The unit isn't as big as the box makes you want to believe and it's actually a perfect square. You can plug in four different fans, four analogue sensors and two digital sensors to the bigNG. Off course, mCubed couldn't just leave it at that and also gave us the option to install even more sensors using an extension set. By doing so, you can crank the number of digital sensors up to eight. Nice for the hardcore people, but it could be a bit of overkill for the casual user.
The company provided the fan controller with four analogue sensors and two digital ones right out of the box. You can see the bigNG in all its glory in the picture below. Note that I already mounted the acrylic case.
From the mCubed site:
"The T-Balancer bigNG is the first 4-channel controller for air and water-cooling with patented Dual Mode Technology (DMT). You can choose whether you want to power each channel analog or with PWM. The T-Balancer bigNG delivers pure analog voltage up to 20W per channel (40W with PWM). This way you can even connect water pumps or Peltiers. An integrated heatsink ensures a cool running.
The bigNG will be delivered by standard with 4 thin analogue sensors and 2 precise digital sensors. Due to the high absolute accuracy of the digital sensors you can calibrate the rest of your system to it. Using all available extension you can control all together 10 analogue sensors, 8 digital sensors and 2 flow meters.
Mounting is very flexible: in a free 3.5" bay, in a free chassis slot or anywhere with the orange fluorescent acrylic glass.
What can the T-Balancer bigNG control?
The bigNG can read up to 10 analogue sensors, 8 digital sensors, 2 flow meters and the speed of 4 fans. It can control fans, powerful water pumps, CCFLs and even Peltiers. It can be connected to the PC with USB. The RPM signals can also be connected. With the Extension Set analogue, the PC can also be shut-off in a case of emergency.
Which extensions exist for the T-Balancer bigNG?
Extension set digital (6 more digital sensors), extension set analogue (6 more analogue sensors, emergency PC power off, connector for 2 flowmeter), 2 T-Balancer miniNG (more fan channels), Waterkit (with flowmeter and water temp probes), filling-leve meter (in development), Multi-IO with 16 In- and Outputs (in development)
The T-Balancer bigNG offers numerous safety systems: overheat protection, acoustic alarm, optic alarm, software alarms, sensor loss control, blockage recognition, self-sustaining system
With Software (via USB2.0) the T-Balancer can be adjusted and configured in an easy way.
Many Plug-Ins (iMON, Speedfan, MBM, JaLCD, LCDC, Samurize) are provided for the T-Balancer software. The software also enables long-term monitoring, an integrated USB watch-dog ensures a permanent USB connection."
Let's round up the specifications with some numbers.
mCubed T-Balancer bigNG
|Dimensions ||88mm x 88mm x 16mm|
|Maxiumum current ||7 A|
|Maximum power ||80W (PWM)/20W (analogue)|
|Power per channel ||40W (PWM)/20W (analogue)|
I tested the BigNG with the following setup:
Mich_vm's test setup
|CPU ||AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Winchester core (stock)|
|Cooling ||Zalman CNPS 7000Cu|
|Mainboard ||Asus A8N SLI deluxe|
|Memory ||2 * 512Mb PC3200 Corsair ValueSelect|
|Video ||XFX Geforce 6600GT (Zalman VF700-Cu) |
|Other ||Sunbeamtech QuarterbackOCZ Powerstream 420Watt PSU|
160Gb Maxtor ATA HDD
BenQ DW1655 16x DVD writer
17" Samsung Syncmaster 730BF
Logitech X-230 2.1 speakers
In total, there are three different ways you can mount the bigNG fan controller. None of them will prove difficult for the skilled users around here. In fact, if you would encounter a problem during the installation, I can recommend reading the manual which explains everything step by step.The first method is the classical 3.5" bay mounting. With the use of some crews and the white plastic elements you can easily mount the unit in a spare drive bay.
The second method makes use of the slot bracket (which is included in the package) to mount the bigNG into an open PCI slot. It's worth noting that it doesn't actually need to be plugged in a PCI slot for power.
The last method consumes more time, but it really gives the bigNG an extravagant and different look that can differentiate it from other fan controllers. You only need the acrylic case and glass and mount the bigNG controller in between. The best thing you can do is placing it on the bottom of your case, 'cause we need a power connector nearby.
That wraps it up for the controller itself. Now it's time to connect all the necessary cables and sensors. I don't know how many times I’m going to repeat myself in this review, but the manual is really helpful at times. The backside gives you a quick overview of the PCB and all the connections with it to ease the installation.
After connecting all the fans, analogue and digital sensors, it's time to give our fan controller the necessary power to operate. To do this, connect a 4-pin molex power connector to the appropriate slot. Optional, you can connect a case LED to the top two free pins off the bigNG to help you find problems if they would occur. There are also four free pins to the left of the power connector; these are used to connect a RPM signal cable to the motherboard.
Now for the trickiest part of the installation: connecting the unit to a free internal USB header on your motherboard. All the necessary information is mentioned in the manual but I also recommend reading your motherboard manual to make sure everything is connected appropriately before turning the system on.