asetek Vapochill Chill Control For Windows Beta

asetek Vapochill XE Vapor Phase Cooling System - Page 1


asetek's ChillControl Windows beta
An exclusive look at asetek's latest efforts

Written by: Robert Maloney
October 12, 2003

A first look at asetek's Windows-based ChillControl
The best just got better

As we alluded to in our review on the Vapochill XE Cooling Unit review, asetek has been working on a Windows-based version of their ChillControl software.  In the past, making modifications to the cooling system required connecting a cable from the ChillControl unit to an available COM port, and then booting from diskette into a DOS-based version of the software.  While not elegant, it still was an easy enough process to change the settings, although it required restarting the system each time a setting was to be changed.  Today, we here at HotHardware have an exclusive look at a Windows version that promises a more comprehensive set of controls, as well as the ability to change things on the fly.

All versions of the Vapochill Cooling Units (SE, PE, and XE) can use the new software without a firmware update, but it is recommended.  In doing so, changes will occur on the fly, otherwise a restart will still be required to update the settings.  The process is straightforward and accomplished in less than five minutes.  After installing and running the ChillControl software, one should check the connection status in the upper right.  A green status means that the unit is not ready for updating.  On the ChillControl unit itself are two red DIP switches, that can be seen in the image below.  The left most switch, DIP switch 1, should be toggled to the 'ON' position, after which the connection status should turn from green to red.  Once this has been accomplished, all that needs to be done next is to click on 'Update' from the ChillControl Config screen and choose the correct file for the PCB version.

A quick restart was needed to complete the setup, and then we were in.  The software is broken up amongst five screens: Status Area, ChillControl Config, System Info, Settings, and Log Options.  Starting from the top, the Status Area is most similar to what was found in the DOS version.  From this screen, we could view the temperatures from the CPU and secondary diodes, check on the fan speeds, and even check on the firmware version and operational errors, if any.  Note, that nothing will be changed from this screen; all changes are to be made on the next screen, ChillControl Config.  Using the slider bars found there, the Hold, Start, and Warning temperatures can be manually set to their desired levels.  Also, the fan speeds can be raised or lowered to keep noise levels under control.  Once everything has been set, a quick click on 'Accept settings' puts them into effect - no restarting is necessary.  One might also notice that CPU speed is no longer a necessary input as the actual speed is now reported in the upper right.


The System Info tab is just that, a brief system breakdown mostly displaying memory and display settings.  Nothing listed here actually affects the use of the ChillControl, and is just provided for the user's perusal.  asetek could probably find some more interesting information to display here, however, like one would find under System Properties.  The last two tabs offer some new options not available to the DOS version.  On the settings tab, the display settings can be renamed, the COM port can be selected, and even a custom logo can be added for those who like to tweak everything to the smallest detail.  The Vapochill Control Panel can also be added to startup automatically with Windows, and when minimized will display the temperature in the system tray a la Motherboard Monitor.  Finally, for those who are interested in doing so, log can be kept automatically or saved manually that write all of the system information into a nice, neat CSV file.



asetek and HH team up

It's obvious that asetek has spent a good deal of time in creating a Windows-based version of the ChillControl software.  The sections are laid out in an easy to read format, and it is a much easier chore to change settings from within Windows than to go through the DOS-floppy disk routine.  With the ability to change temperatures and fan speeds on the fly, one can find the "sweet spot" between cooling and noise in moments rather than requiring multiple reboots.  Also, as this is still in beta testing, asetek can still add features to further enhance the value of the software.   By creating this Windows version, it's obvious that asetek doesn't want to leave their fan base out in the cold.


HotHardware's PC Hardware Forum... just too cool.  Are you in?


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