PCmods RheoBus V1 vs. CaseEtc F 403

Modding/Small Mods by richbastard @ 2002-04-01

Head 2 Head comparison of these high quality Rheobuses!

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Testing more & Conclusion


Of course, one can"t drawn conclusions out of just one test, so I did the same test with a medium performance 80mm Delta (3.0watts, ASB0812HH).

Delta ASB0812HH (3.0watts)

Just like before. We should get about the same temp differences.

Same as the papst fan: difference between 11.5V and 11V is just 1°C, but between 11.5 en 10 is 2,5°C... for an overclocker, it"s too much difference imho.
Is there a solution for this? There sure is, and if you read my next article you"ll find out how. :)


If you want to open something, you tend to turn it clockwise, right? Well, not if you own a Maelstrom. If you assemble it like suggested (fan connections on top, knobs aligned to the left), you have to turn counter-clockwise to increase the voltage. Pretty weird, but it isn"t that important. PCmods potmeters are installed otherwise: turning them clockwise will increase the voltage, which feels far more natural. One big drawback of the PCmods rheobus is that the potmeters are in the "always on" status. You can adjust the voltage from 3V-6V (depending on type of fan) to +- 11V, but NOT off! I admit it"s only normal you don"t turn your cpu-fan off, but you might want to turn off some casefans. Although, most fans don"t make any noise on 6V, so you could just keep them running on low voltage. But if you set your voltage too low (like 3V), many fans (like all papst fans I own) stop turning and start make an unhealthy, squealing sound. Ouch! The Maelstrom goes from 0 to +-10V, so you can turn you fans off with this unit. I"d rather have a potmeter who goes from 0 to max counterclockwise than one who goes from +-3V to max clockwise. :)

One last thing: the PCmods can supply 17watts (!) of power per channel! That"s the equivalent of 3 high performance 120mm fans or 10 medium performance 80mm fans! I don"t think many users will need this kind of power, but it sure is good. :)

The Maelstrom is rated at 11 watts per channel: far less, but still more than enough. Just don"t attach 2 high performance 120mm fans to one channel, because it could fry your unit.

Price & availability:

Until now the PCmods rheobus is pretty much the winner, but here comes the drawback: it"s pretty expensive (59.95$ on their webshop) and it"s generally difficult to get. Expect waiting times of 4 weeks or even more. I had to wait a month and a half to get this unit. Availability shouldn"t be a problem with the Maelstrom: if you order it online and it"s in stock you should get it in a day or two (yesterday there were still 44 units in stock on their webshop). The pricetag is also far more attractive: only 39.95$.

Although I do have to make one comment on the price: here in Belgium the price difference is minimal. You can find a Maelstrom for around €75 and a PCmods for around 80€ (I know, Belgium is an expensive country for exotic PC hardware).

*update 8th august 2002*: The PCmod rheobus died a few weeks after this review. While PCmods.com claims to attach high value to costumer relationship, they did not try to help me because I bought it at a local PCmods reseller. The local shop wanted to help me but they didn"t receive any unit of PCmods in the last 4 months... neither have any other Belgian shops. I made 8 holes in my expensive aluminium case for this rheobus, so I"ve got no option but to buy it again. PCmods" online shop charges 50$ for shipping to europe, which is more than the cost of the rheobus itself. Using USPS one can send a package to Europe insured for 15$...

As long as PCmods doesn"t improve their support for foreign costumers, I can"t recommend the PC mods rheobus anymore.


Even though the max performance of your fans are reduced by +- 10%, I couldn"t live without one any more. Which one should I choose? Well, I find the PCmods better, but it isn"t worth an extra 20$. However, if you don"t mind the long waiting and if you can find the PCmod rheobus for about the same price, I"d definitely go for the latter.

PCMods rheobus

CaseEtc."s Maelstrom

- low voltage loss
- 4 Leds
- nice design
- 17 watts per channel

- price
- no "off" position
- availability?

- price
- compact design
- fans can be turned off
- availabitlity

- higher voltage loss
- design: knobs are not centered

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