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crosstiger

Aqua Computer QUADRO - A 40€ Fan and RGB controller

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Posted · Original PosterOP

At the end of June this year Aqua Computer release a new fan controller in their line up the QUADRO. I never understood why people would spend their money on a separate fan controller if nearly every motherboard in existence has one build right into it. But since I bought a gpu with an aio last year I began to understand why. And to put it simple it's because the integrated fan controller mostly suck pretty hard with restricted functionality or unusable software.


Introduction rant incoming:

Spoiler

 

For you to understand where I come from: I bought an R7 1700 and the ASRock X370 Taichi mobo more or less on day one and while I'm happy with the combo itself ASRock really doesn't put any effort in their software library and unique functionality of their products. In this case I'm talking about the fan controller. All it really can do is control the connected fans and pumps according to either the CPU core or the motherboard temperature which would be fine as long as you don't have the need to control your fans according to anything else which is a problem as soon as you watercool more than just the cpu. (You might come up with more reasons but I guess this is the most likely one).

 

In the last few weeks I was struggling with my gpu to get the radiator fans to automatically spin up when the gpu core gets hot (that is because the evga hybrid has no connection for the external radiator). So I guess the first idea that would come up is to use alternate software like Speedfan or ArgusMonitor but it is likely that those might not be a solution for you. Not only because SpeedFan has a decreasing 50/50 change of not working at all and ArgusMonitor costs money and doesn't even focus on the whole fan controller thingy but offers more detailed system info and acts more as a general monitoring software.

 

 

So if all you wanna get is a proper fan and RGB controller are the 40€ for the QUADRO worth it?

 

Actual review:

 

Table of contend:

  1. Overview and accessories
  2. How to setup
  3. Software configuration
  4. TL:DR


1. Overview and accessories

Spoiler

 

The QUADRO fan controller cost atm (Oct 2018) around 40€ and for that money you get:

  • 4 4-PIN PWM fan connectors
  • 4 additional temperature sensor connectors
  • 1 flow sensor (sensor cable not included)
  • 1 4-PIN RGBpx connector
  • 1 aquabus connector (you can use it if you already own an aquabus controller and want to extend its functionalities with the QUADRO)

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In addition the box contains:

  • 1 additional temperature sensor with ~70 cm long cable
  • An internal usb 2.0 connector for software support (~ 100cm long)
  • and mounting hardware (4 screws and nuts)

I really like the addition of a temperature sensor as the long cable allows you to stick it to any component you like or let it just sit inside the case to measure air temp.

 

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2. How to setup

Spoiler

Setup is really basic. You connect a molex connector for power, plug your fans into the 4 fan connectors, connect the usb cable and (optional) connect the temperature and flow sensor. Place it somewhere in the case and done.

 

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(Case: Fractal Design Define C TG)

 

One thing that I instantly disliked about the QUADRO is the molex connector. Why no SATA??? That forces me to plug in a single molex cable into my psu and now there are 4 unused molex connectors wasting (the already tiny) space on the back of my case. If I'm not mistaken some psus don't even include a molex cable anymore, don't they? Plus the molex connector is so bulky that you need at least 2cm of clearance for it. Would have been nice if the connector was 90° angled.

 

The fan connectors supply 12V and are only PWM controlled. So if you would connect a 3-PIN fan to it you can only turn the fan off or on but not control its speed. That said you can connect multiple fans to a single connector if you have a splitter cable. Each connector supplies a maximum of 25W of power. So yeah you can connect a lot of fans. And of course you can also connect water pumps to it.

 

The included temperature sensor can be placed anywhere in the case and the reported temp can be used to control all 4 fans. The manual states an ambient temperature range of 10 to 40°C.

 

I don't have any RBG strips but I will tell you about the software later on.

 

Mounting the QUADRO in the case is pretty basic. The QUADRO resides inside a rubber casing that sits realy tight around it. There are four holes inside the pcb and the rubber where the screw can poke into. In order to secure it via the screws you need to bend the rubber casing or remove it entirely which grants access to the screw hole. It's best to put the screws in now and then reattach the rubber case and then secure it with the nut to the case.

But double sided duct tape does the trick just fine. And even the manual suggest to do so. So....

 

The molex connector is so thick that I cannot put the QUADRO behind the motherboard as there is not enough space to the side panel. So I had to put in to the front of the case which has a dent with enough space).

 

3. Software configuration

 

Disclaimer: I took all pictures after I configured the software. They don't show the default state! Any words that are in german are setup by myself. The software itself can be set to english.

I will go through every menu step by step.

 

Table of contend:

  • 3-1: Overview page
  • 3-2: Data quick view
  • 3-3: Data log
  • 3-4: QUADRO (Fan setup)
  • 3-5: QUADRO (RGB setup)
  • 3-6: Data im-/export and software settings

3-1: Overview page

Spoiler

The QUADRO can be controlled via the aquasuite software. The software requires a license key but every QUADRO you buy has a two year license. This license grants you access to all the updates within the next two years. If you would buy one now you get all the updates from 2018 and 2019. However I don't know how it works if you would buy one in 2019 will your supports then last 'til 2020? I guess so if you buy it directly from Aqua Computer. To install the software the QUADRO needs to be connected to an internal usb port since the license is baked into the QUADRO itself.

