree tolerance, this would happen if one was reading one degree above actual while the other was reading one degree below. It's a shame there's no calibration function on at least one of the units to bring them in line.

Conclusion :

Good price
Can be fitted with twin 80mm fans
Can be fitted with a HDD
Flat temp sensors

Feels flimsy
No backlighting
Limited viewing angle

The idea is great, the price is good and the usefulness is beyond doubt, it's the application that lets things down. For very occasional temperature monitoring, dropping onto all fours isn't going to be too much of a hardship, but for the enthusiast who wants to be able to glance down and check their temps every few minutes while overclocking or checking out new cooling arrangements it's going to become a real chore. LCD displays may have replaced LED displays for many things these days, but for some things LED is simply the only way to go, even if it does mean you have to hook up to your internal power supply.

Having said all that, if you need quick and accurate temperature monitoring at a price that won't have your bank manager drafting a nasty letter to you, and you can live with these minor flaws, then the Enermax UC-001TM2 is a good investment. The flexibility to add additional fans to help cool your hard drives or to fit a hard drive means you're not loosing a precious 5.25 inch bay. The front panel looks clean and simple and the large digits are relatively easy to read once they're at eye level. The UC-001TM2 isn't perfect, but you may struggle to find the same level of functionality for the price.