first look at asetek's Windows-based
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
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.
CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO GET A
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
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