 

Once the software is installed and booted up you'll be greeted with an overview screen showing some general information about the sensor reading.

 

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(Background image is custom)

 

As you can see from the menu on the left I have two overview pages setup. The page called QUADRO is setup by default. You can edit these pages as you wish. There are a number of graphs available to design your own page.

 

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You always start by selecting the way you want to display the information. Either by graph, simple value or a "Long data chart" which is basically a graph with a long time range.

 

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Next you select the source of information which can either be the QUADRO itself or additional information collected by the background service. The background service gives you access to information about your cpu, gpu, harddrive, mobo etc. ranging from temperature to core clock, core utilization, voltage, power consumption and more.

 

Unfortunately the service didn't pick up my m.2 drive (Samsung 960) but otherwise found all other devices.

 

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Once you selected a source a new windows pops up that allows you to customize the graph. You can change position, colour, the type of graph (line, bar, ...), x and y achis (value and range), depending on the graph you choose the line thickness (on a chart graph for example) etc.

 

The position can also be changed by drag and drop on the overview page.

 

If you are like me and you are not good at designing such an overview you can always click on the little gearwheel icon in the overview menu and im- or export an overview page and share it with others. The pages are written in XAML.

 

3-2: Data quick view

Spoiler

The data quick view tab allows you to quickly scroll through all the data that the software collected from either the QUADRO or the background service.

image.png.e154c22ba2412348efbe9d7720ab6746.png

Clicking on a value opens up a chart graph at the bottom with varying x and y axis.


3-3: Data log

Spoiler

The data logger allows you to setup long term data logging of all available information.

image.png.94b9316c0cc352d340d34c5857878060.png

 

You can select which data should be logged in which interval and if it should be automatically deleted.

 

You can view the data in the analyse tab and setup a giant chart after your own wishes. I haven't done this but it is realy extensive.


3-4: QUADRO (Fan setup)

Spoiler

Now lets setup the fan controller.

 

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The sensors tab allows you to customize up to 13 different values. The first 5 are hardcoded and show the different values of the onboard connection including the four additional temp sensors as well as the flow sensor (if connected). The next eight values are so called "virtual sensors" and can be fully customized.

 

image.png.38cbbbde107d8a8673a3579f375807ac.png

You can rename the sensor, choose the sensor information and add a scaling or an offset depending on the value. This comes in handy to counter the wired offset AMD put in the cpu core temperature.

 

Once you setup all your sensor information proceed to the fan page.

 

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Here we do the actual fan controlling. You can setup a custom profile for each of the four fan connectors by choosing the connector at the top.

 

The status box shows you the general information about the selected connector. What the current PWM % is, the rpm of the fan, power consumption, voltage and the current flowing. This will update in real time.

 

The mode box does the actual fan controlling. You can choose between three different modes:

  1. Power preset (manual control)
  2. Target temperature (yes, there is a spelling error in the software)
  3. Curve controller (basic fan curve)

In addition you can also choose to copy the settings from another fan e.g. Fan 2 should copy Fan 1.

 

The different modes are straight forward. Manual mode is manual (suprise right?), target temperature adjust the fan automatically so that a targeted temperature is met at all times and curve controller ramps up the fans step by step.

 

For the target control you select the source and the target. The controller speed tells the fan how fast it should ramp up or slow down if the temperature target is not met.

image.png.2853aa648070ba4445541111fde2b247.png

 

Curve control does allow to either adjust every step manually or select an automatic setup where you can change the shape of the curve via a slider. (More or less aggressive)

image.png.412a98783b38fa4e26c150ab127a63de.png

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The last box "Fan setup" allows you to tweak some special settings like the maximum and minimum pwm signal or if you want to use a startboost for that fan (a short 100% pwm signal to spin up the fan after a 0-rpm state).

 

This is where you also can enable a 0-rpm state by setting the minimum power to 0%.

image.png.2094c9d39c592eca0a1a6098fabb0657.png

 

3-5: QUADRO (RGB setup)

Spoiler

I don't have any RGB in my system (crazy right?) but I still can show you how the software works.

 

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The QUADRO can control up to 64 individual leds. At the top you can select how many leds you have in your system and what the max brightness should be (in %).

 

You can group up your individual leds into four different groups. By clicking on the gearwheel icon you can change the lighting effect. There are your basic rgb effects like rainbow, laser, wave, breathing etc available as well as sound effects and ambient lighting.

 

image.png.876d5a5ddc0e901325bf6c741d7476a1.png

 

To use the sound effect you need to enable the service in the settings and select a playback device to listen to.

image.png.7212025c5c5a97d72ebe741471d3534f.png

 

image.png.60d51c46a94854fc1c9f09149833d7f0.png

You can then change the colour either by the frequency or audio channel.

 

Ambient lighting expect you to put the led strips at the corner of your monitor.

 

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You then select which monitor and which edge they are put on and the surface the leds cover

 

3-6: Data im-/export and software settings

Spoiler

The aquasuite web tab offers you a service to export your data to the Aqua Computer server and then use them in form of a banner.

 

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You can select which info should be sent to the server.

 

image.png.b3fc2f4b5eca2f79b475e4bd0774124a.png

Then you can access your api key and copy the links to your banner.

 

The data is sent nearly in real time to the server (so it seems to me) but it uses an ssl connection and is turned off by default!

 

I turned mine on for demo:

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The system settings page offers general settings like language (only english and german), different units, startup at system boot, what hardware to monitor and retrieve sensor info, your license key and to turn audio-listening (rgb effect) on and off.

 

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4. TL:DR

 

+ PWM controlled fans

+ Includes ambient rgb control

+ Included temperature sensor

+ Can be placed anywhere in the case

+ Tiny footprint

+ Very extensive fan controller

+ Very customizable software

 

- No DC control for 3-PIN fans (will run at 100% all the time)

- Molex connector for power

- Licensed software

- Cannot combine multiple temperature sensor values to a single average value (Licence limit of the QUADRO, is possible with the poweradjust models)

 

I do recommend the Aqua Computer QUADRO as a very good price to performance fan controller!


If you find any grammar or spelling errors please fill out entry permit A38, thanks.

Greetings from germany

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It is a bit easier with the software. The lisence is needed only if you want to use the “latest and greatest” aqua computer software with support of all of the million features of aquaero 6, however the previous year version is free of charge and the defferences are very minimal. It is like microsoft office 2013 and 2018. All the basic functions are the same

Thank you for detailed review


CPU: i7 8700K OC 5.0 gHz, Motherboard: Asus Maximus VIII Hero (Z170), RAM: 32gb Corsair Vengeance RGB 3200 mHz, GPU: Asus Strix OC gtx 1080ti, Storage: Samsung 950pro 500gb, samsung 860evo 500gb, 2x2Tb + 6Tb HDD,Case: Lian Li PC O11 dynamic, Cooling: Very custom loop.

CPU: i7 8700K, Motherboard Asus z370i, RAM:16gb corsair rgb 3600, GPU: EVGA Gtx 1080ti SC Black, Storage: samsung 960evo 500gb, samsung 860evo 1tb (M.2), samsung 860evo 500gb. HDD - 6tb, Case: lian li q37. Cooling: on the way to get watercooled (EKWB, HWlabs, Noctua, Barrow)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 minutes ago, MaratM said:

It is a bit easier with the software. The lisence is needed only if you want to use the “latest and greatest” aqua computer software with support of all of the million features of aquaero 6, however the previous year version is free of charge and the defferences are very minimal. It is like microsoft office 2013 and 2018. All the basic functions are the same

Thank you for detailed review

okay, still gets a - for the license


If you find any grammar or spelling errors please fill out entry permit A38, thanks.

Greetings from germany

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Very nice review, thank you.

 

You mentioned that if you use DC fans, they will go at 100%. Since I'm planning something with the NoiseBlocker NB-eLoop B14-1, which runs at 600 RPM, that's ok for me.

My question is if you get RPM values in the software if you use DC fans. Do you know this?

 

Thank you.

 

IMHO this little piece of tech would have been PERFECT if it had an RPM header, like other devices from them, in order to plug into the CPU fan header on the motherboard.


System: Corsair Obsidian 250D, Intel 4790K, Watercooled Asus Maximus VII Impact, Watercooled GTX 1080Ti, 2x HyperX Savage Red 8 GB CL9, Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Corsair RM650X, Steelseries Apex 350, Steelseries Rival 310, Steelseries Arctis 5, Asus ROG PG279Q

Builds: Critical Mass | A White Build

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 hours ago, Naxgo said:

Very nice review, thank you.

 

You mentioned that if you use DC fans, they will go at 100%. Since I'm planning something with the NoiseBlocker NB-eLoop B14-1, which runs at 600 RPM, that's ok for me.

My question is if you get RPM values in the software if you use DC fans. Do you know this?

 

Thank you.

 

IMHO this little piece of tech would have been PERFECT if it had an RPM header, like other devices from them, in order to plug into the CPU fan header on the motherboard.

Yes you should get an rpm readout.


If you find any grammar or spelling errors please fill out entry permit A38, thanks.

Greetings from germany

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, maybethisnamewillwork said:

Does this allow you to hook multiple temperature sources to just one fan output?
For example I want to connect all of the four thermal couples and control a fan based on average temperature of them.

As I stated in my post:

 

Quote

- Cannot combine multiple temperature sensor values to a single average value (Licence limit of the QUADRO, is possible with the poweradjust models)

 


If you find any grammar or spelling errors please fill out entry permit A38, thanks.

Greetings from germany

Profilepicture by Chibiterasu-chan

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